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)
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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.


Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 
Updated 07 February 2023

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

ABU DHABI: Bollywood has come to the UAE as the Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled its newest art exhibition, on the history of Indian cinema.  

Home to one of the world’s largest film industries, India reportedly releases more than 1,500 genre-varying movies in 20 languages per year.  

“Bollywood Superstars” features a wide selection of paintings, photographs, costumes, tapestries and photographic objects. (Supplied)

Running until June 4, “Bollywood Superstars” features a wide selection of paintings, photographs, costumes, tapestries and photographic objects. A significant number of the displayed items are on loan from the Musee du Quai Branly — Jacques Chirac in Paris, which specializes in indigenous art.  

Indian cinema was developed in the 20th century, but as the exhibition demonstrates, narration and moving images have been present long before the modern era. In a way, the nation’s vibrant visual culture, folk performing arts, shadow puppetry, ancient epics and mythologies — dating back to 2,000 years — led to the birth of Bollywood. Some of the displayed objects represent the celebration and revival of religious, cultural figures, and heroes.   

significant number of the displayed items are on loan from the Musee du Quai Branly — Jacques Chirac in Paris, which specializes in indigenous art. (Supplied)

In the early days, traveling story-tellers roamed around, narrating scenes of important epics. A showcased mid-20th century wooden altar, resembling a toy box, shows on its detailed panels painted characters and scenes from the battle-themed “Ramayana” epic. It almost looks like a contemporary film set, where movement, costume, and staging are in action. 

Other objects reveal deities, taking them out of their temples and closer to worshippers. There is a colorful wooden bioscope that projects with light images of a deity. “Like a music box, a hand crank slides images for viewers to see peering through small peepholes,” reads a label next to the device.  

India reportedly releases more than 1,500 genre-varying movies in 20 languages per year. (Supplied)

Movies arrived in India via the revolutionary French Lumiere brothers, who invented photographic equipment, in 1896. As the years advanced, filmmaking became a weapon against colonial rule, asserting identity. Modern pioneering directors, such as the late Dadasaheb Phalke (dubbed “the Father of Indian Cinema”), were inspired by their own literature and culture, manifesting in their creations.     

The exhibition ends with a presentation of popular Hindi cinema today, witnessing a boom from the 1970s onwards with luminaries Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, and Shah Rukh Khan on the rise. Whether in old or modern times, “Bollywood Superstars” is a reminder of a human need to tell stories. 


Noor Riyadh light exhibition extends until March

Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
Updated 06 February 2023

Noor Riyadh light exhibition extends until March

Saudi artist Huda Al-Aithan’s ‘Numinous Najd’ artwork takes inspiration from the Kingdom’s central region. (Supplied)
  • Massive public interest in the show, say organizers
  • 30 intricate artworks on display at Diriyah’s JAX district

RIYADH: Noor Riyadh, the largest light festival in the world, has extended its accompanying exhibition titled “From Spark to Spirit” until March 10 at Diriyah’s JAX district due to its incredible success, Riyadh Art officials said.

The exhibition, originally set to run until Feb. 4, features innovative work by artists from across the globe in their exploration of three themes — technology, architectonics, and consciousness of light.

Khaled Al-Hazani, executive director for Riyadh Art, said: “‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a beautiful and thought-provoking exhibition that aptly follows the success of the Noor Riyadh festival, which almost tripled in size from the inaugural edition.

Diana Thater’s ‘A Cast of Falcons’ is one of Noor Riyadh’s artworks you can continue to experience until March 10. (Supplied)

“Light is a universally appreciated medium, which is incredibly moving and engaging. But it is perhaps only when you see the range of inspirations within the three themes at ‘From Spark to Spirit’ that you appreciate our relationship with light, which spans from the dawn of times to the digital age.”

The second annual Noor Riyadh festival, held by the first national public art initiative Riyadh Art, has planted light installations across the Kingdom’s capital. It is an initiative to beautify the city under the theme “We Dream of New Horizons,” but now it furthers its seasonal offerings to ensure that art is indeed for all.

“As engaging for the art aficionado as it is for children or first-time art gallery visitors, ‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a wonderful addition to both Riyadh and the Kingdom’s burgeoning art and culture scene and recommended for all,” Al-Hazani added.

American artist Jim Campbell's artwork titled 'Eroding Wave' mimics the movement of swimming through water using clustered LED bulbs, highlighting the cycle of the tides. (Supplied)

At the Riyadh Art hub in the JAX district lies 30 intricate light works, focusing on the role of light in shaping the way we experience the world. Light itself is used as a tool for change in initiating cross-cultural dialogue.

The exhibition showcases works for all ages. From Turkish artist Refik Anadol’s interactive chamber of infinite motion titled “Machine Dreams: Space,” to Saudi Moath Alofi’s flaming light sculpture inspired by the Kingdom’s dormant volcanoes, “Thnan,” visitors can venture into undiscovered worlds.

Neville Wakefield led the curation of the exhibition with Gaida Al-Mogren as associate curator.

The exhibition showcases works for all ages. From Turkish artist Refik Anadol’s interactive chamber of infinite motion titled ‘Machine Dreams: Space,’ to Saudi Moath Alofi’s flaming light sculpture inspired by the Kingdom’s dormant volcanoes, ‘Thnan,’ visitors can venture into undiscovered worlds. (Supplied)

Al-Mogren said: “The journey across the three zones in ‘From Spark to Spirit’ is a dialogue between the generations, lighting up inspirations from both Saudi Arabia and across the world, and from both established and emerging artists. In addition, the exhibition also shines a light on the rapid cultural transformations shaping the Middle East, particularly here in the Kingdom.

“Light is the source of all life on the planet and essential to our health and well-being. ‘From Spark to Spirit’ illuminates how we see distinguishing details, individual colors, movement, brightness and more, and the feedback we have received from the many members of the public attending the exhibit so far has been excellent.”

 


Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman
Updated 07 February 2023

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman
  • Leila Chapman, an expert in narrative experiences at the RCU, said that observing Hinat will provide visitors with an immersive historical experience through insights into the history of the Nabataeans and their civilization

JEDDAH: The facial structure of a 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman from the AlUla region has been reconstructed by experts from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

They used the skeleton of the woman, dubbed “Hinat,” who authorities believed died in the first century B.C. The reconstruction will be displayed for the public in the visitor’s center at the Hegra historical site in AlUla from Feb. 6.

The skeleton was discovered inside a tomb in the UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.

Human remains, skin and hair, along with textiles, leather and other substances were also discovered, as was an inscription that said that the tomb belonged to “Hinat, the daughter of Wahbu.”

Studies confirmed the importance of Hinat’s position in the Nabataean community, as she had possessed sufficient wealth to obtain her own tomb in Hegra.

A number of experts on Nabataean civilization issued a biography of Hinat, equipped with pictures of her clothes and jewelry as a background to her facial reconstruction.

They were joined by a production team with experience in anthropology, reconstruction and physical model-making.

The reconstruction aims to give visitors the opportunity to learn about the ancient history of the region.

Helen McGauran, an expert in organizing heritage exhibitions, said: “The process of restoring Hinat’s facial features combined both scientific accuracy and contemporary artistic development to expand our understanding about the Nabataean civilization, which still offers many secrets and stories, and sheds light on the history of AlUla.”

Leila Chapman, an expert in narrative experiences at the RCU, said that observing Hinat will provide visitors with an immersive historical experience through insights into the history of the Nabataeans and their civilization.

Laila Neamah, co-director of the Hegra project, oversaw the selection of appropriate models for the reconstruction.

The RCU seeks to preserve the heritage of the region, as well as attract visitors and residents.

The commission’s “Journey Through Time” plan involves the launch of the “Kingdom’s Institute” in the Dadan area.

The design of the structure will be inspired by the Dadan civilization.

 


American multinational bank JPMorgan recommends Grand Egyptian Museum in its annual brochure

American multinational bank JPMorgan recommends Grand Egyptian Museum in its annual brochure
Updated 06 February 2023

American multinational bank JPMorgan recommends Grand Egyptian Museum in its annual brochure

American multinational bank JPMorgan recommends Grand Egyptian Museum in its annual brochure
  • The bank’s annual brochure lists suggested recreational, artistic, and cultural activities to enjoy during holidays
  • The brochure mentions that the museum of ancient Egyptian civilization will display the complete collection of the boy king Tutankhamun

CAIRO: JPMorgan Bank is directing its clients toward the Grand Egyptian Museum in its annual brochure.

The publication is distributed to the organization’s distinguished clients around the world.

It lists suggested recreational, artistic, and cultural activities to enjoy during holidays, while highlighting the most important attractions and places around the world.

This year’s brochure includes many locations, and among them is a picture of the soon-to-be-opened Grand Egyptian Museum, accompanied by some information about the attraction.

It says that the museum of ancient Egyptian civilization will display the complete collection of the boy king Tutankhamun.

Ahmed Issa, Egyptian minister of tourism and antiquities, appreciated the bank’s gesture in recommending the museum to its clients.

The museum’s opening is eagerly awaited and it will be considered one of the most important establishments of its kind in the world.

The minister said that its opening date will be decided as soon as possible, adding that kings, presidents, and senior officials from around the world will attend its inauguration.

Soha Ali, CEO of JPMorgan Bank in Egypt and North Africa, held a meeting with Issa recently, and thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for its cooperation, and for providing information on the museum, as well as photographs.

JPMorgan Bank, the largest in the US and one of the biggest in the world, issues its booklet on an annual basis.


Famed historian Lucy Worsley explores Agatha Christie’s life at Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai

Famed historian Lucy Worsley explores Agatha Christie’s life at Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai
Lucy Worsley (center) and Ragnar Jonasson (left) at the Emirates Literature Festival. (Supplied)
Updated 05 February 2023

Famed historian Lucy Worsley explores Agatha Christie’s life at Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai

Famed historian Lucy Worsley explores Agatha Christie’s life at Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai

DUBAI: In a sold-out, hour-long session at the Emirates Literature Festival, British historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley and Icelandic thriller writer Ragnar Jonasson talked about all things Agatha Christie (1890-1976), the venerable British detective author. Actively writing for more than five decades, the best-selling “Queen of Crime” led a remarkable life and career of highs and lows.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucy Worsley (@lucy_worsley)

She taught herself to read at 5 years old, wrote 66 detective novels, surfed in Hawaii, and survived infidelity and a painful divorce. She sold over 2 billion books and was knighted by the queen in her 80s. One can say that Christie was a fighter, and the pen was her weapon of choice.

Both Worsley and Jonasson are long-time admirers of Christie. Worsley has a new biography about the writer, while ever since his teens, Jonasson has translated more than a dozen of Christie’s novels into Icelandic. “You go back to the books again and again, just like comfort reading,” he said.

“Somebody like Agatha Christie can sometimes be put into this box that’s marked with the words ‘difficult women.’ You aren’t immediately likable, aren’t immediately knowable, aren’t all sweet and light,” Worsley told the Dubai audience. “It strikes me that very often when a woman is put into that category in people’s minds it’s because she is breaking the rules as they are perceived for women at the time.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lucy Worsley (@lucy_worsley)

Worsley, who wrote her book during the pandemic, had access to Christie’s family archive and conducted research at her Georgian holiday home in Devon, England. Christie began seriously writing her books in the 1920s, often dubbed the “golden age of crime fiction.” Worsley believes it was the First World War, when Christie was a nurse, that kicked things off for her.

“She turned to writing detective fiction during the quiet hours in the hospital dispensary, when she was waiting for the prescriptions to come in,” she explained. “It was her job to mix up the drugs and produce the medicines (and) poisons that could either save life or take life.”

During her peak years, between the 1920s and 1940s, Christie always seemed to outshine other contemporary crime authors. “She was simply the best one,” said Jonasson, complimenting her genius plots. “The others were writing very good detective stories, but she always had this extra layer of a twist at the end…Her ideas are sometimes so simple that you explain them in one sentence.”

The session also delved into Christie’s personal hardships, including her infamous 1926 disappearance, when she hid away from society for 11 days as a result of her first husband’s adultery. In the later years of her life, suffering from the early stages of dementia, Christie’s books were not as successful as her previous ones.

But there were some positive points too. Her adventurous trips to the Middle East gave the world all-time classics, such as “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express.” It was in Iraq that she would meet her second husband of 40-plus years, archaeologist Max Mallowan. Interest in Christie’s writings remains high, as films and TV shows inspired by her books continue to be in production. Not only do these attract longtime fans but also, and perhaps most importantly, they introduce her work to younger generations.