Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night

Evan Peters, left, and Julianne Nicholson pose for a photo with the awards for outstanding supporting actor and actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for
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Evan Peters, left, and Julianne Nicholson pose for a photo with the awards for outstanding supporting actor and actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for "Mare of Easttown" on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP)
Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night
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Jessica Hobbs poses with her Emmy award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, backstage at the Netflix UK Primetime Emmy for "The Crown", in London, Britain, September 20, 2021. (REUTERS)
Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night
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(L-R) Michelle Visage, RuPaul, Gottmik, and Symone, winners of the Outstanding Competition Program award for 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' pose in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AFP)
Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night
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Jason Sudeikis, winner of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for 'Ted Lasso', poses in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)
Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night
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Kate Winslet arrives at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (AP)
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Updated 20 September 2021

Emmys 2021: Who won what on TV’s biggest night

Evan Peters, left, and Julianne Nicholson pose for a photo with the awards for outstanding supporting actor and actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for "Mare of Easttown" on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Los Angeles. (AP)
  • “The Crown” looked set for its first best drama series Emmy after a season that focused on the unhappy marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana

LOS ANGELES: TV comedy “Ted Lasso” and the drama “The Crown” clinched multiple Emmy Awards on Sunday for the heart-warming tale of a struggling English soccer team and the lavish saga of the British royal family.
Jason Sudeikis, the star and co-creator of “Ted Lasso,” was named best comedy actor and the show also brought statuettes for Britons Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein for their supporting roles as the club owner and aging star player.
“This show is about family. This show’s about mentors and teachers and this show’s about teammates. And I wouldn’t be here without those three things in my life,” Sudeikis said on accepting the award.




In this video grab issued Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, by the Television Academy, Kate Winslet accepts the award for outstanding lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for "Mare of Easttown" during the Primetime Emmy Awards. (AP)

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. “Ted Lasso” lost the comedy writing and directing awards to “Hacks,” about a fading stand-up female comedian played by Jean Smart, who got a standing ovation when she was named best comedy actress.
The early wins poised “Ted Lasso” to take one of the top prizes — best comedy series — at the end of the ceremony after winning over audiences with its optimism and folksy humor during the dark days of the coronavirus pandemic.




John Oliver poses for a photo with the awards for outstanding writing for a variety series and outstanding variety talk series for "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (AP)

“The Crown” also looked set for its first best drama series Emmy after a season that focused on the unhappy marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. “The Crown” brought wins for supporting actors Gillian Anderson (as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) and Tobias Menzies (the late Prince Philip), as well as for writing and directing.
“We’re all thrilled. I am very proud. I’m very grateful. We’re going to party,” said Peter Morgan, creator of “The Crown,” at a gathering in London for the cast and crew.
A best drama series win for “The Crown” would mark a milestone for Netflix, while Apple TV+ would enter streaming’s big league with a comedy series win for “Ted Lasso.”
Emmys host Cedric the Entertainer got Sunday’s ceremony off to a rousing start with a musical rap, helped by the likes of Billy Porter, LL Cool J and Billy Porter on the theme of “TV — you got what I need.”




Brett Goldstein, left, and Hannah Waddingham, winners of the awards for outstanding supporting actor and actress in a comedy series for "Ted Lasso" pose at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (AP)

Concerns over the Delta variant of the coronavirus forced Sunday’s ceremony to move to an outdoor tent in downtown Los Angeles, with a reduced guest list and mandatory vaccinations and testing.
But the Los Angeles red carpet looked much like pre-pandemic days, with stars posing maskless in plunging gowns and bold colors.
In the closely contested limited series category, Julianne Nicholson and Evan Peters won for supporting roles as a housewife and detective in “Mare of Easttown” about a murder in a small Philadelphia town.
“Mare of Easttown” is also nominated for best limited series in a closely contested category that includes harrowing British rape drama “I May Destroy You,” innovative superhero dramedy “WandaVision,” and chess drama “The Queen’s Gambit.”




Gillian Anderson poses with her Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, backstage at the Netflix UK Primetime Emmy for "The Crown", in London, Britain, September 20, 2021. (REUTERS)

The popular and satirical “Saturday Night Live” won for best variety sketch series
One of television’s most popular shows — 1990s comedy “Friends” — could make an Emmys comeback. The “Friends” reunion special that saw the six main actors reminisce earlier this year about their days playing 20Something New Yorkers is competing against the filmed version of Broadway musical “Hamilton” for best variety special.
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The Latest on The Emmy Awards in Los Angeles (all times local):
6:50 p.m.
Ted Lasso has roped himself an Emmy.
Jason Sudeikis, who plays the title character in the Apple TV+ show about a happy-go-lucky American football coach hired to head a British soccer team, won the Emmy Award for best actor in a comedy series on Sunday night.
It’s the first career acting Emmy for Sudeikis, and the third Emmy of the night for “Ted Lasso.”
The former “Saturday Night Live” actor tried to thank that show’s mastermind Lorne Michaels, but found he was missing from his seat.
“I want to thank Lorne, who went to go take a dump, now, perfect.” Sudeikis joked.
___
MORE ON THE EMMYS:
— MJ Rodriguez wore teal, Billy Porter winged black at Emmys
— List of Emmy winners includes ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Mare of Easttown’ actors
— Emmys vow a ‘good time’ after bleak year; ‘Crown’ may rule
See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/emmy-awards
___
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
6:40 p.m.
Jean Smart has an Emmy to mark a remarkable career renaissance.
Smart won best actress in a comedy series Sunday night for her role in HBO Max’s “Hacks.”
It’s her fourth career Emmy and her first in 12 years. She got a standing ovation from the Emmy audience.
She teared up as she thanked her husband of more than 30 years, actor Richard Gilliland, who died six months ago yesterday.
“I would not be here without him, and without his kind of putting his career on the back burner so that I could take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that I’ve had,” Smart said.
The 70-year-old actor, previously best known for her role on “Designing Women,” has been a staple of elite TV the past few years, with nominated roles on “Fargo,” “Watchmen” and “Mare of Easttown.”
___
6:15 p.m.
Last week, tonight, or for half-a-dozen years, John Oliver can’t stop winning Emmys.
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” won the Emmy Award for best variety talk series for the sixth straight year on Sunday night.
It was the second award the show won Sunday. It also won for best writing.
From the stage, Oliver praised fellow nominee Conan O’Brien, whose show recently ended its late-night run on TBS.
“Like many of us in this room, I was kind of rooting for ‘Conan,’ so this is bittersweet. Thank you so much, Conan, for inspiring 30 years of comedy writers,” Oliver said.
He also paid tribute to comic Norm Macdonald, who died on Tuesday.
Oliver said “no one was funnier in the last 20 years than Norm Macdonald on late-night comedy, so if you have any time in the next week, just do what I did and just spend time YouTubing clips of Norm and Conan, because it just doesn’t get better than that.” ___
5: 55 p.m.
The Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama series goes to Tobias Menzies for “The Crown.”
Menzies won for playing Prince Phillip opposite Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth in the fourth season of the Netflix series, which has already taken four Emmys on Sunday night.
Menzies, a 47-year-old London-born actor, is also known for his roles on “Outlander” and “Game of Thrones.”
He beat out fellow nominees Giancarlo Esposito, O-T Fagbenle, John Lithgow, Max Minghella, Chris Sullivan, Bradley Whitford and Michael K. Williams.
___
5: 50 p.m.
Gillian Anderson has turned the Iron Lady into Emmy gold.
Anderson won best supporting actress in a drama series on Sunday night for playing British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of “The Crown.”
It was already the third Emmy of the night for the Netflix show, whose winners are accepting their awards at a viewing party in London.
And it was the second career Emmy for Anderson, who won her first 24 years ago for “The X-Files.”
She beat out her “The Crown” castmates Helena Bonham Carter and Emerald Fennell, along with Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, Aunjanue Ellis, Yvonne Strahovski and Samira Wiley.
___
5:30 p.m.
The sidekick and best friend of Easttown have each won an Emmy.
Evan Peters won best supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie for HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” on Sunday night, and Julianne Nicholson won best supporting actress for the show.
Nicholson won for playing the best friend of Kate Winslet’s title character, a Pennsylvania detective trying to solve a murder amid struggles with family and friends.
Peters won for playing Winslet’s partner.
Both praised the show’s star from the stage.
“Man, you’re good at acting,” Nicholson said to Winslet.
It was the first Emmy, and first nomination, for both Peters and Nicholson.
___
5:20 p.m.
Brett Goldstein topped his teammates at the Emmys.
Goldstein won best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role in “Ted Lasso,” which had four nominees in the category.
“This cast made me sick they’re so good,” Goldstein said.
With his win, “Ted Lasso” took the first two Emmys of the night, with Hannah Waddingham taking best supporting actress in a comedy.
It’s the first Emmy for Goldstein, and comes for his first nomination.
He beat out castmates Brendan Hunt, Nick Mohammed and Jeremy Swift along with Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Bowen Yang, Kenan Thompson and Paul Reiser.
___
5:15 p.m.
Hannah Waddingham, and “Ted Lasso,” have won the first Emmy of the night.
Waddingham won best supporting actress in a comedy series Sunday for the Apple TV+ series, which could be in for a big night.
Waddingham screamed with delight when she reached the stage.
“Jason, you’ve changed my life with this,” she said to the show’s star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis.
Waddingham plays the owner of an English soccer team who hires the American title character to run it into the ground on “Ted Lasso.”
She beat her castmate Juno Temple, along with Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Hannah Einbinder and Rosie Perez.
___
5: 10 p.m.
Host Cedric the Entertainer, LL Cool J, and a bunch of audience members opened the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards with a hip-hop tribute to television.
Cedric introduced the CBS telecast Sunday night by saying it would be anything but subdued, and began a rollicking declaration of his love for TV to the tune of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.”
“TV, you got what I need, would you say he’s just a friend,” the host sang.
The show looks a lot more like a traditional awards ceremony than last year’s audience-free “Pandemmies,” but is still seriously scaled back, held in a tent in downtown Los Angeles.
The night’s favorites include Netflix’s drama “The Crown” and Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso.”
___
1 p.m.
Emmy Awards host Cedric the Entertainer and the show’s producers promise it will be a celebration for all. But it could be much more rewarding, even historic, for some.
That includes Netflix’s drama “The Crown” and Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso.” Each is considered a frontrunner Sunday for top series honors in their respective categories, and their casts received armloads of nominations.
More than the shows would benefit. Victories in both the best drama and comedy series categories would mark a first for streaming services and reinforce their growing dominance, to the dismay of competitors.

 


Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty explores Saudi Arabia

Australian-Lebanese model Jessica Kahawaty is no stranger to jetting around the world. File/ Getty Images
Australian-Lebanese model Jessica Kahawaty is no stranger to jetting around the world. File/ Getty Images
Updated 05 December 2021

Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty explores Saudi Arabia

Australian-Lebanese model Jessica Kahawaty is no stranger to jetting around the world. File/ Getty Images

DUBAI: Australian-Lebanese model, entrepreneur and influencer Jessica Kahawaty is treating her one million Instagram fans to a tour of Saudi Arabia.

This week, the model hopped between Riyadh and Jeddah, with a pitstop in the Saudi desert, for a number of events.

She hit the ground running in Riyadh with a visit to the Times Square entertainment destination in the capital and stopped off at the Echo Beauty department store and the We Cre8 department store in The Boulevard.

“Riyadh. Wow. What a welcome. Thank you #VedaHolding a pioneer in entrepreneurship in concepts like @wecre8.sa and @echobeauty.sa, for your hospitality and thank you to the people of Riyadh who found me in a quick and quiet visit to Times Square late last night after the desert and gave me the funnest welcome ever!!! Can’t wait for what’s to come soon Saudi (sic),” Kahawaty posted on Instagram alongside a carousel of images and videos of her visit.

For the occasion, she showed off a dazzling pink dress by Miu Miu.

Before her 3 a.m. trip to the mall, Kahawaty enjoyed a traditional dinner in the desert and shared a cozy-looking carousel of photos in which she can be seen enjoying kabsa in a desert camp complete with a roaring fire.

“My first Saudi desert experience with a traditional kabsa dinner (rice with lamb),” she captioned the post on Instagram.

The model, who is also an avid humanitarian, then hopped on a plane to Jeddah, during which she was treated to a meal she had been craving — a McDonald’s burger.

“They asked what cuisine I wanted, I said ‘Le McDonald’s’,” she joked on her Instagram feed.

In Jeddah, Kahawaty received a warm welcome as she arrived to stay with Saudi designer Arwa Al-Banawi before the pair enjoyed a spread of pastries and homemade goodies.

When she’s not jetting around the world, the Dubai-based 32-year-old can be found setting up charitable endeavors — evidenced most recently in her online fundraiser to support those struggling in Lebanon amid the country’s shortage of fuel, medical supplies and food in August.

“My name is Jessica Kahawaty and I, like many Lebanese expats, feel helpless watching my country and people drown in despair,” she wrote at the time.

Kahawaty said that money raised was distributed among nonprofit organizations that she personally vetted, individual families and students.


Review: Final episodes of ‘Money Heist’ are emotional and action-packed

The final episodes of ‘Money Heist’are now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
The final episodes of ‘Money Heist’are now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
Updated 04 December 2021

Review: Final episodes of ‘Money Heist’ are emotional and action-packed

The final episodes of ‘Money Heist’are now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: A runaway hit, the last five episodes of Spanish series “Money Heist,” created by Alex Pina, were just released on Netflix to international fanfare.

Readers be warned, this review contains spoilers for the first part of season five, which was released three months ago.

Audiences were left on a cliff hanger, with the shocking death of Tokyo (Ursula Corbero) and the emotional run continues in the second part of the season, with the Professor (played by Alvaro Morte) displaying heightened sadness, triumph and nerves in the final episode.

With Tokyo’s death, the Professor is shattered and loses his grip on the situation, which opens him up to risks from all angles. Of particular interest is the developing relationship between detective Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri) and the Professor, all with Sierra’s newborn baby in tow. Featuring a newborn innocent in the heady mix of precarious action ups the ante and introduces a heightened level of risk for audiences who will no doubt watch with bated breath.

In the final episodes, the Professor also sees his reasoning questioned by some members of the gang, including Rio (Miguel Herran) who harbors doubts about the morality of stealing gold from the country’s reserves.

On the opposing side, Colonel Tamayo (Fernando Cayo) lost many of his men when he attempted to storm the bank, but is undeterred. He has made his life's mission to get the Professor and his group down on their knees and will stoop low to achieve this, as we come to see. 

“Money Heist” is gripping to the core, and we are so taken in by what is happening on screen that we are willing not only to forgive the misdeeds of the robbers, but also cheer them on. The emotional notes in the final episodes make it all the more magnetically appealing, and allow audiences to wave off the artistic liberties taken by the director with regards to some of the less than believable scenes. 

A particularly noteworthy focus of the latest run is Berlin (Pedro Alonso), whose life is revealed through flashbacks that make up a marvelous character study.

Audiences will be relieved to find a lot of questions are answered, and due the way it ends this global phenomenon is sure to be remembered for a long time.


US-Iraqi beauty mogul Mona Kattan gets engaged

Mona Kattan is the founder of the Kayali fragrance empire. (File/ Getty Images)
Mona Kattan is the founder of the Kayali fragrance empire. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 04 December 2021

US-Iraqi beauty mogul Mona Kattan gets engaged

Mona Kattan is the founder of the Kayali fragrance empire. (File/ Getty Images)

DUBAI: Friends and fans flooded US-Iraqi beauty mogul Mona Kattan’s Instagram account on Saturday, after the Huda Beauty global president announced her engagement to Dubai-based businessman Hassan El-Amin.

“Forever Ever,” Kattan captioned a carousel of images posted late on Friday night, showing the Kayali fragrance founder posing with a diamond ring on her finger and alongside her soon-to-be husband.

Influencers, beauty entrepreneurs and celebrities took to Kattan’s comments section to send their well wishes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mona Kattan (@monakattan“Congrats baby, (you) deserve the world,” doctor and influencer Sarah Al-Madani commented, while Faryal Makhdoom, wife of British boxing star Amir Khan, wrote “congrats cutie.”

According to El-Amin’s LinkedIn account, he is the head of facultative at Middle East and Africa at Aon Reinsurance Solutions and relocated to Dubai after studying at Cass Business School in London and graduating with a Masters of Science.

It seems Kattan’s new fiancé is as family-focused as she is — he even runs an Instagram account together with his two siblings called @the.elamins.

The siblings feature heavily in the carousel of images shared by Kattan, with snaps including both Sally and Ahmed El-Amin.

With a background in graphic design and illustrating, Sally boasts a portfolio of clients that includes  Huda Beauty, leading some to speculate that she could be the link between the loved-up couple.

The good news tops off a busy year for Kattan, who, alongside her sister Huda, announced a number of new investments and initiatives in 2021.

In the summer, the sister duo announced Ketish as the first brand to be launched by Huda Beauty Angels — which falls under HB Investments, their venture capital firm. Ketish, a feminine care label, is spearheaded by Eman Abbass, a former Huda Beauty product developer.

Since then, Mona has focused heavily on the sisters’ fragrance range, Kayali, of which she is the founder and creative head.

The latest Kayali product was launched this week and is called Eden Juicy Apple — a “playful, vibrant and super juicy” scent that is based on “crisp and juicy red apples, sweet berries and fresh floral notes,” according to the brand.

In October, Kayali won the coveted Niche Product of the Year prize at the Beautyworld Middle East Awards for its Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper fragrance.


What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency
Updated 04 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

Authors: Stephen J. Collier & Andrew Lakoff

From pandemic disease, to the disasters associated with global warming, to cyberattacks, today we face an increasing array of catastrophic threats. It is striking that, despite the diversity of these threats, experts and officials approach them in common terms — as future events that threaten to disrupt the vital, vulnerable systems upon which modern life depends.
The Government of Emergency tells the story of how this now taken-for-granted way of understanding and managing emergencies arose. Amid the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, an array of experts and officials working in obscure government offices developed a new understanding of the nation as a complex of vital, vulnerable systems. They invented technical and administrative devices to mitigate the nation’s vulnerability, and organized a distinctive form of emergency government that would make it possible to prepare for and manage potentially catastrophic events.


Misk Art Week showcases artists from Saudi Arabia and international community

Afra Aldhaheri’s “End of A School Braid” (2021), part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition “Under Construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)
Afra Aldhaheri’s “End of A School Braid” (2021), part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition “Under Construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)
Updated 03 December 2021

Misk Art Week showcases artists from Saudi Arabia and international community

Afra Aldhaheri’s “End of A School Braid” (2021), part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition “Under Construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)
  • For its fifth year, Misk Art Institute’s annual event features several exhibitions exploring the nature of identity

RIYADH: Inside Riyadh’s Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall, multimedia artworks are displayed across the venue’s two floors on the theme of Takween, which means “form” in Arabic, and its relation to one’s identity.

As part of Misk Art Week’s fifth outing, taking place until Dec. 5, artists from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, North Africa and the wider international community present art that questions identity — specifically how an individual’s social, historical and cultural origins influence their past, present and future.

From video works produced with AI to paintings, textile-based art and installations, the art on show aims, according to the Misk Art Institute, to offer a “critical platform for the creative community,” fostering cultural dialogue and intellectual exchange.

As visitors enter the hall, they are confronted by two dark figures by Saudi artist Filwa Nazer, made of black polyethylene industrial netting and titled The Other is Another Body (2021). The figures seem to guard the vibrantly colored wool-weave tapestry work hanging on a wall between them, titled Palm (1985), by American artist Sheila Hicks.

The works are part of Here, Now, the third in a series of the Misk Art Institute’s annual flagship exhibition, curated this time by British writer and curator Sacha Craddock alongside Misk’s assistant curators, Nora Algosaibi and Alia Ahmad Al-Saud.

The show, which features a mix of emerging and established artists and runs until Jan. 30, 2022, is the first in the Saudi capital to present works by both Saudi and international artists, including ones by well-known Saudi artists such as Manal Al-Dowayan’s abstract black and white work, I am Here (2016), Ayman Yossri Daydban’s Tree House (2019), and Sami Ali AlHossein’s colorful abstract figurative works on canvas. There is also a painting by renowned Sudanese painter Salah Elmur titled The Angry Singer (2015) and delicate floral drawings by Korean artist Young In Hong dating to 2009.

While without an overarching narrative, the show prompts the spectator to question, like the exhibition’s title, “why here and why now?” It encourages the visitor to reflect on the artworks and the nature of identity in a reflective, personal and subjective manner.

Upstairs is Under Construction, an exhibition of Misk Art Grant recipients who hail this year from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. The grant funds up to SR1 million ($266,632) and has been distributed among the nine participating artists and collectives.

Basma Al-Shathry, lead curator at Misk Art Institute, said: “This year’s Misk Art Grant exhibition, ‘Under Construction,’ explores how identity is perceived as an emblem of growth, continuity and endless iterations of cultural representation throughout history. It has been a delight to bring together artists and designers from both the Middle East and North Africa to address the theme as a process of development, repetition, distortion and incompleteness in a time of synthesis, understanding and promise for the future.”

Mira AlMazrooei and Jawaher AlMutairi’s “Glass Libary” (2021). Part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition titled  “Under construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)

The works on show also respond to the theme of identity while focusing on how identity can be perceived as a method for growth and renewal, as well as social and historical continuity, via the incorporation of cultural representations throughout history.

One of the most poignant works is by Emirati artist and designer Latifa Saeed’s Sand Room (2021), which presents an assembly of sand-encased glass panels in the form of a cube that one can enter to observe the desert sand sediments that she collected from construction sites around Dubai.

Latifa Saeed’s “Sand room” (2021). Part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition titled “Under Construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)

“My research and work is always about transformation, whether it be of a city or of one’s mentality,” Saeed told Arab News. “I began by building an archive of sand from Dubai because the sites from where I collected the sand we cannot visit anymore because they are now construction sites.

Saeed visited development sites in Dubai, and before the construction started she would collect sand from the area and label it accordingly. She now has more than 200 different types of sand from these areas.

“I am archiving, preserving and documenting the Dubai landscape, topography and the material itself,” she said.

Near to Saeed’s mesmerizing room of sand specimens is Emirati artist Afra Al-Dhaheri’s End of a School Braid (2021) — a large installation of twisted and backcombed off-white colored rope that hangs from the ceiling. In this piece Al-Dhaheri examines how hair can be seen as the keeper of memories, preserving not only time but cultural norms and heritage.

Bahraini artist Noor Alwan’s Sacred Spaces (2021), a series of hanging textile-based tapestry works, similarly seeks to preserve personal and collective memories. Growing up, she would watch her grandfather ritually draw hundreds of patterns on paper — a tradition that stemmed from his childhood and that immersed him in a meditative process of repetition. Alwan recalls his trance-like process of art creation and likens it to a shared Arab collective practice — with elements mirroring the mesmerizing geometric forms of Islamic art.

Nour Alwan’s “Sacred Spaces,” (2021). Part of the Misk Art Grant exhibition titled “Under Construction” at Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)

Moving into the rapidly developing digital landscape is an engaging work by Saudi artist Obaid Alsafi, titled Beyond Language (2021), in which a poem by the late revered Saudi poet Muhammad Al-Thubaiti Poetry (1952-2011), titled Salutation to the Master of the Arid Land, is transformed into a video work with sound via artificial intelligence. For the work, which captivates the viewer through its colorful abstract images — some seem like palm trees while others appear to be figures — Alsafi trained the AI through data collection and machine learning to understand poetry and produce visual representations of each verse with accompanying machine-made sound.

“The first form of art in the region and the way we connected with each other was through poetry,” Alsafi, an artist who studied computer science, told Arab News. “Al-Thubaiti, one of Saudi’s pioneer poets, changed the way that poetry was written and read. Everyone sees AI as robotic, but my vision, I want to see how we can make the machine more human so that it understands language, learn and develop artwork depending on the vision of the artist. I believe artists can use AI as a tool to develop their work.”

Lastly, there is the second iteration of works created in the Masaha residency program, located in the basement of the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall.

The program, part of Misk Art Institute’s mission to support Saudi and international practitioners across the artistic disciplines in the research and production of new works via mentorship opportunities, can be viewed on the ground floor. Titled HOME: Being and Belonging, the works by 10 visual artists from the UK, Guatemala, Morocco, India, South Korea, and from across Saudi Arabia, examine questions of how an individual and collective sense of belonging and nostalgia for one’s culture and heritage stems from one’s socio-cultural and ethnic background. The works on show explore how our sense of belonging changes and transforms with time.

The residency offers international artists the opportunity to create work on site at Masaha over a three-month cycle. Many of the participating artists are showing their work for the first time in the Kingdom — demonstrating once again Misk Art Institute’s broader aims to expand Saudi Arabia’s cultural landscape through international creative dialogue.

Hana Almilli’s “Through The Earth I Come Back Home” (2021). Part of the Masaha Residency showcase during Misk Art Week 2021. (Omar Al-Tamimi)