Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival celebrates 10 years with a journey into the past and future of the UAE

Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival celebrates 10 years with a journey into the past and future of the UAE
The festival’s 10th edition runs until March 31. Supplied
Short Url
Updated 08 February 2022

Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival celebrates 10 years with a journey into the past and future of the UAE

Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival celebrates 10 years with a journey into the past and future of the UAE

DUBAI: Ten years ago, about 20 artists and curators in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah conceived the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, relying solely on contributions and volunteer support to showcase the fledgling arts and culture scene in the emirate. A decade later, the festival, nestled in and around the preserved coral stone and mud houses, marketplace and fort of the historic pearling village of Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra, has morphed into a two-month-long collaborative space with a display of more than 150 artworks from over 45 countries, walking tours, workshops and activities.

Titled “The Journey,” the festival’s 10th edition, which runs until March 31, pays homage to the enduring efforts by creatives in the country to develop a platform for cultural exchange and artistic development while also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UAE.

Lining the sandy walkways and structures of the venue, the large-scale photographs and art printed on weather-resistant material and interactive installations and sculptures delve into their creators’ interpretations of ancestry, migration, national identity and personal growth. They also chronicle the transformation of the Emirates from Bedouin tribes and the founding of the Trucial States to the melting pot of cultures and technology that it is today.




The festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of the UAE. Supplied

“As one of the founding members of the festival, I remember a time when we had to rely on donations and volunteers for the event. When we set up a website for the festival, no one knew where Ras Al-Khaimah was. Ten years later, with the rapid development in the emirate, we have artists from all over the world exhibiting at the festival now. The destination that we are at today, both as a country that is constantly seeking to preserve its culture and heritage and as a festival that has made its mark on the international art scene, is befitting the journey,” Suqrat bin Bisher, festival director, told Arab News.

Visitors to this year’s festival will, for the first time, be able to access an additional 1-km stretch of the older part of the village to experience curated exhibitions with artworks from citizens, residents, and regional and international artists. There are also displays from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the US Mission to the UAE and the NYUAD Art Gallery. The festival has also partnered for the first time with Cinema Akil, Gulf Photo Plus and Warehouse421 for a diverse program.

Arresting images portraying the UAE’s people, heritage and landscape by the festival’s featured artist Yousef Al-Zaabi greet festivalgoers as they enter the fort. The self-taught Emirati photographer from Ras Al-Khaimah says this exhibition is an opportunity for him to share his journey of identity with the world.

“My photos are a window to the past and the future. I’ve photographed all over the UAE, in Ras Al-Khaimah, Liwa, Dubai and Hatta, in an attempt to capture moments that authentically illustrate the country and its people. Every photo tells a different story of the UAE and I want visitors to uncover these stories with me,” said the founder and president of the Emirates Falcons Photography Society and vice president of the Union of Arab Photographers.

The award-winning photographer, whose work was also featured on the cover of National Geographic Arabia, believes the festival plays a critical role in fostering cross-culture dialogue.

“There’s a lot to learn from the experiences of the artists who attend and showcase at the festival. It’s a platform for knowledge-sharing that nourishes and strengthens the UAE’s arts and culture scene.”




Striking black and white composite portrait of several generations of Emiratis in Filipino photographer Mario Cardenas’ “Emirates Legacy” series. Supplied

Other Emirati artists presenting at this year’s festival include Abdullah Lutfi, depicting the UAE’s skyline and landscapes in his distinct black and white drawings; Medyyah Al-Tamimi, who captures the everyday bustle of the city in photographs and writings; and filmmaker Sara Al-Hashimi with her thought-provoking documentaries on the region.

Equally telling photographs of the Emirates by residents, such as the striking black and white composite portrait of several generations of Emiratis in Filipino photographer Mario Cardenas’ “Emirates Legacy” series, offer a rare perspective of self-discovery among the national population.

The Al-Qasimi Foundation’s special exhibition “Travel in COVID,” curated by the festival's director - bin Bisher, Azza Al-Nuaimi and Ji Young Kim and displayed across three houses in the village, is a comment on the shared experience of humanity in challenging times. The exhibition features imagery of canceled visas, postcards exchanged during global lockdowns and drawings of solitary moments that led to heightened creativity during the pandemic. “Longing Be-longing,” curated by independent art curator Sharon Total from Tel Aviv, explores the influences of post-orientalism in Israeli contemporary art.

The festival extends beyond the heritage village with two satellite exhibition sites at the UAE’s highest peak, Jebal Jais, and Al-Marjan Island’s Open Park. The line-up also includes workshops, tours, entertainment and activities that will take place every weekend until the end of the festival.


Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes

Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
  • Hollywood director Brett Ratner reveals plans to visit Saudi Arabia to scout for shoot locations

CANNES: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez visited the Kingdom’s pavilion during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, to show his support for the burgeoning Saudi film industry.

“Our role is to support the sector with everyone in it. God willing, we will see success soon. Thank you everyone and I wish you a happy opportunity,” he said to a crowd of Saudi and international actors as well as filmmakers who had gathered at the pavilion.

The deputy minister was accompanied by Red Sea Film Festival Foundation CEO Mohammed Al-Turki, Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf and US director Brett Ratner, the face behind such hits as the “Rush Hour” film series and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Ratner also produced the “Horrible Bosses” film series, “The Revenant” and “War Dogs.”

The deputy minister praised the work being done by Saudi creatives in the Kingdom and their contribution to the expanding industry, before touring the pavilion and meeting with select industry professionals.

Following his tour, Fayez addressed the press and Saudi creatives directly, saying: “You will have a brilliant future and we are ready, present and supportive of you.

“With regional programs that will come together, there will be great opportunities for filmmakers, actors, actors and actresses,” he added.

For his part, Ratner teased a big announcement, before saying that the details were being kept under wraps.

However, he did reveal plans to visit Saudi Arabia in order to scout for shoot locations.

“I am very excited to come to your beautiful country to film. I am going to come next week with his royal highness and friends and I am going to scout the whole country,” the producer said.

“The film is going to be unbelievable. We will be able to create a big buzz,” he added.

 


Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco
Updated 24 May 2022

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco

DUBAI: Parisian luxury label Saint Laurent is reportedly set to present its spring 2023 menswear collection in Marrakesh on July 15, according to multiple reports.

Morocco was a great source of inspiration to the late Yves Saint Laurent, and a museum dedicated to the famed fashion designer was even unveiled in Marrakesh in 2017.

The legendary couturier purchased a villa in the Moroccan city in the mid-1960s and two decades later purchased the spectacular Majorelle Gardens to save it from destruction. A mausoleum was built for the designer at the site after his death in 2008.

His years there inspired many of his collections and continue to influence the storied house that bears his name.

Although it will be the first physical show that Saint Laurent will stage in the North African country, it isn’t the first time that the brand has showcased one of its collections in Morocco.

In 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and when all brands shifted to the digital world, artistic, creative and image director of Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello unveiled a 10-minute-long video for the spring 2021 ready-to-wear line with models seen walking on dunes in the Moroccan desert in lieu of a runway.

The men’s show in Marrakech will coincide with an exhibition focused on Saint Laurent’s longstanding relationship with Morocco. Entitled “Love,” the exhibition will run from June 5-Oct. 31 at Palácio Duques de Cadaval in Évora, Portugal.

 


Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival
Updated 24 May 2022

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival

DUBAI: Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman jetted to Cannes this week to attend the 75th edition of the city’s renowned film festival. 

Besides walking the red carpet and attending film premieres, the singer and songwriter was spotted at the Saudi pavilion where he was welcomed with Saudi coffee. 

“Taking pride in the Kingdom’s legacy of generosity, Saudi coffee is being prepared at the Cannes Film Festival,” the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia shared on Twitter, adding images of Rahman at the Saudi pavilion. 

Saudi coffee is heavily associated with generational hospitality and generosity, providing a close connection to the country’s customs and traditions.

In January, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the commercial name of Arabic coffee will be officially changed to Saudi coffee in the Kingdom’s restaurants, cafes, stores and roasters. 

The announcement, by ministry spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, is in conjunction with a Culture Ministry initiative in naming 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee” as a way to strengthen the identity and culture of Saudi Arabia.

The record producer was spotted on the red carpet during Cannes Film Festival  opening ceremony. He attended the premiere of French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius’s zombie comedy “Final Cut (Coupez!)”


Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’
Updated 24 May 2022

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

Gigi Hadid begins filming second season of Netflix show ‘Next in Fashion’

DUBAI: Part-Palestinian catwalk star Gigi Hadid has begun filming the second season of Netflix’s “Next in Fashion” alongside British TV personality Tan France, nearly five months after the model revealed her exciting new role to fans.

Ahead of the new season, which does not have a release date, Hadid took to Instagram to share her excitement over the forthcoming episodes and gush about her co-host, calling the British reality television star her “brother” and stating that shooting the new show together has been “a joy of my life.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

The 27-year-old posted a carousel of photos on Instagram, which included a snap of her posing with France and reading the “Next in Fashion” script.

“Can’t believe we’re almost a month into making a new season of @nextinfashion. Want to say, with only a couple weeks left, that shooting this show alongside my brother @tanfrance has been a joy of my life,” the US-Dutch-Palestinian model captioned the post. “I can’t wait for you all to meet these designers — an amazing, talented, sweet, cool, deserving group of humans and for them to share themselves and their creations with the world! We have so much in store for you,” she added.

The first season of the fashion competition show, which premiered in January 2020, featured 18 designers who faced weekly design challenges to win a $250,000 prize and a chance to have their collection sold on Net-a-Porter.

France also recently lauded his “Next in Fashion” co-host and dubbed her an “amazing mom.”

In a conversation with Us Weekly, the host said he has received many parenting tips from the supermodel, who welcomed a baby girl with former One Direction star Zayn Malik, in 2020.

He told the publication: “She’s one of my closest friends. I love her so much.

“It makes the show really, really fun,” added France. “It’s probably the best time I’ve ever had on a show.”

The 39-year-old continued: “She’s an amazing mom. I’ve gotten so many tips from her,” adding that he “of course” has met her daughter Khai.


‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon
Updated 24 May 2022

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

‘A Perfect Pairing’: Netflix hitches its hopes to the romance wagon

CHENNAI: Netflix is once again dabbling in the romance genre with Stuart MacDonald’s “A Perfect Pairing.” Whether it’s simply the season of love or a bid to counteract a series of blows — a landslide loss of subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, for example — this rom-com does not quite get the heart racing as Netflix execs may have hoped it would.

The classic love story has all the touchpoints of a Mills and Boon book, with its ruggedly dashing heroes and attractive damsels in distress, but besides some instances of beautiful cinematography there is nothing to make this film stand out.

To be fair, Lola Alvarez (played by a feisty Victoria Justice) has a mind of her own and is no forlorn Mills and Boon heroine, although she is in a state of distress. She will not tolerate nonsense, even from her boss at a cutthroat Los Angeles-based drinks importer. When her best friend at work steals a major client, Lola quits, deciding to open her own company. She decides to visit a famed beverage manufacturer in Queensland, Australia, where she tries to win over the owner, Hazel Vaughn (Samantha Cain), by working on her farm. There she bonds with the mysterious and handsome Max (Adam Demos), who has his secrets — for this wouldn’t be a true romance story without a little heartbreak.

This rom-com does not quite get the heart racing as Netflix execs may have hoped it would. Supplied

A corporate woman, the film does feature some light-hearted moments when Lola finds herself dealing with the grime of the farm. Some of the incidents are witty, like her bonding with a sheep, nicknamed Baarbra, others a bit juvenile. Her clumsy acts can be seen as irritating, but the gradual attraction between Max and Lola is breezy and Demo’s performance is enjoyable to watch.

Some visually exciting sequences add to their romance — for instance in the taproom, where the farm staff tap their legs and dance around to “Are You Going To Be My Girl.” Equally vibrant is the sheep-shearing scene against the backdrop of Ben Nott's cinematography, which captures the lush landscape and local wildlife — a baby kangaroo hops into the screen in a delightful distraction to the tension which begins to simmer as the plot winds to a climax.

It's a comfort watch for a weekday night in, with a predictable end and all the hallmarks of a made-for-TV rom-com, but sometimes that’s just the ticket.