LONDON: Two stone statues of sphinxes dating back 5,000 years and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been discovered in a garden in the English county of Suffolk.
The statues, over a meter tall each, were thought to be 18th- or 19th-century replicas, but after they were inspected by an expert, the garden ornaments turned out to be genuine.
Despite their poor condition, having been left outside in the garden for years and secured to the ground with cement, they still sold at auction for £195,000 ($265,000).
Auctioneer James Mander told Metro newspaper: “We were contacted by a local family who were moving house and needed to dispose of stuff from their old garden, which did not fit their new home.
“The condition was quite poor with heavy wear and various losses. They had been repaired by the current owners, using concrete, to fill the missing part under the head of one of the statues.”
He added: “They had stood on a garden patio as decoration until last month, when they were consigned to the auction.
“There was some interest prior to the auction during the viewing, but really we had no indication of their value until the auction began.
“The bidding started at £200, and it took fifteen minutes to sell, with competition from four telephone bidders and numerous internet buyers.
“The bidding quickly went up to £100,000 and then seemed to stall, until the hammer finally fell at £195,000 to an international auction gallery, setting a new house record.
“Opinion was that they were genuine Ancient Egyptian examples, which had somehow passed through recent history as 18th century copies.”
Mander said: “This was an exciting day at the auction, and we were very pleased to inform the vendors who had purchased and enjoyed these as garden ornaments for many years, with no idea of their true value.”
Luxury publisher Assouline celebrates Dubai in latest tome
Updated 20 October 2021
DUBAI: From Ibiza to the Amalfi Coast, Marrakech to Mykonos, luxury publisher Assouline is known for a collection of globe-trotting titles. For the latest addition to its Travel Series, the publisher is putting the spotlight on Dubai.
Titled “Dubai Wonder,” the new 296-page coffee table book was authored by Dubai-based arts consultant and editor Myrna Ayad, the brain behind Assouline’s retrospective on the late UAE ruler, “Sheikh Zayed: An Eternal Legacy,” which came out last year.
While it was the arts consultant who initially pitched the idea to the luxury publisher, for her latest book, Ayad shares that it was Assouline that reached out to her.
“After publishing my first book with Assouline, the house asked if I’d like to author a book on Dubai as part of its iconic Travel Series,” shared Ayad to Arab News.
An avid collector of Assouline books and a Dubai resident for four decades, Ayad did not have to think twice before agreeing to take on the project.
Taking readers on an immersive journey through the UAE’s bustling metropolis, the book delves into the beauty, diversity and rich culture of Dubai through a collection of images and text that show the city has plenty more to offer beyond the world’s largest shopping mall and tallest skyscraper.
“Dubai is a tourism destination, that’s for sure; however, I wanted to portray that it is also a cultural hotspot, a city that is home for so many, and a city that constantly gives,” says Ayad.
Assouline describes Dubai as “one of the most important metropolises in the Middle East.”
Indeed, it is hard to imagine that only 50 years ago, the futuristic city was but a humble desert oasis that relied on pearl diving, fishing and trade.
With “Dubai Wonders,” the author hopes to also capture the side of Dubai that you will not typically see in a 90-second tourism advert.
“Because I have lived in Dubai for 40 years, it is important for me to show audiences the city’s urban evolution. Part of that means showing another side to Dubai, a side which is perhaps not seen as much, but forms the city’s identity,” says Ayad. “Some of those places include the Khor Dubai, which I feel is the very pulse of the city; the ever so charming Jumeirah district; the wondrous Deira Fish Market, the timeless Gold Souk and historical Al-Shindagha.”
On a more contemporary level, spots like AlSerkal Avenue, Jumeirah Road and the Expo 2020 Dubai are also highlighted throughout the book.
Additionally, the opus features insight from international figures like English footballer David Beckham and Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan who describes Dubai as “an incredible place that she is grateful to call home.”
El Gouna Film Festival screens award-winning films ‘Amira,’ ‘Feathers’ to mixed reactions
Updated 20 October 2021
DUBAI: Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival on Tuesday screened Egyptian director Mohamed Diab’s award-winning movie “Amira,” which made its global premiere at the 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival this year.
The film revolves around Amira, a 17-year-old Palestinian who has gone through life believing she is the biological daughter of a Palestinian prisoner serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail.
The film, which is set in Palestine’s West Bank, features a stellar pan-Arab cast, including Jordanian star Saba Mubarak, Palestinian-Israeli actor Ali Suliman and emerging Jordanian actress Tara Abboud, who landed her first leading role as Amira.
“Amira” won two prestigious awards at the Venice International Film Festival — the Lanterna Magica Award and the Interfilm Award.
It is competing for the Feature Narrative Award at El Gouna.
The movie was also screened at the recent Toronto Film Festival.
On Monday, the festival screened the Egyptian film “Feathers,” directed by Omar El-Zohairy.
However, the film — which won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics Week — sparked controversy at the event and on social media.
Some Egyptian filmmakers and actors, including Sherif Mounir, Ahmed Rizk and Ashraf Abdel Baqi, left the screening of the film because they thought the movie offends Egypt.
“Feathers” tells the story of a mother who dedicates her life to her husband and children. When a magic trick goes wrong at her four-year-old son’s birthday party, an avalanche of coincidental absurdities befalls the family. The magician turns her husband, the authoritarian father, into a chicken.
The mother is now forced to come to the fore and take care of the family while trying to bring her husband back. As she tries to survive, she goes through a rough transformation.
In a phone interview with Egyptian host Amr Adib on his show “Al-Hekaya,” Mounir said: “When I left (the screening), I was followed by others right after me. What I saw, and the film’s picture, portrays us (Egyptians) in a negative way. It shows people suffering in an abnormal way.
“Even poor areas, that ‘were’ there, didn’t live that badly. I was disappointed to be honest. I was also disappointed that when it premiered abroad, it won awards,” he said. “I no longer see this picture (or these struggles) in our country.”
“I don’t know what the people who awarded the film liked in this movie,” he added.
Egyptian news agency Al-Masry Al-Youm shared a released statement by the festival that says: “El-Gouna Film Festival values and appreciates all filmmakers in the world for their art and their outstanding cinematic experiences. The festival team selects films based on artistic and cinematic qualities, according to the standards of international film festivals.
“This year, in its fifth edition, the selection of the film ‘Feathers’ by Egyptian director Omar El-Zohairy is in line with the film selection process, based on his success in other international forums,” added the statement.
Speaking about its Cannes award, the festival’s organizers added: “It is the first Egyptian film to receive such a prestigious award. It also won the Grand Prix of the Pingyao Festival in China yesterday. It will be screened at the next Carthage Film Festival.
“Regarding the views of many Egyptian and international critics, the film’s setting and time were not identified… the festival did not and will not show any film without obtaining official permits, to confirm that it does not bear any offense or grudge in any of its films,” read the statement.
KSA’s Red Sea Film Festival opens in-person accreditation
Updated 20 October 2021
JEDDAH: The 3rd annual Red Sea Film Festival has opened its doors to cinema world enthusiasts to register and receive accreditation for the inaugural in-person edition of the most anticipated cinematic event of the year.
From red carpet premieres and concerts, an industry program, workshops, interactive community events to acclaimed festival gems and beautifully restored treasures, the festival will be held in Saudi Arabia’s most evocative historical quarter — Jeddah Old Town — from Dec. 6-15. It is an annual festival, launched in 2019, but the past two editions were held virtually due to the pandemic.
With more than 100 films from around the world to be showcased, including the best cinematic works from the region, the festival will provide industry professionals with an exclusive opportunity to be part of a unique experience.
The festival provide a platform for Arab filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world to connect, host feature and short film competitions, and present a series of events, master classes, and workshops to support emerging talent.
From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans
Updated 19 October 2021
DUBAI: Kuwaiti label Marzook is continuing to snap up celebrity fans, with US singer Tinashe and superstar Beyonce spotted sporting its curved creations in recent days.
Tinashe, famous for her hit song “2 On,” showed off a pill-shaped bag by the brand during a photoshoot for A Book Of digital and print magazine this month.
The singer was photographed in a retro look, complete with a white hairband, larger-than-life hair and a sleek cat eye. Styled by Wilford Lenov, the ensemble featured a glittering Marzook bag called the Pill Dusty Pink.
Meanwhile, Beyonce was photographed with the Kuwaiti arm candy in Italy over the weekend.
The world-famous singer was photographed outside Alexandre Arnault’s wedding to Geraldine Guyot in Venice, Italy, on Saturday. Guyot is the founder of the French brand D’Estrëe, while Arnault is the son of one of the world’s richest men, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, and the executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co.
For the occasion, Beyoncé opted for a Tiffany-blue silk gown and heels with a Dolce & Gabbana double-breasted wool coat. She accessorized the look with a Marzook crystal orb purse and Lorraine Schwartz diamond jewelry.
Helmed by Kuwaiti siblings Fahad and Shouq Al-Marzooq, the Beirut-based accessories brand was established in 2014. The brother sister duo started off in the fashion industry by designing pieces for their family and friends and quickly went on to garner worldwide attention and sign celebrity collaboration deals.
In 2019, US influencer and model Sofia Richie, singer Lionel Richie’s daughter, collaborated on a new line of handbags with the label.
“When you’re one of social media’s most popular style stars, your style influence is extremely crucial. Sofia’s style is very much aligned with the Marzook girl, who rather than follows trends, creates trends,” the fashion label wrote on its website at the time.
The collaboration featured Marzook’s perennial favorite, the spherical Lucid Classic bag, in a new set of neon shades — “Powerful Pink, Neon- Z Green and Traffic Cone Orange.”
And those are not the only celebrities who have shown love for the Arab brand.
Kylie Jenner showed off a crystal-covered orb bag by the label on her birthday in 2018, triggering many a newspaper headline.
The accessories house’s bags have been sported by the likes of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, actress Lupita Nyong’o and model Cara Delevingne.
The label’s line of accessories consists of exotic leather and skins, precious metals and resins in pill or spherical shapes.
Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere
Updated 19 October 2021
LOS ANGELES: Actors Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek brought Hollywood glamor to the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ latest comic book adaptation, “Eternals,” this week.
Jolie attended the red carpet with her four children, who she shares with her ex-husband Brad Pitt.
For the ocassion, 46-year-old actress lent her daughter Zahara her sequined Elie Saab gown that she wore to the Oscars in 2014, sparking many an international headline.
It’s not often mother-to-daughter hand-me-downs include iconic dresses by a Lebanese designer.
“My kids are all mixed with vintage, and in my old Oscars dress,” she said. “We did all vintage and upcycled my old stuff,” Jolie told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, who won best director and best picture for the film “Nomadland” at the Oscars earlier this year, “Eternals” boasts one of the most diverse casts of any Marvel movie.
“I hope it just starts to normalize what should have been there in the first place,” Jolie told Reuters. “I hope people watch these films in years to come and we don’t even think about it as being diverse.”
The film stars Syrian refugee-turned-actor Zain Al-Rafeea as part of the star-studded cast, who plays the role of a villager who comes across the Eternals when they arrive on Earth.
Delayed a year due to the pandemic, “Eternals” will finally hit cinemas on Nov. 5 in the Middle East.