Egypt recovers 16 historic artifacts from US

Special Egypt recovers 16 historic artifacts from US
Seized Egyptian artifacts are displayed during a news conference at Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo)
Short Url
Updated 08 September 2022

Egypt recovers 16 historic artifacts from US

Egypt recovers 16 historic artifacts from US
  • Antiquities including art and a gold coin to return to Cairo from New York within days
  • Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities: This comes within the framework of the highest priority given by the state to recovering smuggled Egyptian antiquities

CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has recovered 16 historic artifacts from the US.

The recoveries came in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of the public prosecutor in New York.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said: “This comes within the framework of the highest priority given by the state to the file of recovering smuggled Egyptian antiquities and returning them to the homeland.”

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said investigations conducted in the US in three different cases had established that the recovered artifacts had been unlawfully taken out of the country.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the Administration of Recovered Antiquities at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said among the recovered items were six artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum that were confiscated by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, in a major case that involved smuggling a number of artifacts to the US and France. He added that investigations are continuing in France.

The six pieces from that case included a fragment of a wooden coffin covered with a layer of colored plaster depicting the face of a woman, a limestone panel with hieroglyphic inscriptions, a piece of linen decorated with colorful drawings, a bronze statue of a man kneeling, and a limestone shrine decorated with colorful inscriptions.

Investigations into nine other recovered antiquities that were discovered in the possession of an American businessman found that they were illegally held, as was the final piece, to a gold coin dating back to the Ptolemaic era.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the items will be delivered to the Egyptian Consulate in New York within the next few days in preparation for their return to the homeland as soon as possible.


RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
Updated 10 December 2022

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
  • Hamza Jamjoom, a Saudi filmmaker and producer of the winning film, accepted the award on behalf of Al-Husaini

JEDDAH: Dec. 8 marked the closing ceremony of Red Sea International Film Festival round two, which celebrated storytellers and participants in the festival competitions who stepped out of their comfort zone to share their stories with the world.

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Indian actor Hrithik Roshan, DJ Khaled, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, and Hong Kong actor and filmmaker Jackie Chan were among famous faces to appear on the red carpet.

Chan, who is known for his acrobatic fighting style, said that the ceremony night coincided with his 60th year in the film industry.

Jumana Al-Rashed CEO of SRMG left, Antonio Banderas the Spanish legend middle, and, Mohammed Al-Turki CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival during the festival's closing ceremony. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“I want to thank the RSIFF for this — it is where I can see so many good friends and new friends. Also, this year marks my 60 years in the film business, and I want to share this to the friends around the world,” he said. 
Winner of the young rising star award was Jeddah-born Saudi actress Sarah Taibah, 33.

Taibah said: “I didn't know that I would be nominated, thank you Red Sea Film Festival. I feel amazing and grateful for being honored in my country and city.”

A Saudi film wins the Red Sea International Film Festival's second round. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film.

Hamza Jamjoom, a Saudi filmmaker and producer of the winning film, accepted the award on behalf of Al-Husaini.

Film AlUla audience award for best film went to a Singapore-South Korean production “Ajoomma,” directed by He Shuming.

The ceremony concluded with a live performance by Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Meanwhile, Red Sea Virtual Reality features a selection of the latest leading VR storytelling and art projects from award-winning international artists and directors.

The strand was adjudicated by London-based Egyptian documentary filmmaker May Abdalla, Bangladeshi artist Naima Karim and Tribeca Film Festivals Immersive Curator Ana Brzezinska

Brzezinska said: “It has been a real honor to be here at the Red Sea Film Festival to judge the virtual reality election. It is a really amazing moment for this medium with an explosive approach to creative ideas. From the sprint of many projects, it was a real challenge to pick just two.”

The Silver Yusr for Red Sea virtual reality went to “Eurydice” by Celine Daemen, while the winner of the Gold Yusr for Red Sea Virtual Reality was “From the Main Square,” a German film by Pedro Harres.

The Red Sea short competition was judged by filmmaker Joana Hadjithomas, Saudi writer and director Shahad Ameen, and Nigerian actor Ozzy Agu.

The jury gave two awards to the Mongolian and French drama “Snow in September” by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.

The Silver Yusr for short film went to “Will My Parents Come to See Me,” by Somalian director Muhamed Bashiir Harawe. The Golden Yusr for Short Film went to “On My Father’s Grave,” a Moroccan and French film by Jawahine Zentar.

The Red Sea competition was headed by Oliver Stone, president of this year's jury.

The Silver Yusr for best cinematic achievement went to “Hanging Gardens,” a production of Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.

The Silver Yusr award for best actor went to Adam Bessa. The Silver Yusr for best actress went to Adila Bendimarad.

The best screen award was won by “ Childless Village,” by Reza Jamali from Iran.

The Res Sea competition jury prize went to “Within Sand,” a Saudi feature film telling the story of a young man making his way through the desert with the help of a wolf.

“The film is based on actual events that happened in Saudi in early 1900. There is a responsivity to reflect the Saudi culture in the most appropriate way,” director  Mohammed Alatawi told Arab News.

The Silver Yusr award for best director went to Lotfy Nathan for his film “Harka.”

The Golden Yusr for the best feature film went to “Hanging Gardens,” by Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji.

The festival’s third edition will be held next year in Saudi Arabia. The ceremony concluded with a live performance by Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram.

Though RSIFF festivities and sessions have come to an end, visitors can still enjoy their weekend watching movies from the festival and meeting red-carpet stars.

 


Misk Art Week kicks off with Kingdom’s first-ever life painting classes

Misk Art Week kicks off with Kingdom’s first-ever life painting classes
Updated 10 December 2022

Misk Art Week kicks off with Kingdom’s first-ever life painting classes

Misk Art Week kicks off with Kingdom’s first-ever life painting classes
  • Huthaifa Hejazi was invited by Misk Art Institute to supervise a group of aspiring Saudi and foreign artists focused on life drawing
  • Huthaifa Hejazi: It is a big step for us to host live painting and drawing here, and I am trying to do everything I can to support the community

Huthaifa Hejazi is hosting Riyadh’s first gathering for public life drawing during Misk Art Week’s sixth edition, which launched on Wednesday.

An interior designer and an artist, Hejazi, 33, was invited by Misk Art Institute to supervise a group of aspiring Saudi and foreign artists focused on life drawing.

The classes or “gatherings,” as termed by Misk Art Institute, are the result of an informal community in Riyadh that practiced life drawing together until they found Masaha Residency in Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall, the home of Misk Art Institute in Riyadh, where they have been gathering weekly since August this year. The staging of such life drawing gatherings publicly, which have until this week been practiced privately in the Kingdom, further exemplifies changing times in Saudi Arabia.

“It is a big step for us to host live painting and drawing here, and I am trying to do everything I can to support the community,” Hejazi told Arab News.

“This is a new experience for us; life drawing helps you better your skills,” said Mansour Alotaibi, an engineer who works at the Ministry of Energy and has been painting since he was a child.

The life drawing and painting gatherings are one of the most popular events taking place during Misk Art Week, which ends on Dec. 10. They are free and open to the public, like all activities taking place during the event.

This year marked the most dynamic and comprehensive edition for Misk Art Institute’s flagship event, witnessed through a sprawling array of art exhibitions, and a range of talks and workshops reflective of the organization’s mission to strengthen the local and regional creative community. The art week, also, as Mashael Al-Yahya, creative director at Misk Art Institute, said, marks the full return of the event after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This edition, in its scale, is similar to that which was hosted in 2019,” Al-Yahya told Arab News. “But because of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, we needed to downsize. We fully brought back our programming to this year’s art week, largely witnessed in the Art and Design Market that used to be called the Artist Street.”

A range of white cube open-air spaces in various heights made up the Art and Design Market, providing free booths to 81 creatives from across the Kingdom based on an open-call process. Works on show spanned the realms of ceramics, painting, accessories and jewelry. Like a mini art fair, guests could acquire, source and commission one-off works.

Abeer Al-Zayed, an artist from Al-Baha, came to Riyadh to show her paintings featuring delicate and colorful portraits of anonymous women at the Art and Design Market, marking her fifth time taking part in a Misk event. “We are witnessing the growth of the art scene in Saudi Arabia, and this makes me very happy,” she told Arab News.

Other highlights included the two-day Creative Forum, which brought in top speakers on art and culture from around the Middle East and internationally. Artists include Emirati Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, founder of Barjeel Art Foundation; Dr. Nada Shabout, regent professor of art history and coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, and artists such as pioneering Saudi woman Safeya Binzagr.

On the second floor of the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Arts Hall was the third edition of the Misk Art Grant, one of the most sought-after grants in the region with a fund of SR1 million ($266,632) distributed among three to 10 artists and collectives from across the Arab world. In a tightly curated show, the artists showcased their work, made this year according to the theme of Saraab, which means mirage in Arabic. Noteworthy was how the works examined the relationship between movement, memory and ideas pertaining to what is visible and invisible.

This year’s recipients included Saudi artists Abdulmohsen Albinali and Juri Alfadhel; M’hammed Kilito from Ukraine, Athoub Al-Busaily from Kuwait, and Rawdha Al-Ketbi and Zeinab Alhashemi from the UAE.

Alhashemi presented “The Grid,” a powerful series of six steel beam sculptures recreating the cylinder pipes found in Prince Faisal bin Fahd Fine Arts Hall. The gold and black cylinders, some standing tall and erect while others curving over, featured black claps on the interlocking beams, making the piece almost akin to jewelry pieces. They are, emphasized the artist, an attempt to play on the visibility and invisibility of the pipes, almost as if to say that the objects surrounding us are more prominent and crucial than we might think.

“Cylinders don’t seem to be invisible, but when people are looking at the art, they don’t seem to notice them or they act like they don’t see them in a way,” Alhashemi told Arab News.

“I wanted to dive deeper into the meanings behind the grids and also how different artists have used them in the past like Agnes Martin,” she added.

“To her, the grid was very meditative, and it was a way of applying some sort of harmony to her horizontal and vertical lines,” she said.

As visitors come and go from the venue, they pass the exhibition Azeema, which means “invitation” or “getting together” in Arabic. Inside are works by a range of Gulf or Khaleeji creatives reflecting on hospitality’s historical and cultural importance in the region. Videos, installations, photography and paintings showcase the persistence of collective gatherings, sharing and shared memories. On show are pivotal works such as Saudi artist Filwa Nazer’s “The Family Series,” dating to 2015, featuring cutouts superimposed over the artist’s family portraits.

There are images of weddings by acclaimed Saudi photographer Tasmeen Alsultan, paintings by Emirati artist Khalid Al-Banna — his vibrant mix of paint on his colorful abstract canvases is akin to a dynamic social gathering — and Elham Aldawsari’s photographs titled “Subabat” (2020) capture her research into the history of Saudi women hospitality workers.

Aldawsari’s large photographs greet visitors at the entrance just as a subabat — women who serve drinks and food at all-women events — would do. The artist, who grew up during the 1990s during a time when the internet was not readily available in the Kingdom, showcases the memories and stories of these women who have watched, through their personal and professional lives, while always serving others, the myriad changes that have shaped their country over the last few decades.


THE BREAKDOWN: Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her FIFA World Cup art, ‘The Choice IV’ 

THE BREAKDOWN: Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her FIFA World Cup art, ‘The Choice IV’ 
Updated 08 December 2022

THE BREAKDOWN: Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her FIFA World Cup art, ‘The Choice IV’ 

THE BREAKDOWN: Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her FIFA World Cup art, ‘The Choice IV’ 
  • The Saudi artist discusses her 2005 photograph, recently displayed on one of the FIFA World Cup art water bottles

DUBAI: In her own words, Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her 2005 photograph, recently displayed on one of the FIFA World Cup art water bottles:

Photography was the first medium that I worked with as an artist. I made my series “The Choice” 20 years ago. I was still an employee of Aramco at the time and it was five more years before I decided I was going to be a full-time artist.  

Photography is direct. You look at the image and that’s your engagement. The idea, always, was to connect to my community through my art with a conversation with a viewer and not become static. That’s why I moved from digital photography to darkroom printing. You’re printing with your hands, moving the picture to get the right light on it, and I felt darkroom printing was very tactile.  

Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan. (Photo by Harriet Hill)

I felt an urge to express myself at that point. There were no galleries, museums, no art ecosystem — nothing. I was quite young, a working woman, and a woman’s status was quite difficult in Saudi Arabia. One of the activities we were excluded from was sports. I consider this work a participatory artwork, because the women that were photographed were not just models, they were actual participants. The woman is a young Saudi and she’s always played excellent football, but she never played football in Saudi and never pursued a career in sports, because the opportunities were so limited, even abroad. Women were not encouraged to play soccer.  

The reason it was posed showing only half her face was because, at that moment in time in Saudi Arabia, a woman’s face was a taboo. I was very worried about showing a woman’s face. I wanted to add the element of traditional jewelry as an interruption; it was just so out-of-place. 

There needs to be a closer look at traditions that are truthfully good ones and that work within today’s society. You can see a glimpse of what it means to be a woman and how it’s changed significantly over the years. Today, I can speak about the transformation that’s happened with women’s rights in my country. They are part of the parliament, they’re in sports. . . Women’s voices have been heard.  


New independent cinema in Jeddah offers more choice for film lovers

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
Updated 07 December 2022

New independent cinema in Jeddah offers more choice for film lovers

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
  • Opening honors Arab world’s most talented voices
  • Total of 198 seats in main and community sections

JEDDAH: The first Saudi independent cinema house has opened its doors to the public, offering further choice for the Kingdom’s film lovers.

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.

Among those who attended the opening ceremony on Dec. 5 were Hayy Jameel officials including Antonia Carver, director of art Jameel, and Sara Al-Omran, deputy director. Several representatives and participants from the Red Sea International Film Festival were also present including Antoine Khalife, director of Arab programs and film classics at the RSIFF, and famous Egyptian actor Hussain Fahmy.

The occasion was celebrated on Dec 5 and attended by officials of Hayy Jameel, Antonia Carver, director of art Hayy Jameel, Sara Al Omran, deputy director, Art Jameel, Red Sea International Film Festival representatives, Saudi and Egyptian film celebrities and guests, including Antoine Khalife, director of Arab programms and Film Classics at RSIFF and famous Egyptian actor Hussain Fahmy. (AN photo)

Carver told Arab News it was an important moment for Art Jameel because it provides a showcase and training platform for young Saudi filmmakers.

In a statement, she said: “There is no better way to celebrate Hayy Jameel’s first anniversary than with the launch of the much-anticipated Hayy Cinema. This is Saudi’s first bespoke independent picture house, developed with the intent to nurture the local film scene — not only filmmakers but also the audiences who appreciate them.”

FASTFACT

Hayy Cinema’s year-round programming will include Saudi, Arab and international features, shorts and documentaries and is set to host flagship film festivals for all tastes, including for children.

“We believe that Hayy Cinema’s focus on presenting and documenting the great breadth of global cinema, and in tracing the history of cinemas and films from the Gulf, complements the blockbusters of Saudi’s fast-growing commercial scene and government-led industry initiatives.

“With Hayy Arts being a museum space for the visual arts and Hayy Cinema for the moving image, both anchor Hayy Jameel, grounding the complex as Jeddah’s home for creative expression.”

Al-Omran said she was proud to be associated with the launch. “(It) demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Quality of Life Program by enhancing participation in cultural and entertainment activities.”

She said that Hayy Cinema would not only screen films but also provide a space for the training of young creators.

Raisa Lahcine, director of international relations at Louis Lumiere, the major French public higher education provider, who is in Jeddah to attend the RSIFF, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia was making promising infrastructure investments.

“It is nice for such an independent cinema to open here, and I am sure Saudi young filmmakers will benefit from it.”

Ruba Al-Sweel, communication manager at Art Jameel, said the cinema would promote dialogue between members of the local film community and provide opportunities for independent Saudi filmmakers.

Hayy Cinema’s year-round programming will include Saudi, Arab and international features, shorts and documentaries and is set to host flagship film festivals for all tastes, including for children.

The opening program has been co-developed with the RSIFF and celebrates visionaries of Arab cinema’s golden era. This includes a retrospective of five newly restored, groundbreaking films by Egyptian master Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab world’s most internationally celebrated filmmakers.

There is also a rare archival exhibition that highlights renowned photographer Gamal Fahmy’s contribution to filmmaking in the region.

 

 


US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai
Updated 06 December 2022

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

DUBAI: Grammy-nominated US rapper Rapsody has revealed the inspiration behind her stage name as she prepared to perform on Saturday at the Sole DXB event in Dubai.

The 39-year-old, whose real name is Marlanna Evans, told Arab News that American rapper Jay-Z was one of the many musical figures that had influenced her rise to stardom.

She said: “When Jay-Z was a kid, he wanted to expand his vocabulary, so he would read the dictionary. I was just getting into writing my first few raps and was like, I’m going to read the dictionary too.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

“I was in the R section, and I came across rhapsody, meaning poetry spoken with great emotion. And that’s how I perceive music and hip hop: It’s poetry in rhythm. I was like, that’s how I’m going to call myself. I just took out the H and tried to make it my own.” 

Rapsody will be visiting Dubai and the UAE for the first time to take part in the Sole DXB lifestyle and street-culture festival.

“I’m always inspired when I hear music from different regions and countries, especially the culture of hip hop that’s travelled the world and how different people interpreted it and made it their own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

“I want to know their stories: What’s it like to live in Dubai, what does your everyday look like, how do you celebrate? That excites me,” she added.

When Rapsody was growing up, she enjoyed soul music and was introduced to hip hop through her older siblings. Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, and MC Lyte were some of her favorite artists.

During her college years in North Carolina, she recorded her first song, in rap style, in a home studio. It was a turning point in her musical career when she decided to go fully into rap.

The lyrics of her music tap into personal and collective moments, from relationship heartbreak to police brutality.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

She said: “I try to write from an honest perspective, whether it’s my story or stories around me. I live in a very present state. My inspiration is life.”

Her last record release was “Eve,” in 2019. Each track was named after influential black women, including tennis star Serena Williams, and former first lady of the US, Michelle Obama.

She is currently finishing up her new studio album, due for release in the new year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

Rapsody pointed out that there were several components that made up a memorable song.

“The beat must be good. You need hooks that people are drawn into … I think you need good lyrics that people can connect to,” she added.