Youth takeover of Jameel Arts Center reflects mission to foster curatorial discourse in Gulf

Youth takeover of Jameel Arts Center reflects mission to foster curatorial discourse in Gulf
Raheed Allaf, Shoofeeni (2022). Supplied
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Updated 05 June 2022

Youth takeover of Jameel Arts Center reflects mission to foster curatorial discourse in Gulf

Youth takeover of Jameel Arts Center reflects mission to foster curatorial discourse in Gulf

DUBAI: The Jameel Arts Center in Dubai has surrendered itself to the creative power of the UAE’s youth in a bid to raise awareness of budding talent on the local scene.

Titled “The Youth Takeover,” the show, which wrapped up on Sunday, boasted 20 artworks by new talent that explored concepts of nostalgia and the inner child. Mediums included two- and three-dimensional illustrations, paintings, audiovisual works, performances, workshops and film screenings.

Of particular note were eight new commissions by artists and curators from the UAE, Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan, Palestine, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.




Ibrahim, illustration, process images, commissioned by the Assembly 2021-22. Supplied

“Art Jameel has always had a particular focus on youth and developing homegrown talent from the ground up, and in innovative ways that complements and fills gaps between and around formal education,” Antonia Carver, director at Art Jameel, told Arab News. “Before opening the Jameel Arts Centre back in 2018, we knew we wanted to have young people at the heart of the institution, and to create a program that enabled us to listen to and learn from youth, and that gave these talented and driven young creatives real agency.”

Carver said Art Jameel plans to stage a similar event at the recently opened Hayy Jameel creative hub in Jeddah in the future.

Jameel’s third annual “The Youth Takeover” was titled “Smol” and dedicated to an exploration of the trials and tribulations of growing up, ideas of nostalgia and the inner child. It was curated by eight young creatives or Youth Assembly members — Alexis Javero, Anita Shishani, Farah Fawzi Ali, Lubnah Ansari, Raheed Allaf, Rashid Almheiri, Shama Nair and Sree — all under the age of 25 from across the UAE who were selected from several hundred applications and were led by independent curator and Assembly 2020 alumnus, Daniel H. Rey.




Khaled Esguerra, Abu Dha-Me (2022). Supplied

“Metaphorically and stylistically, ‘Smol’ is an opportunity to color outside the lines, bridging dreams with reality, while confronting constricting rules and rituals,” said the Assembly members in a joint statement.

In collaboration with the Art Jameel Learning team, Rey curated and facilitated a year-long learning program with the aim of nurturing and fostering artistic youth leadership.

Young artists raised in the Gulf were encouraged to examine questions regarding ideas of home, intergenerational histories, community building, dreams, language, and mental health.

“After multiple weeks of research in non-European languages, questions about the so-called Global South and the responsibilities of curators in our shared context, the Assembly received a key question: How does the youth practice society?” Rey told Arab News. “For exploring this question treating society as subject of inquiry, the Youth Assembly moved onto having self-led sessions discussing different urgencies — pressing themes with potential for a robust exploration through an exhibition.”

The Assembly visited and researched the Art Jameel Collection as well as the Dubai-based Endjavi-Barbé Art Collection, which focuses on young artists from inside and outside Iran.




Hypo mango, room-wide immersive illustrations, process images, commissioned by the Assembly 2021-22. Supplied

“The exposure to these collections gave a sense of direction to the thematic thinking, revealing to the Assembly that their questions, ideas and lived experiences could be grouped and explored through the lens of the inner child and the experience of feeling small,” said Rey.

“As curator-tutor of the program having worked with the Youth Assembly on this experience, it is fascinating to begin identifying that, while each human life is uncertain, we have all certainly had a childhood, regardless of how it played out. This childhood may well continue within our adult selves,” he added.

For example, artist Raheed Allaf from Saudi Arabia created “Shoofeeni,” a short experimental film installation in which she investigates a VHS tape from her third birthday prompting a conversation between the filmmaker and her younger self.

“To see myself, at three years old, proclaiming that I am a Barbie while looking at my reflection was very telling. I couldn’t help but think ‘wow, I’ve been living up to unrealistic standards since three?’” she told Arab News.

“I would think that would be too early an age to start feeling the crippling pressures of performing womanhood. So, I had the urge to dissect it, and create a work where I, in a way, have a conversation with my younger self — hoping to address self-reflection through literal reflections.”

Allaf’s film, like the theme of this year’s event, explored how the artist’s childhood and self-image building continues to affect her adulthood. The film is about the performance of womanhood but also poses questions, as media prompts us to do, about the identities of both performers and directors, and how these roles have often become interchangeable in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape.


Paco Rabanne, who brought the space age to the catwalk, dies aged 88

Paco Rabanne, who brought the space age to the catwalk, dies aged 88
Updated 27 min 21 sec ago

Paco Rabanne, who brought the space age to the catwalk, dies aged 88

Paco Rabanne, who brought the space age to the catwalk, dies aged 88
  • The eponymous label he exited more than two decades ago hailed him as "among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century"
  • Tunisian managing director of Paco Rabanne, Nadia Dhouib, paid tribute to the ‘legendary’ fashion designer

PARIS: Paco Rabanne, the Spanish-born designer best known for his metallic ensembles and space age designs of the 1960s, has died at the age of 88.
The eponymous label he exited more than two decades ago hailed him as “among the most seminal fashion figures of the 20th century.”
Rabanne dressed some of the most prominent stars of the 1960s, including French singer Francoise Hardy, whose outfits from the designer included a minidress made from gold plates and a metal link jumpsuit, as well as Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, who were pictured in matching silver outfits.
Among his most famous looks were the fitted, skin-baring ensembles worn by Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s cult science fiction film “Barbarella.”
The death of Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo, Paco Rabanne’s birth name, was confirmed by a spokesperson for Spanish group Puig, which now controls the fashion house.
“A major personality in fashion, his was a daring, revolutionary and provocative vision, conveyed through a unique aesthetic,” said Marc Puig, chairman and CEO of Puig.

“Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women (to) clamor for dresses made of plastic and metal? Who but Paco Rabanne could imagine a fragrance called Calandre — the word means ‘automobile grill,’ you know — and turn it into an icon of modern femininity?" the group's statement said.

Tunisian creative director Nadia Dhouib, who was named managing director of Paco Rabanne in March last year, paid tribute to the fashion designer on her Instagram stories with a black and white photo of him captioned “Legend.”


Born in a village in the Spanish Basque region in 1934, his mother was a head seamstress at Balenciaga. He died in Portsall in Brittany.
Rabanne grew up in France, where the family moved after Spanish troops shot dead his father, who had been a Republican commander during the civil war.
He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He started his career sketching handbags for a supplier to prestigious fashion houses including Givenchy and Chanel, as well as shoes for Charles Jourdan.
He then branched into fashion, designing garments and jewelry with unconventional materials such as metal and plastic.
INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
His first collection, which he described as “unwearable dresses made of contemporary materials” were pieces made of strips of plastic linked with metal rings, worn by barefoot models at a presentation at the upscale Paris hotel George V.
The Paris cabaret Crazy Horse Saloon was his next venue, where models paraded his skimpy dresses and bathing suits while wearing hardhats.
While his innovation and futuristic designs won plaudits, his fascination with the supernatural prompted public derision at times. He was known for recounting past reincarnations, and in 1999, he predicted the space station Mir would crash into France, coinciding with a solar eclipse.
Surrealist Salvador Dali famously approved of his compatriot, calling him “Spain’s second genius.”
The designer teamed up with Spain’s Puig family in the late 1960s, launching perfumes that served as a springboard for the company’s international expansion.
“Paco Rabanne made transgression magnetic. Who else could induce fashionable Parisian women (to) clamour for dresses made of plastic and metal,” said Jose Manuel Albesa, president of Puig’s beauty and fashion division.
The label has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, under the creative direction of Julien Dossena, who has updated the house’s signature chainmail designs.
“We are grateful to Monsieur Rabanne for establishing our avant-garde heritage and defining a future of limitless possibilities,” the fashion house said in a statement.
The designer’s work with metallic plastic gave a “sharp edge” to women’s clothes, an effect that was “so much more than a New Look,” fashion historian Suzy Menkes said on Instagram Friday.
“It was rather a revolutionary attitude for women who wanted both to protect and assert themselves.”

(With Reuters and AP)


Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen spends the day with Angelina Jolie in Guerlain initiative

Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen spends the day with Angelina Jolie in Guerlain initiative
Updated 03 February 2023

Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen spends the day with Angelina Jolie in Guerlain initiative

Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen spends the day with Angelina Jolie in Guerlain initiative

DUBAI: Lebanese influencer and entrepreneur Karen Wazen took to Instagram to share a photograph of herself with Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie at a cocktail event hosted by French label Guerlain in Paris. 

“This was very special,” the eyewear designer said in a caption to the post. 

“As part of my ongoing collaboration with the maison I was honored to attend an intimate cocktail (event) at Guerlain’s iconic boutique — 68 Avenue des Champs-Elysees — with Angelina Jolie, as well as Guerlain’s experts from its bee conservation program,” Wazen told her 7.9 million followers. 

“Together we discussed the brand’s bee conservation program, including the Bee School, founded by Guerlain and led by its employees, a volunteer program developed to educate young children across the world on the bee’s importance to ecosystems and biodiversity for which I am excited to host here in the Middle East in 2023,” she said. 

In March 2022, the By Karen Wazen founder was announced as the first regional ambassador for the beauty house.

Wazen is representing Guerlain’s full skincare line as a long-time advocate for the brand. The Dubai-based influencer has said she shares the same principles and passions as the house, including sustainability, and both aim to empower women across the region.

“I am very proud to become the Middle Eastern ambassador for Guerlain,” Wazen said at the time. “As a house whose DNA and heritage are in complete, authentic alignment with my own ethos, I look forward to this beautiful and exciting new chapter together.”


Model Gigi Hadid shares insights into her mom life

Model Gigi Hadid shares insights into her mom life
Updated 03 February 2023

Model Gigi Hadid shares insights into her mom life

Model Gigi Hadid shares insights into her mom life

DUBAI: Palestinian-Dutch model Gigi Hadid this week shared rare insights into her life as mother to two-year-old daughter Khai, whom she co-parents with former boyfriend Zayn Malik.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Magazine, the 27-year-old single mom said that she has “a very mom morning routine.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

“Whatever time she’s (Khai) waking up, I’m waking up,” said Hadid, which is usually between 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Hadid added that for breakfast, she eats whatever her daughter is having. “I make her pancakes and sausages every day,” she said. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

“For Christmas, she asked me what I was going to ask Santa for and so I said I wanted a new pancake pan. I ordered myself, via Santa, this cool pancake pan — each little circle pancake is a different animal, so she can have lion pancakes or llama pancakes. It’s really fun,” Hadid added.  

Unlike what you might think, Hadid does not have a strict workout routine. Running after her daughter is her exercise, she said. “We walk a lot. We do yoga together. With lifting her and running around all day and going to the park, I get moving,” she said. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

The model also said that she has found an easy way to keep her busy schedule in control. She said she is skilled at organization, scheduling and making sure her many projects get the time they need. 

“That also helps me give a lot of time to Khai,” she said. “(My schedule) is so janky. It can be like Khai’s craft paper. This month it’s (on) a yellow piece of paper. And it’s literally a square calendar with six lines to make seven days. I take a picture on my phone, and I edit through the month then I’ll do all the edits and rewrite it the next month.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

In September, Hadid celebrated her daughter’s second birthday at an intimate party, sharing a picture of a multi-layered cake decorated with characters from Peppa Pig, which seems to be Khai’s favorite cartoon show. 

Khai’s name is a nod to Hadid’s Palestinian grandmother Khairiah.


Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox talks witty memoir, role in HBO’s ‘Succession’ at Emirates Lit Fest

Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox talks witty memoir, role in HBO’s ‘Succession’ at Emirates Lit Fest
Updated 03 February 2023

Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox talks witty memoir, role in HBO’s ‘Succession’ at Emirates Lit Fest

Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox talks witty memoir, role in HBO’s ‘Succession’ at Emirates Lit Fest
  • 60-year veteran honors parents’ struggle with autobiography
  • Considers himself ‘overrated’ like ‘overblown’ Johnny Depp

DUBAI: Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox certainly knows how to make some noise. The award-winning veteran, known for his portrayal as the angry Logan Roy in HBO’s “Succession,” has an extensive resume spanning six decades across theater, television and films.

Arab News met Cox at the Emirates Literature Festival to discuss his recently released autobiography. The memoir, “Putting the Rabbit in the Hat,” a candid yet highly emotional and hilarious book, journeys through his poverty-stricken childhood to his theater days and a formidable career in Hollywood where he acted in blockbusters including “Troy,” “The Bourne Identity” and “Braveheart.”

Born in 1946 in Dundee, Scotland, Cox lost his father to pancreatic cancer when he was only 8 and dealt with his mother’s struggles with mental health for years, ultimately being raised by his elder sisters. “Writing the memoir was a cathartic experience — I wanted to honor my parents. It was really about my mum and dad and what they went through during a particularly difficult time in the country,” Cox tells Arab News.

Cox was born in 1946 in Dundee, Scotland. (HBO/David Russell)

As a child, he found solace in film and television — often escaping to the cinema. “There were 21 cinemas in Dundee, and I was a regular at every single one,” he writes. Then, one afternoon, while watching Albert Finney in “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” he experienced a life-altering moment — if a working-class Englishman can make it in movies, so could he. “I just thought that was very liberating — I felt that Albert was a good muse for me,” says Cox.

As the book tells the tale of his rise to stardom, his shortcomings — professionally and personally — not to be missed are the witty jabs at industry A-listers, including Edward Norton, Steven Seagal and Johnny Depp. Although he turned down a role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” (with no regrets), he does comment on Depp’s acting.

“Personable though I’m sure he is, he is so overblown, so overrated. I mean, ‘Edward Scissorhands.’ Let’s face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face makeup, you don’t have to do anything. And he didn’t. And subsequently, he’s done even less.”

His book tells the tale of his rise to stardom. (HBO/Graeme Hunter)

Was he not worried that his no-holds-barred comments may burn bridges? He clears the air. “I happened to say that Johnny Depp was overrated, but I don't think that — I think we’re all overrated. With Johnny Depp, I think he’s a creature rather than an actor. Edward Scissorhands is an extraordinary creation, and there’s a place for it, but at the same time, I think he’s clearly talented and successful in his time. So I wasn’t dismissing him. I just felt that, like us all, he’s overrated. I’m part of that overrated,” explains Cox. His thoughts on Steven Seagal: ‘He’s as ludicrous in real life as he is on screen,” he writes.

His Logan Roy character sees him as the patriarch of the Roy family and a mean media magnate. Critics have often compared Roy’s character to Rupert Murdoch’s, but Cox believes that isn’t the case. “One of the things that I keep emphasizing about Logan is that he’s not like any of the people he’s compared to — he’s self-made and didn’t inherit anything.

“So his stakes are that much higher because he created it — he wants to know how his creation will be carried on. And he’s a misanthrope,” he says. Another complex part of his character includes his love/hate relationship with his children. “His Achilles heel — the thing that causes the most grief — is that he loves his children. If he didn’t love them, he’d be far better off — but he does,” elaborates Cox.

In 2020, Cox won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama for “Succession” — an award he respects but doesn’t necessarily take too seriously. “It’s the work — that’s the main thing. I’m not interested in awards — I’d rather have a job than an award.”


Lebanese actor Georges Khabbaz discusses his new hit show

Lebanese actor Georges Khabbaz discusses his new hit show
Updated 03 February 2023

Lebanese actor Georges Khabbaz discusses his new hit show

Lebanese actor Georges Khabbaz discusses his new hit show
  • Khabbaz spent decades building an international reputation, winning best actor at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2007 for his acclaimed film ‘Under the Bombs’
  • ‘You have to deal with a lot of baloney,’ says the acclaimed Lebanese actor, writer and director

DUBAI: If you want to understand what it means to be Lebanese, there may be no better prism to look through than the work of Georges Khabbaz. In the three decades Khabbaz has been active, he has been a pillar of Lebanon’s arts scene, the true king of the Lebanese stage. He has written, directed and starred in dozens of plays and television shows, chronicling nearly every aspect of life in the Levantine nation, all with an honesty and fearlessness that have led some to call him the country’s true face.  

Khabbaz has also spent decades building a reputation across the region and the world, winning best actor at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2007 for his acclaimed film “Under the Bombs” and working as a writer on Nadine Labaki’s Oscar-nominated 2018 film “Capernaum.” Now 46 and coming off the immense global success of last year’s Netflix film “Perfect Strangers,” in which he played Walid, Khabbaz is now writer and star of the hit MBC series “Brando El Sharq,” a show that is more than another feather in his cap — it’s the culmination of his career thus far.  

Khabbaz on set with his “Brando El Sharq” co star Amal Arafah. (Supplied)

“Quite simply, this series is an encapsulation of 30 years of my life,” Khabbaz tells Arab News. “I’ve taken a journey of decades, and put all that I’ve been through — the striving, the yearning, the success and the heartbreak — into 10 episodes, and kept the truth of it intact.” 

The series follows a filmmaker — a character representing Khabbaz at his lowest — who is desperate to get funding for his debut film and fulfill his dreams of becoming a renowned director. He’s a man in love with film history, dreaming of Charlie Chaplin and “Casablanca,” and while art is his escape from reality, it is but a fleeting one. His father’s health is deteriorating, and, desperate for money, he begins a pursuit of the biggest star in the country, the titular Brando of the East, to finally bring his plans to fruition. 

What makes this story distinctly Lebanese, in Khabbaz’s mind, is multifold. The country, a veritable mosaic of cultures and influences, is full of art-obsessed creatives, but lacks avenues for those creatives to thrive.  

Nadine Labaki and Georges Khabbaz on the set of “Perfect Strangers.” (Supplied)

“There are so many educational and cultural hardships, but we fight for our dreams and ambitions harder. We rely on our work, and we rely on each other, because we don’t have an environment that supports us,” says Khabbaz. “A lot of the system we live in works against us. It exists to snap our wings off so that we can’t achieve our dreams. There’s a lot of bullying that stops us from fighting for our passion, especially at the beginning of a career. Frankly, you have to deal with a lot of baloney.”  

Khabbaz, of course, feels he’s earned the right to make these sorts of grand proclamations about the state of his country.  

“From the beginning, I had to work hard to discover what audiences in Lebanon are truly feeling,” says Khabbaz. 

The magic of theater lies in its immediacy. People have to show up each night to buy tickets, and once they’re sitting there, performers can keenly feel their engagement from the stage. As Khabbaz wrote and performed plays, he worked to fine tune what it was that his audience really cared about, and to find common ground in their concerns, rather than just pander to them. 

“There is a big audience in front of you that needs to be satisfied, but it doesn’t work if you don’t stay honest with yourself and true to your work. They will never be satisfied, nor will you, if it doesn’t come from a place deep inside you,” says Khabbaz. “I couldn’t lose hold of myself and my own feelings to satisfy them. And that has not always been easy. In fact, over 30 years, that has been a constant struggle, one I’m always concerned about.” 

A still from “Brando El Sharq.” (Supplied)

Ultimately, that is what “Brando El Sharq” is really about, in Khabbaz’s eyes. While its style pulls from his artistic heroes — Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, and the Coen brothers — its true exploration is of a man in desperate pursuit of his dreams who’s in danger of losing his artistic heart in the process. 

“The idea evolved from the thought that, while looking for yourself, you shouldn’t lose yourself,” says Khabbaz. 

In telling this story, Khabbaz was careful not to limit the show to any one genre. Like life, it jumps genres depending on the day, flush with joy, sorrow and everything in between. 

“This series is tragedy, comedy, parody, satire, musical, romance and suspense. It’s theater and it’s cinema in one. This series is my scientific lab,” he says. 

There’s more than one reason for that panoply of storytelling style. Khabbaz is an actor first and foremost and, for actors, great parts are defined by their dimensions.  

“Any actor would love to play this role because it’s so diverse and inclusive of everything you learn about acting. A skilled actor loves to move from one emotion to another very quickly,” says Khabbaz.  

As “Brando El Sharq” concludes its first season, Khabbaz is hard at work on his next film, “Yunan,” the latest from Syrian filmmaker Ameer Fakher Eldin, the man behind 2021’s acclaimed film “The Stranger,” staring Ashraf Barhom. In “Yunan,” Khabbaz plays a depressed writer living in exile who learns to love life again after meeting an elderly woman on a remote island.  

For Khabbaz, the film is a testament to how far he’s come. Why? Because the elderly woman is played by the iconic German actress Hanna Schygulla, star of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun” (1979) and the defining star of the New German Cinema movement, now approaching her 80th birthday.  

“I still have so many dreams and goals in the world of cinema and theater, but this is one of them. The opportunity to collaborate with a genius is deeply humbling,’ says Khabbaz.   

Khabbaz is aware of the esteem he’s built in Lebanon and across the region, and as the positive reviews for his latest series roll in, he’s finally able to look back on his own journey with pride, and reflect on what all the praise represents.  

“I’m just like all the people in the audience. I’ve always chosen the subject of my work based on what I know people can connect to, what we have in common. I’m just like all these people that look up to me, and perhaps they look up to me because I’ve shown them that I’m like them for years through my work,” says Khabbaz. “I think they see me, someone who looks just like them, as an example of what they can accomplish.”