DUBAI: Set to take place from Sept. 28 to Oct.3, Christie’s Middle East and North Africa has announced a new exhibition open to the public of a selection of important works of art from across a number of forthcoming auctions taking place at Christie’s Dubai.
The exhibition, taking place in DIFC, will showcase a selection of top lots, including paintings, works of art and carpets.
One of the highlights at the exhibition includes works from "Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including Oriental Rugs and Carpets" auction. The first item is an exceptionally rare 17th century Royal Mughal Pashmina carpet, from 1650's Northern India. Another piece of interest is a work from a group of Iznik pottery from The Victor Adda Collection – a collector based in Alexandria in the early 20th century.
Also included in the collection are a number of important Old Master and European paintings. These include Sir Anthony van Dyck's "Portrait of Henrietta Maria." In 1632, van Dyck was appointed as ‘Principal Painter’ to King Charles I of Britain.
A number of equestrian paintings, including a work by French artist Theodore Gericault and a racing scene by British master Sir Alfred James Munnings, are being showcased, reflecting the region’s considerable passion for horsemanship in all forms.
“This carefully curated selection of important works on exhibition at Christie’s Dubai reflects the discerning taste of collectors across the MENA region, who appreciate the very best quality, artistry, and extraordinary craftsmanship represented by these works across categories. It is a great honor to be able to showcase these works in Dubai for the first time,: said Arne Everwijn, Director of Business Development Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.
Saudi designers spotlighted at opening night of the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah
Updated 18 sec ago
DUBAI: The second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival kicked off in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday night with stars from across the world descending on the red carpet.
While stars like Sharon Stone, Shah Rukh Khan, Oliver Stone, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and many more graced the red carpet in striking fashion looks, Saudi designers also had their moment to shine at the prestigious event.
Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio dazzled in a blue jumpsuit from Jeddah-based designer Yousef Akbar. She completed the look with with a gold bangle and matching stud earrings. The model has often sported creations from Arab designers. Last month, she wore a lime gown by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad to a holiday brunch in Mexico.
Jomana Al-Rashed, the first Saudi Arabian woman to be appointed CEO of the Saudi Research and Media Group, was spotted posing alongside Hollywood star Sharon Stone, wearing Saudi label Loodyana.
British actress Jacqui Ainsley, known for her role in the 2017 film "King Arthur: legend of the Sword," took to the red carpet wearing US-based label Dazluq, founded by Saudi designer Salma Zahran. Ashley is married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, who was also in attendance.
Honayda Serafi, founder of the Saudi label Honayda, represented her own brand in a striking green ensemble. "Delighted to be attending the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, surrounded by successful talents from around the world, and celebrating Arab artists. A grand event bridging cultures from West to East, bursting creativity and beauty," she posted on Instagram, along with shots of her outfit.
Sofia Guellaty, the founder and editor of Mille World, also took to the red carpet in an elegant gown from Honayda.
Cinematic history in the making as Red Sea International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet
Updated 01 December 2022
Ameera Abid and Lynn Tehini
JEDDAH: Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab stars hit the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea International Film Festival on Thursday, kicking off 10 days of glitz and glamor.
US actress Sharon Stone, British director Guy Ritchie, US icon Oliver Stone, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan all appeared at the event, as did Egyptian icon Yousra, Indian composer A.R. Rahman and Bollywood star Kajol.
They were joined on the red carpet by actress Priyanka Chopra, Egyptian Montenegrin actress Tara Emad, Saudi actress Mila Al-Zahrani and Egyptian star Salma Abu-Deif, as well as Lebanese celebrity designer Zuhair Murad and Lebanese singer Maya Diab.
Shah Rukh Khan was on hand to receive an honorary award for his contributions to the film industry.
This year, the festival is being held in The Ritz-Carlton hotel overlooking the picturesque Jeddah Waterfront. Filmmakers, actors, directors, and the cohort of professionals who keep the wheels of the cinematic industry turning all came together for a sparkling night.
Mohamed Diab, an Egyptian screenwriter and the director behind Marvel’s “Moon Knight,” spoke to Arab News on the red carpet about the importance of the festival.
“This is a light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of people. I think for young film makers having something outside the commercial aspect of film making (is important). If you are Saudi or Egyptian and you do something commercial you can make it but if there is something international or a passion project that you believe in that is not something you can get funding (for) easily, I think there is opportunity for you here.”
He also spoke about 2022’s “Moon Knight,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Arab story.
“I saw how it inspired the Arab youth so I want to repeat that again. I am opening so many doors and I am very happy about that,” he said.
Saudi Director and actor Ibrahim Al Hajjaj, who has two films screening at the festival this year, said: “I’m really happy to be here, super excited that I have two movies in this edition. I am excited and I hope people do like the film,” he said of “Sattar” and “Khallat Plus.”
For her part, Indian actress Shabana Azmi shared her excitement about the festival’s opening film, “What Has Love Got To Do With It?”
“It’s a huge honor and I am very excited, and I had never known or dreamt that such a day would arrive and that’s why it is very exciting and I do hope people love the film as much as we were excited making it.”
“We have very great actors and directors and that is why I hope tomorrow’s cinema will be all encompassing, all embracing, all inclusive, we no longer can live in the divide between the West and the East. We need to become a global village and art is the way you can do it,” she added.
This year’s theme is “Film Is Everything,” which celebrates movies not just as means of entertainment but as a tool that brings cultures together, allows young creatives to express themselves, and gives people the opportunity to grow.
The festival is divided into 11 sections designed to showcase Arab and international cinema, as well as television and VR. The sections include Competition, Shorts Competition, New Saudi, International Spectacular, Arab Spectacular, Festival Favorites, Virtual Reality, Treasures, Families and Children, New Vision, and Series.
The festival is set to showcase 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries, in 41 languages, made by established and emerging talents. Seven feature films and 24 shorts from Saudi Arabia will also be shown.
US Levantine artist Sarah Awad: ‘What’s exciting about painting is the sense of the unknown’
The Los Angeles-based painter discusses her first show in the Middle East
Updated 01 December 2022
DUBAI: Los Angeles-based painter Sarah Awad was born to a Lebanese-Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. Despite her Levantine-Arab roots, however, she only made her first visit to the Middle East in November, to install her show at The Third Line in Dubai, “Rainbow Clearance and Other Paintings,” which will occupy the gallery’s two floors until Dec. 16.
“The thing that really struck me about Dubai was the international community and how vibrant and diverse it is,” Awad tells Arab News. “People are really hospitable, warm and engaged. They come and they participate. It feels small, because everyone knows each other and supports each other.”
Awad has been interested in art since childhood. “Art education in the States is not great and my family are not artists, but my mom always exposed me to creative projects,” she says. “For some reason, when I was a kid, I knew I was going to be a painter.
“I don’t think I can imagine doing anything else. I think painting is both a joy and a gift, and also a source of tension, because there’s always a sense of not being satisfied or feeling like there’s still questions and something unresolved,” she continues. “I think what is exciting to me about painting is the sense of the unknown. To make a great painting, you have to experience not knowing.”
The works in the exhibition demonstrate Awad’s practice of layering and merging shapes, colors and faces together. The form is free-flowing and bold, marked with thick, fearless brushstrokes. The use of color — she isn’t afraid of juxtaposing light and dark — is a constant theme in her work. “An initial starting point for me is thinking about the palette and color relationships. Sometimes, it doesn’t work,” she says with a laugh.
“I’m really interested in a color that doesn’t feel like it should work but does,” she continues. “It’s all about how they work in relationship to one another. In much of the work, you’ll see a really vibrant, saturated color that is sort of offset by a more neutral color, or a color coming through other colors, carving out its own niche. I like that to be a surprising moment in the painting.”
While the paintings contain elements of abstraction and figuration, Awad refrains from labeling her style. “I don’t have a categorization for it. I think it situates itself along certain lines of questions that painters had, historically, about abstraction,” she says.
“They’re not process-based paintings, but at the same time, they use intuition and language that stems from (abstract expressionists) Helen Frankenthaler or Willem de Kooning — this kind of way of responding to materiality and then imposing a conscious structure to the work. It’s not just about material improvisation, or accident, it’s also about intention,” Awad continues.
At times, it seems as though there may be hidden figures in some of Awad’s work. Some are in intimate conversations, while another is looking straight at the viewer or is lost in thought. Each image seems to have a story of its own.
“I think they’re kind of open-ended. The way that I think about their situating in the painting is often just a gesture,” Awad says. “They’re gestures of intimacy but also of looking — the act of looking. I think that there’s a way in which they ask you to kind of engage with them and the painting.”
In recent years, the contemporary art scene has changed, with large installations and on-site projects that are more likely to get picked up by social media becoming increasingly popular. There is something humble, then, in Awad’s back-to-basics approach to staging her work, allowing viewers to contemplate the images directly and appreciate once again the art of painting.
“I haven’t found a need to do other things,” says Awad. “I find painting to be so challenging as a discipline and so rich that you can stay inside that box for your whole life and still never find the edges of it. I think the reason it feels sort of anarchic in today’s world is that it takes time, and I don’t know if the younger generation is conditioned for that.”
Music producer RedOne scores 2022 World Cup winning song
Single ‘Dreamers’ tops iTunes, Spotify charts
Moroccan-Swede’s hit performed by BTS band
Updated 01 December 2022
LONDON: RedOne, the superstar music producer and award-winning songwriter, is celebrating a major victory off the pitch at the World Cup, with his new single becoming the most successful song of football’s premier event.
The single “Dreamers” of the hit-maker, who has Moroccan and Swedish heritage, was recorded by South Korean boy band BTS member Jung Kook, and is part of the official World Cup soundtrack. It reached No. 1 on the iTunes chart in more than 100 countries and is also No. 1 on Spotify’s chart worldwide.
“The Official FIFA World Cup soundtrack was the brainchild of RedOne, who was appointed Creative Entertainment Executive of FIFA in December 2021,” a FIFA statement said.
“Tasked with forging new and significant connections between football fans, music fans, players and artists, RedOne, who is one of the most influential figures in modern music history, has successfully harnessed his considerable gifts and a network of talent to deliver a project that unites football fans, regardless of where they come from,” it added.
In addition to Jung Kook from BTS, RedOne selected artists including Ozuna and Davido, with whom to collaborate.
RedOne, whose name is Nadir Khayat, said: “First and foremost, I am a huge football fan, so to be part of the World Cup is a profound honor. Music is synonymous with football — the emotion, the passion, the euphoria, the unexpected, the harmonious beauty, even the moments of deep reflection. And like football, music is also a universal language, it can break down barriers and truly unite people.”
As part of the official soundtrack, RedOne released the song “Hayya Hayya” (“Better Together”), which has been rocking stadiums pre-match throughout the tournament.
The track features Afrobeats icon Davido, Qatari sensation Aisha and US breakout artist Trinidad Cardona, and combines influences from around the world including R&B and reggae.
“The World Cup is a festival as well as a competition, so when I signed up with FIFA, I wanted to capture that collective spirit. I had a vision and concept to write and produce the first-ever official soundtrack for the World Cup, collaborating with talent from both the region and from around the world,” RedOne added.
Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla explores grandmother’s journey at art fair
Updated 01 December 2022
DUBAI: In the 1970s, a bold and adventurous young woman from Yemen named Shadia drove by herself across the Arabian Peninsula — from Aden to Kuwait and eventually to the UAE — seeking a better life.
Today, her granddaughter, the Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla, is telling Shadia’s story through a series of figurative paintings that were on display at the 2022 edition of Abu Dhabi Art in November.
“I wanted to go back to my past by looking at the family archives, not just to look at my family background, but also to understand the modern history of the Gulf,” Jaralla tells Arab News.
Jaralla scoured grainy old snapshots of Shadia — with her elegant frocks and striking jet-black hair — taken in several Gulf states, as well as in Cairo, where she studied at a time when her homeland was emerging from British occupation and moving toward becoming a socialist state.
“It’s, like, this lost history that no one talks about. It was so recent,” says Jaralla. “It can be a very heavy subject but talking about it can be a good introduction to have a bit of curiosity of how people lived through those days.”
Despite the political climate in the country, there were some liberties, socially. “When people hear about Yemen, they will have this idea that it’s conservative,” she says. “My grandmother studied outside — like lots of other women — and wore beautiful dresses. It was very normalized. To me, the pictures were shocking, but it was just a different time, that’s why I didn’t understand it.”
Some of Jaralla’s new paintings are based on the photographs, showing Shadia with family and strangers she encountered along her journey. “Even my mom was surprised that she used to go out and talk to people and have fun,” says Jaralla. “I feel that’s what started the whole show, seeing her in Kuwait having fun. She didn’t care if she was surrounded by men or women. She would talk to everyone.”
In one image, a group of people are huddled inside a lime green car. “That was from the Kuwait trip. She was there for work training. Seeing my grandmother driving men in the car was just surreal,” Jaralla says with a chuckle.
One of the show’s key works is “Al Dayan,” inspired by a photo of Jaralla’s grandparents and their children, their heads barely appearing over the bottom of the image. “Her kids’ faces are cropped (out of the photo) and I asked my grandmother why that was,” Jaralla says. “She said: ‘It’s because I got new curtains. I wanted them (in the picture).’ That says a lot about her personality. She has a strong personality. She overpowers everyone around her.”
The exhibition’s color palette is reminiscent of the greens and pinks of the Seventies. Some of them are patterned, a nod to traditional Yemeni embroidery. The faces are portrayed with unclear features, almost fading like a lost memory. “I didn’t focus on the features, so people can relate to it,” explains the artist. “It’s not only about the people in the picture, it’s a shared history.”
In a series she calls ‘City Studies,’ Jaralla depicts the old houses, vernacular architecture, and streets of Abu Dhabi. “I treat houses like portraits,” she says. “I’ll stand in front of a house and I imagine that architectural elements are like clothes. When a person builds his house, he thinks about how he (wants to) represent himself.”
Jaralla, now in her twenties, started painting when she was in engineering school. She was tutored by the Emirati conceptual artist Afra Al-Dhaheri, and is, she says, inspired by contemporary Arab art, particularly established UAE artists such as Mohammed Kazem and Farah Al-Qasimi.
This show was Jaralla’s first time participating at Abu Dhabi Art, which had a notable focus this year on female artists.
“I wanted to show how strong women are,” Jaralla says. “I would say women in the past had different challenges than we are dealing with right now. But I see a lot of strong women every day.”