Kuwaiti, Emirati influencers star in American Eagle holiday campaign

The campaign stars none other than Kuwaiti Influencer Ascia Al-Faraj and Emirati twins and social media stars Mohammed and Humaid Hadban. (Supplied)
The campaign stars none other than Kuwaiti Influencer Ascia Al-Faraj and Emirati twins and social media stars Mohammed and Humaid Hadban. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 November 2021

Kuwaiti, Emirati influencers star in American Eagle holiday campaign

The campaign stars none other than Kuwaiti Influencer Ascia Al-Faraj and Emirati twins and social media stars Mohammed and Humaid Hadban. (Supplied)

DUBAI: US high street fashion label American Eagle Outfitters has unveiled a cozy holiday campaign starring none other than Kuwaiti Influencer Ascia Al-Faraj and Emirati twins and social media stars Mohammed and Humaid Hadban.




(Supplied)

Shot in Valle De Bravo, Mexico, the campaign also features talent from Mexico, musician Selene and actor Juanpa Villagordoa, as well as digital content creators from Colombia, Isabela Delgado and Daniel Jaramillo.

The campaign highlights the brand’s denim offerings, as well as a curated selection of knitwear and plaid looks.




(Supplied)

With 2.5 million Instagram followers to her name, it’s no surprise that Ascia was chosen to star In the new campaign. As for the Hadban twins, a stellar 90,000 followers on Instagram and 600,000 on Tiktok prove they have a legion of fans ready to accept sartorial advice from the photo savvy brothers.


Washington exhibition showcases contemporary art from the UAE

Washington exhibition showcases contemporary art from the UAE
Updated 16 sec ago

Washington exhibition showcases contemporary art from the UAE

Washington exhibition showcases contemporary art from the UAE
  • Highlights from ‘Between the Sky and the Earth,’ a show to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, which runs until March 31 at the Middle East Institute

Lamya Gargash — ‘The Court, The Indian Club’

“Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE,” scheduled to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE, is curated by Munira Al-Sayegh and hosted by the Washington-based Middle East Institute in partnership with the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery. It shows the work of 12 UAE-based artists and “challenges standard narratives about the Emirates through an intergenerational dialogue exploring their social, cultural and natural landscapes,” according to the MEI. Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash “documents the forgotten spaces in public and private realms in Emirati society.” This image is taken from her “Clubs” series. “Taking visual cues from interior decoration, theatre and museum exhibits, Gargash creates works that layer anxiety, nostalgia and restlessness,” her representatives The Third Line say of Gargash’s work.

Tarek Al-Ghoussein — ‘Island Making 2’

This shot is taken from Al-Ghoussein’s ongoing “Odysseus” series, which the Kuwaiti artist of Palestinian origin began in 2015. “One day I read an article explaining that the planning council was in the process of naming the 215 islands of Abu Dhabi. That was mind-blowing to me. I had no idea that Abu Dhabi had so many islands,” he told Arab News last year, talking about the series. “That article triggered my desire and imagination to go out and visit as many of (them) as I could in a spirit of discovery.”  In the series, according to the show catalogue, “Al-Ghoussein lingers on the traces of human presence, capturing images of places and objects that will soon cease to exist.”

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim — ‘Sapling’

Ibrahim — a founding member of the Emirates Fine Art Society in 1980 — was born in the small city of Khorfakkan, an exclave of Sharjah, and much of his work has been inspired by his relationship with his hometown. “His deep connection to his local environment is reflected in his practice, whether through his installations, drawings or objects,” the show catalogue says. Sculptures such as this one — made of cardboard, stone, copper wire, papier-mâché, and linen — “reflect the natural formations of his domestic landscape.”

Mohammed Kazem — ‘Windows’

Kazem is a significant figure in the ‘Second Generation’ of contemporary UAE artists. He has used a range of mediums in his work. In his recent “Windows” series, from which this painting is taken, he focuses on the fleeting, often-mundane nature of daily life for many of the UAE’s inhabitants. “Invisible and intimate events in the landscape … are witnessed by shadowy, retreating figures, reduced to mere traces,” the catalogue states. In 2019, Kazem told Arab News: “All of my work is really about what I’m seeing and what I’m thinking. It’s playful work. But it’s also serious. And ironic.”

Shaikha Al-Mazrou — ‘Untitled (Blue Chevron)’ 

The acclaimed Emirati sculptor’s work are, according to the show catalogue, “articulations of tension and the interplay between form and content.” This particular piece, made from wet coated steel, it continues, “is an example of her irreverent use of material and its apparent contradictions.”

Augustine Paredes — ‘Am I Driving Safely?’

The Dubai-based Filipino artist and photographer uses the series from which this image is taken to examine Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port, “capturing the transient lives of the truckers who transport goods to and from the port to destinations across the Arab world, providing a snapshot of the human face of globalization,” the show catalogue says.


REVIEW: ‘The Tale of Princess Fatima’ — excellent English adaptation of a thrilling Arab epic

REVIEW: ‘The Tale of Princess Fatima’ — excellent English adaptation of a thrilling Arab epic
Updated 15 min 6 sec ago

REVIEW: ‘The Tale of Princess Fatima’ — excellent English adaptation of a thrilling Arab epic

REVIEW: ‘The Tale of Princess Fatima’ — excellent English adaptation of a thrilling Arab epic

CHICAGO: According to its translator, Melanie Magidow, “The Tale of Princess Fatima, Warrior Woman: The Arabic Epic of Dhat Al-Himma” was originally printed in 1909 by a man named Ali Al-Maqanibi in Cairo. That version spans several volumes and thousands of pages of text, and it was reprinted in Beirut in 1980. It is the latter text from which Magidow selected a dozen stories to share — in English — with contemporary audiences in her recently published book.

Magidow stresses that her work is not a literal translation — however, the heart of her tale and the atmosphere it encapsulates is equally as electrifying as the original.

“Dhat Al-Himma” is, Magidow says, the only epic to be named after a woman. The tales are as captivating as they are complex, following events that begin at the end of the seventh century, with the fading power of the Umayyads and rise of the Abbasid Caliphate. The stories of the sword-wielding, spear-throwing, horse-riding, battle-hardened legend Princess Fatima (aka Dhat Al-Himma) thrill. The heroine’s adventures take her north from the Arabian Peninsula to the border of the Byzantine Empire.

Princess Fatima is born into a long line of leaders of the Bani Kilab tribe. However, her father Mazlum sees no value in girls, and when Fatima is abducted by the Bani Tayy — a rival tribe — Mazlum makes no attempt to rescue her.

With her captors, Fatima learns to ride a horse, to craft weapons and to fight, and wins the hearts of those around her with her ferocity and bravery. Eventually she finds her way home and becomes a hero of her tribe — despite patriarchal traditions.

Along the way Fatima encounters Byzantine emperors and Abbasid caliphs as Muslim and Christian armies compete for regional dominance and is caught up in fierce tribal wars. All the while she must protect herself from scheming tribe members who wish her ill.

This is a classic hero’s journey. Fatima sets out troubled by uncertainty but devotes herself to a higher purpose — service to God and to her tribe. Magidow’s translation is a fine introduction to a thrilling epic filled with fabulous characters and adventure.


Picasso heirs launch digital art piece to ride ‘crypto’ wave

Picasso heirs launch digital art piece to ride ‘crypto’ wave
Updated 27 January 2022

Picasso heirs launch digital art piece to ride ‘crypto’ wave

Picasso heirs launch digital art piece to ride ‘crypto’ wave
  • Picasso's granddaughter and her son opened up their apartment, which is swimming in works from their illustrious ancestor, in an upscale Geneva neighborhood
  • They're looking to cash in on and ride a wave of interest in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which have netted millions for far-less-known artists

GENEVA: Pablo, meet Crypto. Heirs of Pablo Picasso, the famed 20th-century Spanish artist, are vaulting into 21st-century commerce by selling 1,010 digital art pieces of one of his ceramic works that has never before been seen publicly — riding a fad for “crypto” assets that have taken the art and financial worlds by storm.
For an exclusive interview before the formal launch this week, Picasso’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso, and her son Florian Picasso opened up their apartment — which is swimming in works from their illustrious ancestor — in an upscale Geneva neighborhood. There they offered up a glimpse, however tantalizingly slim, of the piece behind what they’re billing as an unprecedented fusion of old-school fine art and digital assets.
They’re looking to cash in on and ride a wave of interest in non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which have netted millions for far-less-known artists and been criticized by some as environmentally costly get rich schemes.
A Picasso, his family’s promoters say, would mark the entry of a Grand Master into the game.
In economics jargon, a fungible token is an asset that can be exchanged on a one-for-one basis. Think of dollars or bitcoins — each one has the exact same value and can be traded freely. A non-fungible object, by contrast, has its own distinct value, like an old house or a classic car.
Cross this notion with cryptocurrency technology known as the blockchain and you get NFTs. They are effectively digital certificates of authenticity that can be attached to digital art or, well, pretty much anything else that comes in digital form — audio files, video clips, animated stickers, even a news article read online.
“We’re trying to build a bridge between the NFT world and the fine art world,” said Florian Picasso, the artist’s great-grandson.
The artist’s descendants are playing close to the vest, to drum up interest and protect — for now — a family heirloom. They’re showing only a sliver of the underside of the work linked to the NFTs, a ceramic piece about the size of a large salad bowl. The exposed parts show forms like a thick yellow line, a dribbling green splotch, and a brushed-on number “58” at the base.
Marina Picasso says the cherished pottery piece dates to October 1958, when she was a child.
“It’s a work that represents a face, and it’s very expressive,” she said. “It’s joyful, happy. It represents life ... It’s one of those objects that have been part of our life, our intimate lives — my life with my children.”
Cyril Noterman, a longtime manager for Florian Picasso, and Kathryn Frazier, a publicist for the project, told The Associated Press that Sotheby’s would host an auction in March that will include a unique NFT as well as the actual ceramic bowl.
But Matthew Floris, a spokesman for Sotheby’s, contacted the AP on Wednesday and said in a statement: “Sotheby’s has clarified that it will not be selling an NFT of a work by Pablo Picasso.”
Noterman and Frazier said a first-phase, online sale of more than 1,000 other NFTs starts Friday through the Nifty Gateway and Origin Protocol platforms.
Florian Picasso said they agreed on the colorful ceramic piece because it was “a fun one” to start.
An NFT Picasso brings with it almost epochal symbolism, something like when the Beatles collection was finally put up on iTunes. The family and its business managers say the aim is to create a younger community of Picasso fans.
“Everything is evolving,” said Florian Picasso, insisting that the NFT honors the great artist.
“I think it fits within Picasso’s legacies because we are paying tribute to him and his way of working, which was always being creative,” he said.
How quaint seem those days of yore when Picasso, as the legend has it, would simply doodle on a napkin as payment for a restaurant meal — his handiwork supposedly carrying a value far in excess of the cost of the food and drinks he had enjoyed.
Some of the proceeds will be donated — one portion to a charity that aims to help overcome a shortage of nurses, and another to a nongovernmental organization that wants to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The NFTs will also come with music put together by Florian Picasso, who is a DJ and music producer, along with songwriter John Legend and rapper Nas.
Even a full rendering of that track isn’t being publicly released just yet: Florian Picasso played a snippet for a reporter, then turned it off.
“And to hear more, you gotta purchase the NFT,” he quipped.


Saudi pavilion launches Coffee Week at Dubai’s Expo 2020

Saudi pavilion launches Coffee Week at Dubai’s Expo 2020
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi pavilion launches Coffee Week at Dubai’s Expo 2020

Saudi pavilion launches Coffee Week at Dubai’s Expo 2020

DUBAI: The Saudi pavilion at Dubai’s Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday launched Saudi Coffee Week, a five-day event to celebrate the country’s coffee culture.

Running until Jan. 29 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., the series features daily activities to inspire and educate visitors on the Kingdom’s coffee traditions that form an essential part of its culture. 

The event will also host two workshops at Sard Café to help guests learn the art of making Saudi coffee. (Supplied)

This includes showing casing a variety of coffee-making and brewing techniques, as well as tasting experiences.

The event will also host two workshops at Sard Café to help guests learn the art of making Saudi coffee.

The pavilion also features booths from Ethiopia, Colombia, Honduras, Panama, and Australia at the Open Square to familiarize visitors with traditions of other countries. 


Curator Maya Allison sheds light on the UAE’s color-filled pavilion at 2022 Venice Biennale

Curator Maya Allison sheds light on the UAE’s color-filled pavilion at 2022 Venice Biennale
Updated 26 January 2022

Curator Maya Allison sheds light on the UAE’s color-filled pavilion at 2022 Venice Biennale

Curator Maya Allison sheds light on the UAE’s color-filled pavilion at 2022 Venice Biennale

DUBAI: Nine years after the UAE gained its independence in 1971, the Emirates Fine Art Society was formed by the first generation of contemporary artists to pioneer cultural activities in the country. One of its experimental members is Emirati land artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, born in 1962, who will be the sole exhibiting artist at the Venice Biennale’s UAE pavilion in spring 2022.

“Between Sunrise and Sunset” is the title of the upcoming exhibition, which will reunite Ibrahim and Abu Dhabi-based curator Maya Allison in a fifth artistic collaboration. “He’s doing something that I really haven’t seen any other artist do,” Allison told Arab News. “He’s extremely rigorous in his practice as an artist. What looks like a very intuitive, childlike process has underneath it many years of reading and research and thinking about what the nature of art is.”

The exhibition is curator Maya Allison in a fifth artistic collaboration. Supplied

Opening April 23, the exhibition’s installation will take pavilion viewers through a visual journey of the artist’s human-sized and organic sculptural forms, made of paper mache and cardboard, transitioning from black and white to bright colors and vice-versa. It is inspired by Ibrahim’s personal experience of growing up in the Emirati port town of Khor Fakkan, where he encountered time and again a particular notion of light and color in the area’s rocky nature.

“He was born and raised in Khor Fakkan, which has Al-Hajar Mountains behind it,” explained Allison. “Those mountains block the sunset, so that when the sun rises over Khor Fakkan, it’s very colorful and bright. In the middle of the afternoon, the sun goes behind the mountains and there’s just a giant shadow cast across the town. You just move into shadow and the world starts to feel more black and white. That movement is what he’s kind of referring to what you’ll see in the exhibition: the movement from morning till afternoon is very dramatic.”

The installation will take pavilion viewers through a visual journey of the artist’s human-sized and organic sculptural forms. Supplied

Ibrahim is also known for his symbol-filled paintings, draped in vivid color. In his sculptural work, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to his use of colored material. “As a child, he would try to imagine what the sunset looked like from the other side of these mountains. Of course the sunset is very colorful, but he is not able to see it,” said Allison.

“This fascination with bright colors that you see in some of his work is in part related to this sense of depravation from the colors of sunset. I think it’s a very nice outcome — he made the colors that he was missing in that part of the day.”

This year’s iteration of the Venice Biennale is being held under the theme “The Milk of Dreams,” derived from a book by 20th century surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. “One of the core elements of the theme is metamorphosis and the human-landscape relationship. Those two elements are very crucial to his work,” said Allison. “His work is right in that intersection where I think of the moment where nature becomes culture.”