How Expo 2020 Dubai is helping us answer the question of identity

How Expo 2020 Dubai is helping us answer the question of identity
The Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai. Instagram
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Updated 16 October 2021

How Expo 2020 Dubai is helping us answer the question of identity

How Expo 2020 Dubai is helping us answer the question of identity

Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al-Nahyan is an ambassador for Culture for ALECSO.

DUBAI: When we talk about sustainability, we must reference culture because identity and sustainability both depend on accumulative communal practices. The pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai express these links and values.

Many types of green innovations are featured at Expo 2020, with innovations on show that aim to solve global energy problems — such as the portable U-light — and examples of international corporations that are working to be more sustainable — L’Oréal’s perfume refill system for example. One of the more technologically advanced is Source, which makes clean water from air and sunlight by way of their innovative hydro panels.




The Morocco pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Instagram
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The idea of sustaining identity and culture is exactly why, for the first time, the 192 participating countries at Expo 2020 Dubai all have separate spaces to freely showcase these concepts in their own way and why Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum promised that this would be the best expo held in 170 years. The pavilions of Poland and Morocco are two of the many countries that look to tradition for developing the future. Poland’s use of wood and timber in the design is extremely alluring, similar to Morocco’s use of earthen methods, the sandy exterior honors nature, as does Azerbaijan’s leaf design and Oman’s frankincense tree. Italy’s pavilion, co-designed by Carlo Ratti, is a Renaissance factory that connects with visitors through its beauty. Carmen Bueno, the deputy commissioner and director of the Spanish pavilion, explains other connections through the evolution of chess and common architectural heritage between the Arabs and Spanish in Andalusia. The passage of time also helps to forge knowledge-based connections, which is the focus of the Yemeni pavilion with its modern take on the miraculous book of ‘Al Wisabi’, written in the form of an Arabic algorithmic poem. The question is not how we view the future, it is how we view ourselves and others in it.  

Recently Dr. Mohammed Ould Amar, director-general of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), presented me with the honor of a cultural ambassadorship. Their main aspiration is to enhance our Arab culture regionally and internationally. The sense of “ourselves” is a generational idea originating in set traditions over time. In Arabic, we say “bearers of a habit are unable to drop their habits” — cultural continuity, just like sustainability, is a natural way to progress individually and collectively. The calligraphy benches scattered around at Expo 2020 honor the Arabic language and calligraphy as an age-old tradition, inviting family-sized groups of loved ones to take in the splendor of their surroundings.




Al Wasl Plaza. Supplied

Al Wasl Plaza is the grand feature of the Expo 2020 site. Al Wasl means “the link,” a link between all people and ideas.

“The theater (Al Wasl Plaza) is going to be a permanent monument for residents and locals alike, to look back to as a proud memory,” said Nahla Al-Fahad, the woman behind the popular “wain sayreen” Expo 2020 commercial. The film director added: “Al Wasl Plaza will present lots of Arabic poetry in various shows. It is also a park, and the materials used on top give perfect shade, successfully reducing indoor temperatures by up to three degrees.”

An illuminating dome that emulates the Bronze Age ring found in the Saruq Al-Hadid archaeological site in Dubai, with its round shape and twenty orbiting spheres, symbolizes the event as if the countries are planets revolving around the center of this spectacle of dialogue.




Al Wasl Plaza. Instagram

Dunes are another splendid feature of Expo 2020 that creep into the design of various pavilions — a coffee scented trail in Italy’s pavilion, a red uphill entrance to the Swiss pavilion, the color of which will keep changing during the coming months. Then there is the steep, breathtaking ascent into Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and renewed spirit, inaugurated by the Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Committee for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Pavilion Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri. The UAE’s pavilion, “A Story About the UAE’s Dream,” which Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan shared on Twitter, displayed actual audio and visual depictions of dunes. A few expressions of the desert theme are representative of social participation and similar views.

A good feature of identity does not require explanation, just like an obvious joke. Take this one for example — it is old but amusing — what is the English translation of Insh’Allah? It is improbable, un-seemingly or no. 

 




The UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Supplied

 

Views of ourselves or others are developed by way of interaction. While we were watching the opening ceremony my mother, Sheikha Fakhra Bint Saeed, turned our attention to the young star in a pink and golden Khaleeji gown, delightfully performed by model Mira Singh. Her movements on the stage, mixing one by one with the various groups and emphasizing cooperation as a universal value, neither dissolved the uniqueness of any of the groups nor erased the girl’s representation of Arabia’s past and present.

From melodious musical shows to dances performed by troupes from multiple regions, and national day parades to the entertaining Eastern melodies by Al-Jahra Arts at the entrance of Kuwait’s pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai has much to offer.

Another host of shows will take place in the Jubilee Park, where the Kapa Haka dancers from New Zealand, with their big smiles and decorative chin tattoos, will represent an old Maori spiritual tradition marking passages of life and a commitment to their ancestral identities. In the deserts of the Arab world, different and comparable to the Maoris during the early 20th century, simple tattoos were a beauty trait for the Bedouins — an example of age-old ideas springing from diverse mindsets. Nowadays meanings differ and methods change in the ways we all honor our past and still fulfill our futures. Societies depend on understanding our “we-dentities,” in turn, development is dependent on us valuing our cultural bonds and diversity.


French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, dies after ski accident

French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, dies after ski accident
Updated 20 January 2022

French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, dies after ski accident

French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, dies after ski accident
  • While skiing Tuesday afternoon at La Rosière resort, Ulliel collided with another skier on an intermediate slope after turning left
  • Ulliel was “motionless and unconscious when rescuers arrived,” while the other skier was unharmed

LYON, France: French actor Gaspard Ulliel, known for appearing in Chanel perfume ads as well as film and television roles, died Wednesday after a skiing accident in the Alps, local authorities said. He was 37.
Ulliel portrayed the young Hannibal Lecter in 2007's “Hannibal Rising” and fashion mogul Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic “Saint Laurent.” He is also in the upcoming Marvel series “Moon Knight,” and was the advertising face of the Chanel men’s fragrance Bleu de Chanel.
While skiing Tuesday afternoon at La Rosière resort, Ulliel collided with another skier on an intermediate slope after turning left, presumably to join his friends on an adjoining slope, Anne Gaches, the Savoie prosecutor in Albertville, said in a statement Wednesday.
Preliminary findings from an investigation indicated that "both skiers fell to the ground after the collision," the prosecutor said. Ulliel was “motionless and unconscious when rescuers arrived,” while the other skier was unharmed, Gaches said.
The prosecutor’s statement did not mention whether either skier was wearing a helmet.
Ulliel was transported by helicopter to Grenoble University Hospital, where doctors tried to revive him, she said. The actor was pronounced dead Wednesday shortly after 4 p.m., Gaches said.
The office of the actor's agent confirmed that Ulliel died on Wednesday.
Ulliel started in television while still in middle school and went on to win two of France's top cinema awards, the Cesar.
Tributes poured in from both shocked fans and the corridors of power. French Prime Minister Jean Castex tweeted an homage that said, “Gaspard Ulliel grew up with cinema and cinema grew up with him. They loved each other madly."
French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin said she was deeply saddened by Ulliel's death, describing the actor as “a child prodigy of cinema, who embodied perfectly the French style all over the world.”
The House of Chanel said in a statement it has lost its “ambassador of 12 years and a friend.”
“We have been fortunate to have had by our side all these years a person endowed with great culture, an immense talent, and of unparalleled kindness. He will be sorely missed,” Chanel said.
The accident conjured up memories of when Formula One great Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a 2013 skiing accident in the French ski resort of Meribel, 50 kilometers (30 miles) from where Ulliel was skiing. Both were treated at Grenoble University Hospital.
Schumacher suffered serious head injuries when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock off the side of a demarcated slope. The German auto racing legend was skiing with his teenage son while on a family vacation in the Alps.
Schumacher, 53, has not been seen in public in eight years, and his family has revealed few details of his condition since the accident. His wife, Corinna, said in a Netflix documentary last year that her husband is “different, but he is here” and that the family, including the couple's son, Mick, now a Formula One driver himself, cares for him.
After Ulliel's accident, the mountain police service for the Rosiere ski area said its personnel have been carrying out five or six rescues per day as the snow hardened in recent days.
In the neighboring Haute-Savoie region, a 5-year-old girl was killed Saturday when a skier crashed into her. The man was handed preliminary manslaughter charges, according to the Haute-Savoie prosecutor, who cited excessive speed as the likely reason for the accident.


Asti Symphony Orchestra heads to AlUla to perform with Andrea Bocelli

Asti Symphony Orchestra heads to AlUla to perform with Andrea Bocelli
Updated 19 January 2022

Asti Symphony Orchestra heads to AlUla to perform with Andrea Bocelli

Asti Symphony Orchestra heads to AlUla to perform with Andrea Bocelli
  • Orchestra president: ‘Playing in AlUla is an honor for us. It will be an unforgettable experience’
  • It is the world-renowned tenor’s fourth performance at the UNESCO World Heritage Site

ROME: The musicians of the Asti Symphony Orchestra have said they are honored to be playing at the Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla on Friday with Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most popular living tenor.

The concert, which has long been sold out, will be Bocelli’s fourth performance in AlUla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It will be streamed on the tenor’s YouTube channel.

The 130 musicians who will play with Bocelli in AlUla flew out on Wednesday from the Italian city of Turin.

“We have often been called to accompany Maestro Bocelli,” Enrico Bellati, president of the Asti Symphony Orchestra, told Italian daily La Stampa. “Playing in AlUla is an honor for us. It will be another unforgettable experience.”

The concert will be an evening of opera and pop, and will include Bocelli’s greatest hits such as the famous aria “Nessun Dorma.”

Founded in 2014, the orchestra is based in Meta, a small town in the Italian region of Piedmont.


British entrepreneur Dr. Tara Lalvani reveals how her game-changing beauty tool came to be

British entrepreneur Dr. Tara Lalvani reveals how her game-changing beauty tool came to be
Updated 19 January 2022

British entrepreneur Dr. Tara Lalvani reveals how her game-changing beauty tool came to be

British entrepreneur Dr. Tara Lalvani reveals how her game-changing beauty tool came to be

DUBAI: If you can’t find it, make it! So goes the philosophy behind many brands, including Beautifect. The new beauty line based in London is known for its revolutionary Beautifect box, a tech-enabled device for applying, storing and carrying makeup.

The idea behind the Beautifect box came to British founder Dr. Tara Lalvani four and a half years ago while on the plane. “I was on my way to Dubai, and I just got the kids to finally sleep. I was thinking about the day ahead, about the hotel, about how poor the lighting was going to be and how I would get ready while managing my kids, and that’s when the idea of Beautifect occurred to me,” she told Arab News.

The Beautifect Box is a chargable beauty device for applying, carrying and storing makeup. 

A dental surgeon, Dr. Lalvani had no plans to launch her own business. In fact, before she had the idea to create the Beautifect box, she had her mind set on purchasing a product that could serve as a portable dressing table when she realized such a thing didn’t exist. “How could something so obvious not be already out there?” she proclaimed.

“Before I even landed, I decided that if it was out there, I was going to buy it. If it wasn’t, then I was going to create it because it would help every woman in the same position. I couldn’t believe that in this day and age, we were still struggling to get the right lighting and still being tied down to one place. And that’s really when the whole idea was born,” she explained.

What makes the product so special is the lighting, which took Dr. Lalvani over two years to perfect. The Beautifect box features five different lighting options that simulate different lighting environments so women can do their makeup more accurately. “Lighting completely changes the look of your makeup. There is no better lighting for makeup on the market than the Beautifect light,” shared the entrepreneur.

The portable device bills itself as the beauty equivalent to a laptop. 

The beauty equivalent of a laptop, the added benefit of the chargeable Beautifect box is that it allows women to do their makeup anywhere, whether they are in the back of an Uber on their way to a meeting or lounging on the sofa before dinner plans. A single charge lasts up to a month, and in an age when women are busier than ever, juggling careers and motherhood, the Beautifect box is quite revolutionary.

“We have such busy lives now. How can we still be doing our makeup the same way we’ve been doing it for generations? With Beautifect, you can do it on your schedule. You no longer have to sit at a dressing table in a separate room for something that you do every day,” shared Dr. Lalvani.

After launching Beautifect, the entrepreneur realized that dentistry was never really her passion. “All my life, I’ve always been a massive beauty lover, but after training for six years to be a dentist and practicing for over a decade in London, I didn’t imagine I would do anything else,” she recalled. Her profession as a dentist, however, did heavily inform the creative process of her brand. “After I launched, a friend of mine pointed out that the way I designed the storage in the Beautifect box reminded them of a dental tray,” she mused.

The chargeable Beautifect box is that it allows women to do their makeup anywhere.

Despite launching in the middle of a global pandemic, Beautifect was an instant hit when it landed on shelves at Harrods and online on Ounass and Dr. Lalvani’s own website. The entrepreneur attributes some of the success to the rise of social media platforms like TikTok during the pandemic. “We live in a time in which makeup isn’t necessarily just for going out. I designed the product around the social media age. We need to be able to film content, take selfies,” explained Dr. Lalvani.

Today, the Beautifect line boasts a beauty blender, Mulberry silk eye mask, crystal nail file, vanity bag and tote.

With an oversaturation of eyeshadow palettes, foundations and lipsticks on the market, Dr. Lalvani reveals she wants to focus her brand on beauty tools and devices. “Cosmetic brands are focused on makeup and when it comes to tools, they’re almost an afterthought,” she shared. “Our focus is on creating the best tools in their categories.”

You can shop the products on Beautifect.com. 


The top interior design trends of 2022 revealed

The top interior design trends of 2022 revealed
Updated 19 January 2022

The top interior design trends of 2022 revealed

The top interior design trends of 2022 revealed

DUBAI: A fresh year could prompt you to hit the refresh button on your living space. To give your interiors a facelift that mirrors your personal style, Saudi Arabia-based interiors brand Aura Living has shared the top design trends for 2022.

Comfortable rooms, flexible spaces

As we spend more time at home, we are moving away from rigid structures and formal living spaces and seeing a more open approach toward spaces that are welcoming and adaptive. Lounge areas and family rooms have become an individual’s main priority. But that doesn’t mean what is functional can’t be aesthetically chic — the key is to create the perfect balance between elegance and practicality. Take the Morzine sofa from Aura’s Fall 2021 line for instance. With practicality in mind, this modular sofa is designed to offer flexibility to design layouts, making a space equal parts comfy and elegant.

Morzine Sectional Sofa. Supplied

Vibrant hues

Paint trends will fall into two distinct camps this year: Earthy, organic shades and vibrant, energizing hues, which were popular in the 1950s. However, that does not necessarily mean that you need to invade your house with painterly pops. Rather, add vibrant shades of color where you feel suitable. Start with a neutral color palette as this will help you incorporate color easily and switch it up from time to time.

Supplied

Curves

Sculptural furnishing and feminine shapes are rapidly finding their way into sanctuaries this season. From curved sofas, to dining chairs, beds and cabinets, the options are endless. Arches, angled edges and wavy design accessories are all present within Aura’s Fall 2021 collection. You can opt for side chairs or single-seated sofas such as Aura’s Lezoux chair in soft pink, or the Joy chair in cobalt blue.

Supplied

Texture

Even the most basic neutral palettes can feel layered and exceptional when lots of different textures are incorporated. In the coming year, mastering that mix is going to be paramount. The easiest way to add texture into your decor is through fabrics and textiles. Start with smaller items, such as cushions, rugs and throws, that can be easily moved around or replaced should you want a quick interior update in the future. 

 


US actor Mahershala Ali nominated for NAACP Image Award

US actor Mahershala Ali nominated for NAACP Image Award
Updated 19 January 2022

US actor Mahershala Ali nominated for NAACP Image Award

US actor Mahershala Ali nominated for NAACP Image Award

 

DUBAI: US actor Mahershala Ali, who is Muslim, has been nominated in the best actor category at this month’s NAACP Image Awards, organizers announced this week.

The Oscar and Emmy winner will compete against LaKeith Stanfield, Denzel Washington, Jonathon Majors and Will Smith.

Meanwhile, Netflix emerged with a leading 52 nominations, including for the film “The Harder They Fall.” The movie — featuring a star-studded cast including Regina King, Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Stanfield — pulled in 12 nominations, including for best picture. 

Issa Rae’s “Insecure” earned 13 nominations, including best comedy television series. 

The nominees for best actress in a film are Andra Day, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Tessa Thompson and Zendaya.

The two-hour awards show, hosted by Anthony Anderson, will be broadcast on Feb. 26.