Hayy Jameel’s opening show explores the politics of food in Jeddah

An installation by Sancintya Mohini Simpson titled ‘Jahajin’ (2021) exploring gender issues in agricultural production. (Supplied)
An installation by Sancintya Mohini Simpson titled ‘Jahajin’ (2021) exploring gender issues in agricultural production. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 December 2021

Hayy Jameel’s opening show explores the politics of food in Jeddah

An installation by Sancintya Mohini Simpson titled ‘Jahajin’ (2021) exploring gender issues in agricultural production. (Supplied)
  • As guests enter the structure they can smell the alluring concoction of spices, cardamon and earth while listening to the woman’s captivating voice singing the Bhojpuri folk song of Simpson’s mother

JEDDAH: The inaugural exhibition at the new Hayy Jameel multidisciplinary arts complex in Jeddah explores how the food we eat is connected to ecology, personal and collective memory and a certain time and place.
The show — Staple: What’s on Your Plate? — presents works by artists not just from the Kingdom, but also from DRC, Germany, Thailand, India, Spain, Lebanon, the Russian Federation, UAE and Bangladesh, reflecting Jeddah’s diverse demographic.
“Staple is an international exhibition that represents Jeddah’s history,” said Rahul Gudipudi, Exhibitions Curator at Art Jameel, which set up the center. “Jeddah is a port city that through centuries of trade, cultural exchange and pilgrimage has a truly diverse community. In many ways this exhibition reflects this dialogue with the world that Jeddah has had for centuries.”
“We staged the show in collaboration with the Delfina Foundation and it asks very simple yet urgent questions such as how the choices we make with our food impact the world and our societies,” Gudipudi told Arab News.




‘Ghost Agriculture’ (2018) a hand-stitched Egyptian cotton textile by Asunción Molinos Gordo. (Supplied)

On the second floor, the gentle sounds of an Indian woman singing can be heard from a life-size corrugated iron structure, the work of Indian artist Sancintya Mohini Simpson. titled “Jahajin,” it recalls the houses occupied by indentured female laborers taken from India to Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa) in the early 20th century to work on sugar plantations. As guests enter the structure they can smell the alluring concoction of spices, cardamon and earth while listening to the woman’s captivating voice singing the Bhojpuri folk song of Simpson’s mother. Inside is a film showcasing the seemingly endless fields of plantations.
Simpson uses her work to reflect on the experience of her maternal ancestors and the stories she found through archival research on female plantation workers.

FASTFACT

The show presents works by artists not just from the Kingdom, but also from DRC, Germany, Thailand, India, Spain, Lebanon, the Russian Federation, UAE and Bangladesh, reflecting Jeddah’s diverse demographic.

As Simpson’s work demonstrates, gender issues permeate all aspects of agriculture. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, women constitute 47 percent of those engaged in agriculture.
“Africa Empty Europe Full Up” (2021) is a group of heads and one full body figure that at first glance look as though they are bronze. On closer examination we see they have been made from chocolate.
The sculptures are the work of Cercle d’art des travailleurs de plantation Congolaise, an arts collective based in Lusanga, DRC, composed of former palm oil and plantation workers. Since they are unable to afford to live off the wages they receive from their work, they use material sourced from cacao to create their artworks. The works they create are made in a collaborative setting and the materials used to recall and overwrite the exploitative economics of global trade.




‘Africa Empty Europe Full up’ (2021), sculptures made in chocolate by DRC arts collective Cercle d'art des travailleurs de plantation Congolaise (CATPC).

CATPC presents a new model. While in the West we see how plantation labor has historically funded the art world via donations, here art is funding a new form of post-plantation trade whereby the group reinvests the profits from sales of their artworks into self-owned agricultural production in the DRC.
Works such as these prompt a reflection on the centuries of global trade and colonialism that have led to the world’s current predicament.
On the ground floor of the center more colorful works come into view, the most prominent being an installation by Saudi design studios Bricklab and Misht Studio called “Absent Dinner” (2021). The large-scale mixed media installation incorporates 100 percent cotton muslin hanging from the ceiling colored with dyes made from turmeric, Galangal, nutmeg and fennel seeds. Brightly colored casts of a cooked Jawi meal from South and West Asia stand on a series of white winding pedestals.
A simple meal, the Akil Jawi, stands as a testament to the once seamless integration into the Hejazi community. Today, the artists say, the diversity of Hejazi society is increasingly marginalized due to globalization. That diversity dates back hundreds of years as workers from Africa, Java, Central and South Asia settled in city centers in the Hejaz for trade, education and religion, and their cultural influences can still be found in these areas today.

Nearby are multimedia works by Saudi artist Mohammed Alfraji. His Jasb ‘Al’aesh (2021) features projections on found pieces of tree trunks. Alfraji explores the food practices of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa region in the eastern province, which is known for its agricultural abundance. His poetic video installation presents the region’s various food practices, from cooking, planting and planting to agricultural policies, as well as food’s connection to family heritage.

 


Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up
Updated 14 August 2022

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi pulls off stellar summer with Beyonce video, Greece pop up

DUBAI: From accessorizing US singer Beyonce in her latest music video to opening a pop-up installation in Mykonos, the Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi has been making headlines with her latest work. 

This week, Beyonce released a teaser for her song “I’m That Girl,” the opening track in her latest album “Renaissance.”

In the 3-minute video clip, the US superstar wears fishnet stockings from Muaddi’s 2021 collaboration with Austrian brand Wolford.

Beyonce wore fishnet stockings from the Amina Muaddi x Wolford collection. (YouTube)

The Amina Muaddi x Wolford collection featured form-fitting tights and leggings, alongside bodysuits, dresses and a sinewy catsuit with built-in heels that are meant to hug the body like a glove. The designers opted for latex, lace, viscose jersey and sustainable leather in the offering. 

One of the labels Beyonce championed in her music video is luxury fashion house Alaia, which was founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaia.

She also wore pieces from renowned labels such as Burberry, Mugler, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and many more. 

Meanwhile, Muaddi, the designer to the stars, gave her 1.3 million Instagram followers a look into her pop-up installation in Mykonos. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

She shared images of the display and wrote: “If you’re in Mykonos this Summer, stop by our pop-up installation at my favorite shop @luisaworld in Nammos Village, Psarou Beach. Drop 2/22 available in store.”

Last week, the footwear designer released a new campaign for her latest collection titled “Drop 2/22,” which starred Egyptian Moroccan model Imaan Hammam and celebrated her Arab roots. 

The short clips, shared on Muaddi and Hammam’s Instagram accounts, were shot in Cairo. 

The footage was captured by British Egyptian filmmaker and photographer Dexter Navy and featured Hammam in multiple scenarios, including standing alongside a white Arabian horse and posing atop intricately woven rugs.

She posed for pictures alongside women and men wearing traditional outfits and head and face covers decorated with jewelry. 

Muaddi’s offerings feature strappy square stilettos, satin pointed-toe pumps and transparent platforms that are embellished with the designer’s iconic sparkly detailing. 

The collection not only features the designer’s glitzy creations, but also her expanded handbag and jewelry collection.


Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022
Updated 13 August 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

Egyptian star Mai Omar is first judge for Miss Universe Bahrain 2022

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Mai Omar has been announced as the first judge for the Miss Universe Bahrain 2022 contest. The superstar announced the news in an Instagram post, along with the official Miss Universe Bahrain account.

“I am so thrilled to be a part of this historical project and I believe in this platform that empowers women, encourages young individuals to voice out their advocacies and at the same time have an amazing experience sharing their wonderful and inspirational stories with the world,” Omar said.

The new Miss Universe Bahrain will be revealed to the public during the show’s broadcast on Sept. 11, two weeks after she is crowned on Aug. 26.

Nadeem Deyani, who made history last year by being the first woman from the country to participate in the global pageant, will crown her successor at a gala event, the location for which has not yet been revealed.


Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary
Updated 13 August 2022

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary

Egyptian musician Ali Loka gets his own Spotify mini-documentary
  • ‘I still carry the same attitude and work ethic. I never tire of this process,’ viral music star tells Arab News

DUBAI: For Egyptian singer-songwriter Ali Loka, music is about telling personal stories. As Spotify’s latest RADAR ARABIA artist, he now has the opportunity to tell those stories to a wider audience through his own mini documentary.

“I don’t sing about anything that I didn’t go through, feel very deeply or have seen someone close to me live through,” said Loka in an interview with Arab News.

“If you listen deeply and want to know more about me, you’ll hear everything that has to do with me, all my personal stories and everything that’s happening in my life. All the small intimate details that I cannot talk about face to face are in my music. Music is how I can express everything that’s happening to me.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ali Loka (@aly_louka)

The music streaming platform worked with Loka to release a mini-documentary, where fans can follow Loka around Cairo, from the stage to downtown to Giza, to get an intimate look at his journey from starting as a solo artist to joining a band and then going solo again.

The film also looks into Loka’s viral track “Matkhafeesh Yamma,” which dropped in November 2021, taking the singer-songwriter to new levels of stardom. The song is currently the most-streamed Egyptian song outside of Egypt on the platform, with 73 percent of its Spotify streams coming from non-Egyptian markets.

But the song’s success can be attributed to Loka’s dedication to his art and a prolific work ethic.

“Before ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’s’ release, there was a lot of work in the making. ‘Matkhafeesh Yamma’ was released in November 2021 and before that, my team and I had released about 20 tracks. Since 2020, we have released around 30 tracks. The inspiration for the track came from within. It was the feeling I was going through and felt the need to say out loud,” said Loka.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ali Loka (@aly_louka)

One of his bigger musical dreams is to perform in front of the pyramids in Cairo. “And not just in the area but right in front of Khofu, the biggest of the pyramids. I want the pyramids to be distinctive in the background, not too far away,” said Loka.

About his future plans, Loka said: “I have some releases coming and tracks that I am working on. This time, they are even more organized than before. It is the same working process that I have been following all my life. I still carry the same attitude and work ethic. I never tire of this process. I am also shooting a music video to get released in August.”


Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods
Updated 12 August 2022

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

Honayda to be first Saudi label on display at luxury London store Harrods

DUBAI: Saudi fashion label Honayda will become the first designer from the Kingdom to be displayed at luxury London department store Harrods. 

The womenswear brand, known for its strong roots in Saudi culture and led by creative director Honayda Serafi, will go on display at the store from Aug. 22.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

“Proudly announcing that Honayda’s latest collection is now showcased at one of the world’s most iconic department stores, Harrods. A curated selection of exclusive pieces will be available on the eveningwear floor, inaugurating the first Saudi fashion designer in store,” read a post on Honayda’s official Instagram page.

A curated selection of exclusive pieces from Honayda’s “A charm from Afghan” collection will feature in the eveningwear section of Harrods, located on the first floor.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

The brand has made waves regionally and internationally, including with celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lupita Nyong’o, Ashanti and Eve, who have worn the brand at major events around the world.
 


Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour
Updated 14 August 2022

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

Renowned Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS to visit UAE, Egypt on farewell tour

DUBAI: Popular Croatian cello duo 2CELLOS, made up of Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, are ready to hang up their bows, but not before a farewell world tour that will include the Middle East this year.

“The Dedicated Tour” is headed to Hurghada, Egypt, on Nov. 18 and in Dubai the following day as part of the tour.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 2CELLOS (@2cellosofficial)

The two musicians have already performed sellout shows in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria.

2CELLOS play instrumental arrangements of pop and rock hits, as well as classical and film music, and have featured on US television series, including “Glee” and “The Bachelor.”

The duo rose to fame in 2011 after their cover of “Smooth Criminal” became a YouTube hit, receiving over 3 million views in the first two weeks. Their debut eponymous album was released in 2011, with covers of songs by rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, Nirvana, Muse and Kings of Leon.