Lebanese photographer Michel Zoghzoghi supports cancer patients with latest show

Lebanese photographer Michel Zoghzoghi supports cancer patients with latest show
Zoghzoghi has been traveling the world for more than 15 years. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 April 2022

Lebanese photographer Michel Zoghzoghi supports cancer patients with latest show

Lebanese photographer Michel Zoghzoghi supports cancer patients with latest show
  • In ‘Other Nations: A Journey Through Threatened Kingdoms,’ the Lebanese photographer highlights endangered species

BEIRUT: From the polar bears of the Arctic to the tigers of India, few animals have escaped the eagle eye of Lebanese photographer Michel Zoghzoghi.

Zoghzoghi has been traveling the world for more than 15 years chronicling its natural beauty and highlighting endangered species. His latest exhibition, “Other Nations: A Journey Through Threatened Kingdoms,” which was hosted by the Dar El-Nimer gallery in Beirut earlier this month, carried a double appeal, though. Through the show, Zoghzoghi raised funds for the American University of Beirut Medical Center to help cancer patients in Lebanon.

Zoghzoghi’s work highlights the perfect balance of nature, and shows us what we are in danger of losing. “I want to show how beautiful predatory animals are and how extraordinary the nature in which they live is,” he told Arab News. “But my aim is also to send out a warning that all the species represented are endangered and that many are on the brink of extinction.

Zoghzoghi’s work highlights the perfect balance of nature. (Supplied)

“Today the uncontrolled development of modern civilizations has called everything into question. Man has become the alpha predator, but unlike other predators he has not kept (nature in) balance and is threatening himself.”

The exhibition includes photographs taken over the past 12 years in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Norway, the US, Canada, Dubai and Brazil.

The photographer refers to his expeditions as “missions,” adding that the journeys can be “far from easy,” and explaining that he often spends hours concealed in hides while waiting for an animal — sometimes to no avail.

“I traveled to the border of Pakistan and India to immortalize the snow leopard and I failed. I also remember taking a trip to South Africa to see sharks, and — no photos,” he said.

The title of the exhibition was inspired by US author and naturalist Henry Beston’s 1928 book “The Outermost House,” in which he wrote: “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals … They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

Here, Zoghzoghi discusses some images from the exhibition.

‘Kaboso’

 I was in the Masai Mara last November. It was empty, as many visitors had cancelled due to COVID. We left camp by 5:15 a.m. and we had been driving for half an hour when we spotted Kaboso, a beautiful female leopard. She was very relaxed as there were no other vehicles. I asked (the driver) to stop in a little ditch in order to be at eye level with her. By the time he’d stopped, she was almost upon us. I took the shot and she disappeared in the bushes.

‘Prey’

This was taken in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park in 2011. We had been looking for a young male tiger that had been sighted in the area the evening before. When we finally found him, he was up on a hill looking at us through the bush. We positioned the car a bit lower on the hill as I wanted to be at eye level and I took the shot focusing on his eyes.

‘Just Around the Corner’ 

I have a few unforgettable wildlife moments. This encounter with a serval was definitely one of them. It was toward the end of my trip to the Mara in November. As we were making our way back to camp one evening, I decided to stop and stretch my legs after a long day in the vehicle. The temperature was ideal and I felt like staying out a bit more. As I was enjoying the cool breeze, I noticed a serval looking at us as he was walking towards the mud road. He seemed totally relaxed. I quickly grabbed my camera with a 500mm lens and laid flat in the mud hoping to get a low angle photo as he was crossing the mud road. He stopped on the road, looked in my direction and then started walking toward me. He stopped a few times, even groomed for a bit. When he decided he’d done enough checking me out he just left the road and disappeared in the savanna. The light was low, the air was cool, the mood was peaceful.

‘Ice Bear’

We left Longyearbyen in Norway on the M/S Origo on March 15, 2019, in the middle of a snow storm and headed north along the western coast of Svalbard. Early one afternoon as we were making our way through a beautiful fjord we spotted a bear sleeping in the snow. We immediately got into the zodiac and headed his way. After a freezing two-hour wait, he finally decided to come our way and started to walk along the ice edge. He disappeared behind an ice mound and as he appeared again on top of the mound, I took the shot.

‘The Magical Realm’ 

I was in Pantanal, Brazil, in September 2016. We reached Corixo Negro, off the Cuiaba River, before sunrise. The mist was very thick — giving this eerie yet magical atmosphere. As the first colors of the sun were starting to faintly appear I saw a heron sitting peacefully on the side of the river. He suddenly flew and I took the shot. A few seconds later the sun rose and the mist turned suddenly red before disappearing.


Beluga whale lost in French river euthanized during rescue

Beluga whale lost in French river euthanized during rescue
Updated 59 min 50 sec ago

Beluga whale lost in French river euthanized during rescue

Beluga whale lost in French river euthanized during rescue
  • A team of 80 people tried to save the animal’s life by transporting the cetaceous into a refrigerated truck to the port in Ouistreham, in Normandy region.

PARIS: A beluga whale that became a French celebrity after a wrong turn took it up the Seine River had to be euthanized Wednesday after experiencing health complications during an urgent rescue operation, authorities said.
The sparkling white marine mammal appeared deep inside France last week, having accidentally veered off the normal ocean migration route that takes belugas to and from Arctic waters.
Fearing the malnourished creature would not survive in the Seine much longer, a wildlife conservation group and veterinarians planned to move the lost whale to a saltwater port in Normandy, from where they hoped to return it to the open sea.
A team of 80 people assembled to try to save the animal’s life, and it was successfully moved Tuesday night from a river lock in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, west of Paris, into a refrigerated truck for the 60-kilometer (99-mile) journey to the port in Ouistreham.
But during the drive, the 4-meter-long (13-foot-long) whale started to breath with difficulty, according to Florence Ollivet Courtois, a French veterinarian who worked on the rescue operation.
“During the journey, the veterinarians confirmed a worsening of its state, notably in its respiratory activities, and at the same time noticed the animal was in pain, not breathing enough,” Courtois said.
“The suffering was obvious for the animal, so it was important to release its tension, and so we had to proceed to euthanize it,” she added.
Environmentalists had acknowledged the plan to move the beluga risked fatally stressing the mammal. But marine conservation group Sea Shepherd said that it couldn’t have survived much longer in the Seine’s fresh water.
The group and veterinarians noted the whale had responded to a cocktail of antibiotics and vitamins over the last few days, making them hopeful it would recover once it was back in a saltwater environment.
A necropsy is planned on the whale, which weighed about about 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds).
Rescuers had hoped to spare the whale the fate of an orca that strayed into the Seine and died in May. In 2006, a bottlenose whale — nicknamed “Willy” — swam up the Thames River as far as London and died during a its attempted rescue.
Another complicating factor during the beluga’s rescue attempt was the extreme heat gripping France. Authorities tried to keep it cool and wet with soaked towels and moved it at nightfall when temperatures are at their lowest.
The sad end to a saga that gripped France in recent days came after experts determined the whale “was too weakened to be put back into water,” Guillaume Lericolais, the sub-prefect of France’s Calvados region, said.
Rescuers tried to feed the whale fish without success since Friday. Sea Shepherd France said veterinary exams after the beluga’s removal from the river showed it has no digestive activity.


Palestinian-American comedian Mo Amer releases trailer for Netflix’s ‘Mo’ 

Palestinian-American comedian Mo Amer releases trailer for Netflix’s ‘Mo’ 
Updated 10 August 2022

Palestinian-American comedian Mo Amer releases trailer for Netflix’s ‘Mo’ 

Palestinian-American comedian Mo Amer releases trailer for Netflix’s ‘Mo’ 

DUBAI: Palestinian-American comedian Mo Amer released on Tuesday the trailer to his upcoming Netflix show “Mo.” 

The eight-episode series, which will be released on Aug. 24, centers on a Palestinian immigrant family living in Houston, Texas. It follows Mo Najjar, played by Amer, who straddles the line between two cultures, three languages and a pending asylum request, all while hustling to support his family, which includes his mother, sister and older brother. 

Jordanian-Kuwaiti-Palestinian actress Farah Bsieso stars as Mo’s mother Yusra Najjar, while Egyptian-American actor Omar Elba portrays Sameer Najjar, Mo’s older brother, who has social anxiety. 

Rapper Tobe Nwigwe plays Nick, Mo’s oldest, most loyal friend and Mexican-American actress Teresa Ruiz stars as Mo’s girlfriend Maria. 

Amer also serves as executive producer in the series, along with his “Ramy” co-star and friend Egyptian-American Golden Globe-winner Ramy Youssef, who also appears in the show. 

In December, Amer told Arab News that he is at a point in his career where he is able to share his stories with a wider audience than ever before through an artistic medium that allows viewers to experience both his perspective and that of the Palestinian people in an intimate way.

“That’s why I think the art of stand-up is so liberating. It’s never been about the money,” he said. “Making money is great, and I want to make what I can, but it’s about telling great stories. I’m less concerned about money, and more concerned about punching above my weight. Creating a masterpiece is a worthy trek. That’s how I feel. That’s where I’m at right now with my stand-up, and my TV show.”

Amer began his career in comedy in his early teens and soon discovered that no one was telling stories about his experience or that of Arabs in general.

“I first got on stage at 14 years old, and I started touring when I was 17. Immediately, I started noticing that there was this huge gap,” he said. “There was no real representation at all on any of those stages of Arabs or Muslims. I said to myself, ‘OK, why don’t I introduce it?’”

With “Mo,” “Mo Amer: Mohammed in Texas,” “Mo Amer: The Vagabond” and “Ramy,” the comedian has and still is sharing the stories of both his family and his people. 


Qatar to transform into outdoor art museum ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar to transform into outdoor art museum ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022
Richard Serra's 'East-West, West-East.' (Supplied)
Updated 10 August 2022

Qatar to transform into outdoor art museum ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar to transform into outdoor art museum ahead of FIFA World Cup 2022

DUBAI: Ahead of the fast-approaching FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar Museums has announced an expansive public art program that will be rolled out not just in the capital city of Doha but throughout the country. The nation’s public spaces — parks, shopping zones, rail stations, hotel plazas, cultural institutions, Hamad International Airport and the eight World Cup 2022 stadiums — will be transformed into a “vast outdoor art museum,” with 40 new pieces being added to the already existing 70 pieces across the country.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, said in a statement, “The addition of 40 new, major works of public art this fall is a significant milestone for Qatar’s public art program. Public art is one of our most prominent demonstrations of cultural exchange, where we present works from artists of all nationalities and backgrounds. From the arrivals at the best airport in the world — Hamad International Airport — to every neighborhood in our nation, public art is there to make your experience unique."

 

 

Comprised of more than 100 artworks, the public art extravaganza will feature 40 new and commissioned pieces. New works from international heavyweights will include artists Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, KAWS, Rashid Johnson, Ernesto Neto, Lawrence Weiner, Faye Toogood, Katharina Fritsch, and others.

Qatari and MENA region artists whose work will be presented in the public art program include Adel Abidin, Ahmed Al-Bahrani, Shouq Al-Mana, Shua’a Al-Muftah, Salman Al-Malek, Monira Al-Qadiri, Simone Fattal and Faraj Daham.

 

 

According to a press release shared by Qatar Museums, the country was among the first in the region to establish a public art program, which currently includes works from Richard Serra, Tom Claaseen, Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Urs Fischer, Subodh Gupta, Dia Al-Azzawi and others.

“Qatar Museums’ public art program, more than anything else, serves as a reminder that art is all around us, not confined to museums and galleries, and can be enjoyed and celebrated whether you are going to work, or school, or the desert or the beach,” said Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Ishaq, Qatar Museums’ Director of Public Art, in a statement.

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off on Nov. 21.


Tory Burch taps Arab models Malika El-Maslouhi, Imaan Hammam for summer campaigns

Tory Burch taps Arab models Malika El-Maslouhi, Imaan Hammam for summer campaigns
Updated 10 August 2022

Tory Burch taps Arab models Malika El-Maslouhi, Imaan Hammam for summer campaigns

Tory Burch taps Arab models Malika El-Maslouhi, Imaan Hammam for summer campaigns

DUBAI: US designer Tory Burch is spotlighting Arab models in the fashion label’s latest campaigns. 

Moroccan Italian model Malika El-Maslouhi posed for the brand’s activewear Tory Sport, while Dutch Egyptian Moroccan star Imaan Hammam was spotted in the label’s latest beauty campaign.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tory Sport (@torysport)

In a series of images shared on the brand’s Instagram page this week, 23-year-old runway star El-Maslouhi wore a pleated laser cut tennis skirt with a white tank top and a blue and beige cross body bag from the fashion house’s Summer 2022 tennis collection. 

In other pictures, the model wore a monogram jacquard anorak, a matching red-and-yellow yoga set and a white polo shirt. 

This is not the first time El-Maslouhi has collaborated with the US label.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tory Sport (@torysport)

In May, the designer tapped the model to showcase her eponymous brand’s pre-Fall 2022 collection via a series of campaign images.

The catwalk star, who was born in Milan to an Italian mother and a Moroccan father, also featured in the brand’s 2022 beach edit, sporting an array of summer-ready looks in the form of floral maxi skirts, romantic dresses, crochet bucket hats, strappy sandals and printed bikinis.

El-Maslouhi made her modeling debut when she was 18 and went on to captivate the industry.

In addition to gracing the runways of storied fashion houses that most models can only dream of — such as Dior, Chanel, Valentino and Jacquemus, among others — the fashion star has also appeared in international campaigns for the likes of Off-White, Calvin Klein and Lanvin.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tory Burch (@toryburch)

Meanwhile, Tory Burch also released five new fragrances for its beauty collection this week. For that campaign, the designer, who launched her brand in 2004, worked with Moroccan Egyptian Dutch model Hammam, who starred alongside US actress Havana Rose Liu, Romanian model Alexandra Micu and more. 

For the all-white beachside shoot, Hammam wore a crochet plunged maxi dress. Her hair was tied in a bun and her makeup was kept simple and fresh. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tory Burch (@toryburch)

According to the brand, Burch’s five new fragrances — cosmic wood, divine moon, electric sky, sublime rose and mystic geranium — represent five dreams: freedom, peace, magic, love and joy. 


Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar heads to Dubai to promote new film ‘Raksha Bandhan’

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar heads to Dubai to promote new film ‘Raksha Bandhan’
Updated 10 August 2022

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar heads to Dubai to promote new film ‘Raksha Bandhan’

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar heads to Dubai to promote new film ‘Raksha Bandhan’

DUBAI: Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar jetted to Dubai to promote his new film “Raksha Bandhan” and opened up about his inspiration for the movie in a conversation with newspaper Khaleej Times.

The actor stopped by the newspaper’s office in the city, along with director Aanand L. Rai, to discuss the new movie, which celebrates the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan — a day to honor the bond between brothers and sisters.

Kumar — who was recently revealed by the Indian government to be the country’s highest tax payer from the entertainment industry — opened up about the special relationship he shares with his own sister, Alka Bhatia.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)

“I remember when my sister was born, we were taught (to) remember to take care of her! Whatever she asks for, don’t refuse, we were told. So, highest taxpayer or not, whatever is mine is my sister’s as well. There are no two opinions about this,” said the 54-year-old actor.

In “Raksha Bandhan,” Kumar stars as the only brother in a family of five siblings. Actresses Sadia Khateeb, Smrithi Srikanth, Deepika Khanna and Sahejmeen Kaur star as the four sisters. Actress Bhumi Pednekar features as his childhood sweetheart.

Kumar also stressed that he wanted to make the film because Rai was helming the project.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)

“The kind of film I want to do is the kind of film he makes. The kind of humor I have, is the kind of humor he has. We both have that very quirky kind of mindset when it comes to making films, and he also has an agenda while making a film; there should be some learning, some takeaways. I want to do the same kind of films and whether it is ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha,’ ‘Pad Man’ or ‘Airlift,’ I have done many films like this,” said Kumar. “I have ruined his habit because he makes one film in three years and now, in two years, he has made two films with me. And we’re preparing for a third…”

Rai, meanwhile, said he’s attracted to the actor’s simplicity which exists despite his megastar status in India and beyond. “It’s fantastic for a director to have somebody without any complexes, going all out and living the moment without any fear that there are so many films he has to live up to. He lives up to that moment. That’s very important,” said the filmmaker, famous for his films like “Tanu Weds Manu,” “Ranjhanaa,” “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” and “Manmarziyaan.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)

The film, Rai said, was a product of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I realized that in those few months when we were all not moving out and didn’t really know where it (Covid) would end or where it would go, we were quite insecure, living with a lot of fear. The only thing that was consistent at that moment was your family. You were eating together, sitting together, playing together; that was the only way to get rid of the fear,” said the director.

“Raksha Bandhan” releases in cinemas in the GCC on Aug. 11.