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
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Between Sunrise and Sunset. Supplied
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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.”


Dutch artist Satori headlines Riyadh desert event

DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds'
DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds' "Mars Escape" on Friday. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 15 May 2022

Dutch artist Satori headlines Riyadh desert event

DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds' "Mars Escape" on Friday. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • New wave of events featuring international lineup of artists and diverse activities catering to music lovers, weekend family entertainment in Riyadh

RIYADH: On Friday, a vibrant series of electronic house music bounced off the hills of the Riyadh desert at the NOX Camp Desert Resort, bringing together music, art and desert-sport lovers alike in a one-of-a-kind event.

The exclusive music and art event organizer, Desert Sound Entertainment, presented their premiere “Mars Escape” experience to the Saudi community, transporting about 1,000 attendees to another dimension made distinct by live art, festival makeup and fire performances.

The moon shone, setting up the atmosphere for the celestial night, the music ascended. Headlined by Satori, the international DJ lineup included the likes of Alaa Jazaery, Rafa, NarkBeat, and a surprise performance by local DJ Ibbie.

One. of. the Mars. Escape attendees enjoyed one of the many games and activities 'Mars Escape' had to offer. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

The 10-hour festival saw a distinctive blend of artists taking to the main stage. Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds. Alaa Jazaeri, founder of a similar music festival titled “Narratives,” slowed down the groove with an organic and soulful house music set, taking festival-goers on a mini-journey.

The diverse music echoing the valley of the desert culminated with Satori, a world-famous Dutch producer whose music focuses on spirituality and enlightenment. His set took off promptly at midnight and closed the event. His stop at Riyadh is part of his world tour this month with upcoming shows in Moscow, Stockholm and London.

HIGHLIGHT

Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds.

“I would not imagine from this side of the world that people would know me and connect with the music in this way, so it was really a big pleasure. I’ve been playing in this region of course already for a few years, if we speak about Dubai or Egypt, I played in Oman and Lebanon, but never in Saudi,” Satori said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Satori’s mellow sounds, crafted under the influence of the Japanese term “Satori,” cannot be narrowed down to a single genre, but rather a feeling. His music combines elements of self-exploration, earthy melodies, psychedelic tones and vivid energy. The crescendo of the piano, synthetic electronic beats and kalimba prompted a series of cheers as people danced. Almost every listener was rhythmically entranced, surrendering to the sound.

AN photo by Basheer Saleh

“For me it feels like I’m part of innovation. There’s something progressing and just to be part of that is really a great honor. It feels like we’re writing history and I’m kind of part of that chapter,” he said of his recent performance. “In the end, music is a universal language, people would connect to that or understand that even if they’re not used to these types of events. People will feel it.”

While primarily centered around the musical performances, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority-certified event also included an array of cultural activities such as art installations, graffiti sites and street art, virtual reality booths, games, and live catering. “We wanted to complete the music experience as a whole, connecting with nature and expressing through art and feeling with music,” assistant manager, Reema Al-Saud, told Arab News.

Event-goers were ready to indulge in the cultural aspect of the experience. “This is my first experience, and it gives a nice vibe,” said attendee Bha’a Mahdi. “I didn’t like that there wasn’t a big crowd. The place is very, very gorgeous. Incredible. It’s unreal. I liked the music, but was hoping the music would have more drops and highs. I felt united with the desert, I even removed my shoes,” he said.

Other members of the audience had similar comments. “The location is good, the vibe is nice. Just one thing: I wish there were more people,” said one attendee.

“The ground traps you. The sand doesn’t give you way to dance or walk,” said another attendee.

This international lineup and diverse activities come after a new wave of events that cater to those music-lovers, the latest being Freaks of Nature, bringing new meaning to weekend family entertainment ventures in Riyadh.


Shows, events canceled in the UAE for mourning period

Shows, events canceled in the UAE for mourning period
Updated 14 May 2022

Shows, events canceled in the UAE for mourning period

Shows, events canceled in the UAE for mourning period

DUBAI: Multiple cultural shows and events in the UAE, including Culture Summit Abu Dhabi and Dubai Comedy Festival, have been postponed following the death of the country’s president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. 

On Friday, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast from Friday, with work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days, starting Saturday. 

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi was scheduled to take place May 16-18 at Manarat Al-Saadiyat island. The Department of Culture and Tourism is yet to announce the new dates. 

Dubai Comedy Festival will reschedule its upcoming shows including Vir Das, Jo Koy, The Comedy Bizarre and The Laughter Factory till May 16. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mohamed Hamaki (@hamaki)

Kuwait, along with several other countries, also announced three days of mourning. Egyptian singer Mohamed Hamaki canceled his concert in Kuwait, which was scheduled to take place on May 13, in honor of the late president. 


6 celebrities mourn death of UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa 

6 celebrities mourn death of UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa 
Updated 14 May 2022

6 celebrities mourn death of UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa 

6 celebrities mourn death of UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa 

DUBAI: Messages of condolence poured in this weekend from Arab celebrities following news of the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the UAE. 

Hussain Al-Jassmi 

The Emirati singer shared a lengthy message on his social media in honor of Sheikh Khalifa, whom he referred to as his “father and leader.”

Ahlam Al-Shamsi 

The UAE music sensation paid tribute to the late president by sharing videos, pictures and Stories of him on Instagram. “Today, the UAE is sad and orphaned,” she wrote. 

Tamer Hosny

The Egyptian actor and pop singer took to social media to send his condolences to the people of the UAE and to the royal family.

Najwa Karam 

The Lebanese singer’s message referred to the late president as “a leader in the true sense with compassionate hands and good ideas.” 

Mona Zaki 

The Egyptian actress took to Instagram to offer her condolences to the country’s people. She also shared President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s message, in which he said that he “mourns one of the most precious men and one of the greatest leaders.”

Elissa 

“A visionary man…History will remember him, the man with compassionate hands and a bright history,” wrote the Lebanese singer on Twitter.


Trevor Noah to attend latest edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

Trevor Noah to attend latest edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi
Updated 13 May 2022

Trevor Noah to attend latest edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

Trevor Noah to attend latest edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: South African comedian and TV host Trevor Noah is set to speak at the fifth edition of the Culture Summit in the UAE.

The Emmy award-winning host will take part in a keynote conversation on May 16, which will follow the event’s theme, “A Living Culture.”

Unlike last year’s virtual forum, this year’s summit — organized by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi — is an in-person event open to the public by invitation only in Manarat Al-Saadiyat.

It brings together pioneers of art, media, technology, and culture from more than 90 countries to generate new strategies, and identify ways in which culture can transform societies, as well as communities.

The three-day event will examine modern issues causing changes in world culture and creative industries, including the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.


Saudi artist Hawazin Al-Otaibi presents her work at London Gallery Weekend

Saudi artist Hawazin Al-Otaibi presents her work at London Gallery Weekend
Updated 13 May 2022

Saudi artist Hawazin Al-Otaibi presents her work at London Gallery Weekend

Saudi artist Hawazin Al-Otaibi presents her work at London Gallery Weekend

DUBAI: Saudi artist Hawazin Al-Otaibi is showcasing her work this week at London Gallery Weekend from May 13-15.

The free three-day event, in its second edition, hosts galleries from around the world to provide visitors with an opportunity to discover and explore London’s world-class art scene and celebrate the city’s diverse cultural and creative communities. 

Al-Otaibi is hosting a solo show, titled “Soft Whispers,” that features new works from her painting series “Softboi.” 

Her colorful imagery plays with ironic, non-conforming representations of masculinity in the Arab world. 

The painter draws her references from early childhood memories of Saudi cultural and religious books on femininity, as well as the symbolism associated with female purity, beauty, chastity and vulnerability. 

Curated by Lucia Rios Gonzalez, the exhibition will take the form of a site-specific installation. 

Besides Al-Otaibi, London Gallery Weekend presents work from artists from across the region Middle East and North Africa, including Nour Jaouda from Libya, Nour El-Saleh from Lebanon, Rachid Koraïchi from Algeria, Laila Tara from Iran and Ghada Amer and Iman Issa from Egypt.