Dubai Gallery presents Ghanaian contemporary art at Christie’s London

Dubai Gallery presents Ghanaian contemporary art at Christie’s London
El Anatsui, TT, 2021, Aluminium and copper wire, 300 cm x 620.6 cm. (Supplied)
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Updated 09 May 2022

Dubai Gallery presents Ghanaian contemporary art at Christie’s London

Dubai Gallery presents Ghanaian contemporary art at Christie’s London
  • Efie Gallery, which opened in Al-Quoz at the end of March, is staging a show of works by Ghanaian contemporary artists at Christie’s London

DUBAI: Works by three of Ghana’s top pioneering artists will go on display at a selling exhibition at Christie’s London staged in collaboration with the Dubai-based Efie Gallery. 

Titled “Material Earth,” the exhibition presents a total of 10 artworks by Ghanaian-born El-Anatsui, one of the world’s most sought after contemporary artists, alongside two rising stars — Yaw Owusu and Isshaq Ismail — until May 13 at Christie’s London on 8 King Street in Mayfair.

While El-Anatsui and Owusu transform everyday objects into forms of complex beauty with inherent socio-political messages, Ismail’s paintings feature captivating grotesque portraits of anonymous individuals inspired by those the artist sees every day in his hometown of Accra, Ghana. 

El Anatsui, Silent one, Aluminium and copper wire, 320 x 310 cm. (Supplied)

On view for the first time in Europe is a new series of wooden sculptures by El-Anatsui replete with the artist’s captivating abstract forms colored in vibrant hues. 

The exhibition takes place during a time when the international market’s demand for art from Africa is soaring. Over the last few years, art from the continent has become the subject of bidding wars at global auctions such as Bonhams, Piasa, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Strauss and Phillips. In the first half of 2019, international sales of art from Africa generated a total of $25.3 million. According to Statista, art from the continent contributed a sum of $13 billion in 2018 to the global art market and is predicted to rise to $15 billion by 2023. 

Contemporary art from Ghana is particularly in demand — especially since Amoako Boafo’s “The Lemon Bathing Suit” (2019) sold for a stunning £675,000 ($881,432) against a £30,000-£50,000 estimate at Philips Contemporary Art Sale in February 2020. There was already a rising scene of young artists in the West African nation before Boafo’s incredible sale. His success has further inspired a new generation of Ghanaian artists eager to depict the history and contemporary culture of their country and make a profit in the process. 

Isshaq Ismail, Sentiments 17, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (Supplied)

Artworks by Ismail, a rising young Ghanaian star, have recently fetched well over their high estimates at auction. At Sotheby’s dedicated African contemporary and modern sale in London on March 22, three of the artist’s works set personal sale records. “Nkabom 2,” an acrylic on canvas work depicting two heads, fetched £277,000, well above its high estimate of £50,000.

“The growing international demand has bred with it a new sense of respectability for the genre of art from Africa,” Kwame and Kobi Mintah told Arab News. “While previously artists and artwork from Africa has been overlooked, now they cannot be ignored.”

The “Material Earth” exhibition, a collaboration between Efie Gallery — which opened at the end of March 2022 with a blockbuster solo show of work by the great El-Anatsui — and Christie’s, marks a continuation of the auction house’s engagement with contemporary art from Africa. Most recently, the auction house has partnered with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, staging recent editions of the fair in its Paris address and through an online auction in October 2021 that featured works by Nigerian Osinachi, marking the first NFT by a contemporary African artist offered by Christie’s Europe. 

Yaw Owusu, New Paths on a Bare land, 2022, Stainless steel, copper, US pennies, Ghana pesewas, wood, 60in x 63in x 3in. (Supplied)

Also in October 2021, Christie’s in Dubai staged an exhibition in collaboration with Gallery 1957, a commercial gallery based in Accra and London, titled “[West] African Renaissance,” presenting a selection of works on canvas by some of the most esteemed artists working in West Africa.

“We are proud and honored that Efie Gallery chose Christie’s to collaborate with on this amazing show,” Isabelle de La Bruyere, head of Christie’s Chairman’s Office, told Arab News. “The talent and symbioses between the three artists represented, and even between our two brands, make this show an exciting and revealing moment for the contemporary African art market, and the international reach that alliances can create.”

The exhibition strives to incite discussion regarding the current global dialogue on climate change, sustainability and waste. Owusu, a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York, incorporates otherwise valueless everyday materials, such as the coins he ritualistically uses, and upcycles them to create new objects of beauty, shimmering with newfound life. 

“Fostering cross-cultural exchange is paramount to Efie Gallery’s mission, thus, our European debut, by way of unique collaboration Christie’s head office in London, helps further our mission and opens up this exchange into a new region for us,” Kwame and Kobi Mintah, co-founders of Efie Gallery, told Arab News. 

Isshaq Ismail, Kwabena, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 in. (Supplied)

“The viewer is invited to consider the materials that contribute to the complex beauty envisioned in the work of Anatsui and Owusu,” explain Kwame and Kobi Mintah. “When contextualized within the theme, the unaltered materials in work of Anatsui’s bottlecap assemblages become intent on revealing the ignorance of man in regard to the excessive waste that can be found in the world.”

On the other hand, when confronted with the work of Ismail, explain the Mintah brothers, “while the subjects are still visibly human, this loss of humanity is translated through the deformity of these grotesque figures, which in turn serves as a reflection of ourselves.”

While shows like “Material Earth” testify to the growing interest in art from Africa internationally, there are still major roadblocks to progress on the continent, such as limited art education and the development of a more prominent collector base.

‘Oussekine’: An immensely sad story of racist brutality

‘Oussekine’: An immensely sad story of racist brutality
Updated 16 May 2022

‘Oussekine’: An immensely sad story of racist brutality

‘Oussekine’: An immensely sad story of racist brutality

CHENNAI: Antoine Chevrollier’s four-part miniseries, “Oussekine,” is a dramatization of a ghastly event that happened one night in the center of Paris.

Malik Oussekine, barely into his twenties, meets a terrible end when policemen on motorcycles chase him into a building and brutally beat him to death. He had no criminal record, no political affiliations or sympathies. But he was an Algerian Muslim.

The series follows the Oussekine family, of a mother and her five children, who had left Algeria and made France their home, soon becoming citizens. They are proud and happy to be French, but are never allowed to forget that they are from another country.

The series follows the Oussekine family, of a mother and her five children. Supplied

The first episode of “Oussekine” begins on the evening of Dec. 5, 1986. While students are demonstrating on the streets of Paris against the Devaquet law, Malik Oussekine (Sayyid El Alami) is watching a concert by Nina Simone in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. He is excited about it, and before leaving home gently refuses to have the potato wedges his mother, Aicha (Hiam Abbass), has made. He says he would be late for the event and rushes out.

Post-concert, he is walking back home, happy about the entire evening, when he finds himself chased by police officers on motorcycles. He runs away and takes refuge inside a building, but a couple of men in uniform get inside and brutally beat him. Later as the episodes unfold, we learn all about the disillusionment, frustration and anger that are rampant in the force. And Malik was an unfortunate victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hiam Abbass portrays the student's mother. Supplied

The death is revealed in layers over the episodes, each about 60 minutes. Chevrollier packs in enough surprises to keep us glued to our TV sets, but the series does have its weak moments, giving us a feeling that it is not flowing as easily as it ought to be with some flashbacks appearing a bit confusing. The courtroom scenes are often listless, the only dramatic high coming from Malik’s sister, Sarah (Mouna Soualem), who at one point tells the two accused police officers not to dare look her in the eye. Some of the retorts made by the lawyer for the Oussekine family, Georges Kiejman (Kad Merad), are pointed and damning. Is this country not founded on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, he asks.

While Malik’s other siblings, Mohamed, Benamar and Fatna, make little or no impression, it is Sarah who is unforgiving. “Why are the accused not in handcuffs?” she questions the lawyer. Closest to her brother, she is as devastated as her mother, and the two actresses brilliantly convey a sense of immense sadness and helplessness.

Yet, the series does not moralize. Rather, it reminds us that life must continue. Acceptance is perhaps the greatest balm.

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal is Tiffany & Co.’s newest campaign star

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal is Tiffany & Co.’s newest campaign star
Updated 16 May 2022

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal is Tiffany & Co.’s newest campaign star

British-Moroccan model Nora Attal is Tiffany & Co.’s newest campaign star

DUBAI: Luxury jewelry house Tiffany & Co. teamed up with British-Moroccan model Nora Attal for its striking Elsa Peretti Bean Designs collection lensed by fashion photographer Sharif Hamza. In charge of creative direction was Ruba Abu-Nimah.

In the campaign video and photos, Attal is seen wearing dramatic statement pieces from the luxury jewelry brand’s latest offering designed by the late Italian jewelry designer whose creations for Tiffany & Co. are showcased in the collections of several art institutions, including the 20th century collection of the British Museum.

Attal dons hand-carved green jade and 18k gold necklaces and bean-shaped pendants adorned with silk cords, nets and tassels handwoven by artisans in Japan.

Peretti, who died in 2021, created her famous Bean design for Tiffany & Co. in 1974 during her first few years with the house. The jeweler saw the bean, a seed, as a symbol of life’s origins. Over the years, the bean motif has been reimagined at Tiffany & Co., from pendants and clutches to earrings, bracelets and other accessories. 

Speaking about the collection, Alexandre Arnault, executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co., said “Elsa Peretti’s legacy in the world of design and fashion cannot be overstated. The reintroduction of Peretti’s ‘Bean’ designs allows us to honor her creative influence using the same materials and forms that you see throughout her design vocabulary to expand on one of her most celebrated collections.”

Meanwhile, the campaigns just keep on rolling in for the London-born beauty.

Attal has had a busy 2022 so far, adding a number of advertorials to her ever-growing portfolio.

The 22-year-old fashion star recently fronted US fashion label Ralph Lauren’s adverts for Eid Al-Fitr alongside her family.

In the campaign video, the model appeared with her fiancé, cinematographer Victor Bastidas, her parents Charlie and Bouchra Attal, and her two siblings. 

She also starred in the campaign for H&M’s spring 2022 collection.

More recently, the model walked for Chanel’s grand prix-inspired cruise 2023 collection in front of a star-studded front row in Monaco earlier this month.

She appeared on the catwalk wearing a flowing monochrome dress printed with checkered racing flags and matched with a black, waist-cinching belt and a crossbody bag.

First photos of Lyna Khoudri in upcoming drama ‘Nos Frangins’ unveiled

First photos of Lyna Khoudri in upcoming drama ‘Nos Frangins’ unveiled
Updated 15 May 2022

First photos of Lyna Khoudri in upcoming drama ‘Nos Frangins’ unveiled

First photos of Lyna Khoudri in upcoming drama ‘Nos Frangins’ unveiled

DUBAI: French film distribution company Le Pacte has unveiled the first look at “Nos Frangins,” or “Our Brothers,” starring French-Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri, ahead of its global premiere at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

The hotly anticipated new film by three time Oscar-nominated director Rachid Bouchareb is launching in the Cannes Première section and tells the harrowing true story of French-Algerian student Malik Oussekine, who died in police custody in 1986, following several weeks of student protests against a university reform bill.

Khoudri stars in the film alongside a stellar cast that includes fellow French-Algerian actor Reda Kateb, Raphael Personnaz, Samir Guesmi and newcomer Adam Amara.

In the photos, the Algeria-born actress is pictured walking down the street alongside Kateb.

 The French-Algerian actress stars in ‘Nos Frangins.’ Supplied

It is not yet known what role the 29-year-old is playing.

It is not the first time that Oussekine’s tragic tale has been adapted for the big screen. The 1995 French film “La Haine,” starring Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé and Saïd Taghmaoui, was largely inspired by the case of the 22-year-old student protester who died after being badly beaten by riot police after a mass demonstration in 1986, which he did not take part in. 

The story is also being examined in “Oussekine,” a Disney+ series directed by Antoine Chevrollier that follows his family’s fight for justice.

Khoudri made her Cannes Film Festival debut last year during the premiere of Wes Anderson’s 2021 comedy “The French Dispatch” in July.

She is part of an ever-growing list of Arab stars working their way up the Hollywood ladder.


A post shared by lynakhoudri (@lynakhoudri)

The Venice Film Festival Orizzonti prize winner is set to star in French-Algerian director Mounia Meddour’s new drama “Houria,” and most recently appeared in the period drama “La Place D’Une Autre” and “Haute Couture.”

She is also set to appear in a new two-part adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic French novel “The Three Musketeers,” in which she will star opposite Francois Civil as his love interest Constance D’Artagnan, formerly Bonacieux. In addition, Khoudri is shooting “Novembre,” a Cedric Jimenez-directed thriller about the French anti-terrorism services during the hunt for suspects after the 2015 Paris attacks.

Folk rappers from Ukraine win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Folk rappers from Ukraine win Eurovision in musical morale boost
Updated 15 May 2022

Folk rappers from Ukraine win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Folk rappers from Ukraine win Eurovision in musical morale boost
  • Kalush Orchestra beat out 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania,” a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms

TURIN, Italy: Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, as the embattled nation rides a wave of public support across Europe.
Kalush Orchestra beat out 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania,” a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms from an energetic, breakdancing band.
“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” frontman Oleh Psiuk said in English from the stage, referring to the port city’s underground steelworks where Ukrainian soldiers are surrounded by Russian forces.
Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognizable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.
“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.
Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.
Ukraine beat out a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, which sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national health care while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.
“Only at Eurovision do people celebrate bananas, heartbreaks and wash their hands in one and the same show,” Swedish fan Martina Fries told AFP Saturday ahead of the finale.
“Eurovision is a way to show that different countries can celebrate peacefully together.”

The joy of Eurovision is in its camp and theatrics, although the nearly three-month war in Ukraine hung heavily over festivities.
The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbor.
“Stefania,” written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on obscure flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb to perform their act.
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” have taken on outsized meaning as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.
President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the group for topping the contest.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom,” while European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine.”
Kalush Orchestra received special authorization from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.
Psiuk said he wasn’t exactly sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.
“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.”

Other contenders at Eurovision included Sweden’s break-up belt “Hold Me Closer” from Cornelia Jakobs, Greece’s somber “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord, and “Brividi” (Shivers), a gay-themed duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.
Italy won the competition last year with “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin, who performed their new single “Supermodel” during Saturday night’s finale.
Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.
After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.
Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.
Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant “Sentimentai.”
Meanwhile, Sheldon Riley of Australia — one of Eurovision’s few non-European entries — sang his self-affirmation ballad “Not the Same” through a sparkling face veil laden with crystals.
And since no Eurovision is complete without a smattering of gyrating and undulating bodies onstage, Spain’s Chanel came to the rescue with her energetic dancing and memorable “booty hypnotic” refrain.

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.