Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions

Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions
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Rand Baniali, 15, modeled three different outfits from designer Salhah Al Shahrani, founder of Therah dresses. (Supplied)
Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions
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Pottery maker Bayan Saud. (Supplied)
Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions
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Hanadi Abu Kasheem featured her Abaq ‘Essence’ brand at the Al Qafila Market. (Supplied)
Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions
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Hailah Al-Enezi, a 60-year-old skilled artisan. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 March 2023

Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions

Heritage village offers glimpses into AlUla traditions
  • The Al Qafila Market offers visitors an eclectic mix of locally made souvenirs and handicrafts
  • Hailah Al-Enezi: Camel racing is part of our heritage and culture, but just as important as camel racing are our traditional arts and crafts

JEDDAH: A heritage village has given visitors to the AlUla Camel Cup venue an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.

The Al Qafila Market offers visitors an eclectic mix of locally made souvenirs and handicrafts.

Hailah Al-Enezi, 60, is from AlUla and is the founder of the Bint Albadiyah label. She sells goods such as sadu carpets, rugs, pillows and cushion covers, and decorations for abayas.

She said: “Events that the RCU are organizing, such as the AlUla Camel Cup, are very important.

“We are given space to sell our wares at the heritage village. Camel racing is part of our heritage and culture, but just as important as camel racing are our traditional arts and crafts.”

Al-Enezi is assisted by her daughter to create goods using camel, sheep and goat wool.

She also helps train youngsters in traditional art, and considers it her duty not to let the old traditions die.

She added: “We have a rich gift in our country, and I will always share my knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.”

Al-Enezi began her work at the age of 12 after learning the techniques from her mother, who in turn had them passed down by her family.

Hanadi Abu Kasheem, who was also born in AlUla, sells her Abaq brand at the market. Products include handmade soaps, creams, candles, lip salve, and henna.

She said: “This is my passion and through this platform I have already had many visitors from outside AlUla buying my products and appreciating them.”

Bayan Saud, 30, is a pottery maker from AlUla selling earthenware coffee cups and decorative vases. She spent two years perfecting her craft at Madrasat Addeera, the art school in AlUla Old Town.

She said: “It is my passion and also an integral part of our culture.

“I find a lot of my work is bought by the younger generation, who are embracing the traditions of the past. It is very interesting to be able to sell our products at the AlUla Camel Cup, which people from all over the world are visiting.”

Alkhobar designer Salhah Al Shahrani is the founder of the Therahdresses label, which specializes in decorated abayas inspired by the mountains of Abha.

She said: “The AlUla Camel Cup has been so good and the heritage village is a good addition for talented people to showcase their work.”

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Sharjah Museums Authority to exhibit replicas of artifacts that blind visitors can touch

Sharjah Museums Authority to exhibit replicas of artifacts that blind visitors can touch
Updated 22 March 2023

Sharjah Museums Authority to exhibit replicas of artifacts that blind visitors can touch

Sharjah Museums Authority to exhibit replicas of artifacts that blind visitors can touch
  • The specialist ‘tactile tours’ will be led by guides with extensive experience of working with visually impaired people
  • The initiative is part of the authority’s efforts to offer more inclusive museum experiences for people with disabilities

DUBAI: The Sharjah Museums Authority is putting on display replicas of some artifacts from its collections so that visitors with visual impairments can touch them.

The specialist ‘tactile tours’ will begin next month, the Emirates News Agency reported. In addition to being able to get their hands on the models of objects as part of the interactive museum experience, visually impaired visitors will also be offered brochures in braille containing additional information about the exhibits.

One of treasures a replica of which has been made is a copy of the Qur’an attributed to Uthman ibn Affan from the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization’s Abu Bakr Gallery of Islamic Faith. It is written in Kufic script on parchment made from animal skins.

Other replicas at the same gallery include a 6-meter-long Kaaba curtain decorated with Qur’anic verses and Islamic patterns, and a Qur’an that is one of the most prominent works by calligraphist Ahmed Karahisari.

At Sharjah Archaeology Museum, the replicas include a 7,000-year-old necklace discovered in Al-Buhais 18 cemetery, and a rectangular, soft-stone box dating back to between 2500 and 2000 B.C.

The tactile tours will be led by guides with extensive experience of working with visually impaired people. More replicas are due to be added next year.

Manal Ataya, the authority’s director-general, said the initiative is in line with the organization’s efforts to support people with disabilities and inclusion.

“At SMA we aim to provide an accessible and more inclusive museum experience for people with all disabilities by offering them equal access to our museums, displays and programs,” Ataya said.

The authority has launched a number of initiatives for people with disabilities in recent years, including an “Autism-Friendly Museums” project in 2018 that was the first of its kind in the Gulf region, according to the Emirates News Agency.


UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza honored at London’s Arab Woman Award

UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza honored at London’s Arab Woman Award
Updated 22 March 2023

UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza honored at London’s Arab Woman Award

UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza honored at London’s Arab Woman Award
  • She was recognized for her philanthropy and her contributions to female empowerment
  • ‘I am proud to represent my country, where women have not had to struggle to obtain their rights’

LONDON: The UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza was honored on Tuesday with the Arab Woman Award at a ceremony in London in recognition of her contributions to female empowerment in the region and her philanthropic efforts in various countries, Vogue Arabia reported.

Sheikha Fatima has been a strong supporter of cultural initiatives, particularly those involving the arts and sports. 

She has endorsed several programs aimed at boosting the cultural scene in the UAE and the region through her role as chairwoman of the board of directors of the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and the Fatima bint Hazza Cultural Foundation. 

Her other accomplishments include increasing access to education in Bangladesh, building schools in Kenya, and forming the Fatima bint Hazza Fund for Emirati women to pursue higher education abroad, Vogue Arabia reported.

She is “committed to enhancing the role of women in various ways, as she is a supporter of sports and arts, and we are honored to bestow her with the Achievement Award in Cultural Development,” the Arab London Foundation said.

The philanthropist has also helped broaden young people’s interest in fields such as art, literature, sustainability and community interaction, Vogue Arabia reported. 

The Fatima bint Hazza Cultural Foundation recently launched a series of short stories for young people focusing on culture, local identity and sustainability

Upon accepting her award, Sheikha Fatima praised Emirati leaders and their efforts to encourage women to pursue their dreams.

“Effective participation and making progress and positive change are the core values that we have been raised on,” she said. 

“I am proud to represent my country, the UAE, where women have not had to struggle to obtain their rights but have always been at the forefront since the establishment of the state.”


Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s explores how an understanding of microbiology can help deal with trauma 

Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s explores how an understanding of microbiology can help deal with trauma 
Updated 22 March 2023

Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s explores how an understanding of microbiology can help deal with trauma 

Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s explores how an understanding of microbiology can help deal with trauma 

DUBAI: The latest exhibition from Los Angeles-based Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman, on show at Dubai’s The Third Line gallery, is called “Gut Feelings: Part II.” The title is both instructive — the majority of works depict a female figure, or figures, with a knot of guts spilling from some part of their bodies — and allusive, as the show is informed by Kahraman’s exhaustive research into the gut microbiome and its effect on our mental and physical health, as well as by her own experiences of trauma. The imagery somehow manages to be unsettling, funny and comforting all at once. 

The most immediate influence from Kahraman’s own life on this body of work was her mother’s diagnosis with lung cancer, which she received in 2018.  

“That’s when I started digging into the biosciences and immunology,” Kahraman tells Arab News. “My mom was a naturopath, she tried a lot of alternative (medicine). If my mom were alive, she would have so much input into this. And it is a way of getting closer to her; it’s all connected to this work.  

“I started with immunology and I was struck by how militaristic the language was. You’re ‘fighting cancer.’ You’re constantly at war with your body, you know? Why can’t we have something that’s looking at it as more of a journey, rather than something you’re fighting against? I really reacted to the semantics,” she continues.  

“From immunology I shifted into microbiology, and that’s where this (show) was born. I really got into a rabbit hole,” Kahraman explains. “There are ecosystems of microbiota all over our bodies; inside, outside, around. There’s something called aura microbiota, so right now, as we’re sitting next to each other, my microbiota is mixing with your microbiota, which is just beautiful if you think of it, because then all of these notions of ‘us and them’ or where I end and you begin — these dichotomies — shatter. I found out — and this was mindblowing — our bodies have a 1:1 ratio of human cells and microbial cells. So where do ‘you’ start and where do ‘you’ end? You’re equally other: microbe, germ, dirty. As somebody who’s been an immigrant, a refugee, ‘othered’ in so many ways, I’m constantly thinking about difference. So with the microbes, it was, like, ‘Ooh, these are my friends.’” 

Hayv Kahraman, Feeding on entanglements, 2022. (Supplied)

Kahraman was born in 1981 and grew up in Baghdad. Her mother worked for the United Nations and her father was a university professor. “My parents were very liberal. We had a little playroom in our home that we could paint all over; walls, ceiling, doors. That was very empowering. That room was filled with all kinds of stories — our concerns, things that we wanted to celebrate,” she says. 

Her parents also hosted regular soirees attended by Iraqi creatives. “I’d sit in the room next door and do these quick gestural paintings, and every now and then one of these creatives would come in and look at my painting and give me a mini critique. And that was amazing; to get that from multiple voices,” she says. “That was pivotal to my life.” 

The family fled Iraq to Sweden when Kahraman was 10, after the first Gulf War. They arrived as undocumented refugees and were eventually granted asylum. “I went through a process of assimilation when I arrived; I wanted so desperately to belong and become Swedish,” she says. “And when that happens to you, you’re robbed of who you thought that you really were; whatever that is. I did everything I could to become Swedish; dyed my hair, had a perfect accent, so I didn’t sound like an immigrant. And that’s a very violent thing to undergo, because you really are erasing something. This is something I revisit in my work all the time; I’m so concerned with not being erased. ‘I’m here. I exist. Listen to me. Hear me. See me.’”  

Hayv Kahraman, Neurobust, 2022. (Supplied)

That, she says, is why the female figure in “Gut Feelings: Part II” has been recurrent throughout her work. It was first created in Italy, where she moved to intern as a librarian at an art school. There have been many “transmutations” of the figure, however. In 2007, for example, at the height of Iraq’s sectarian violence, when thousands of people were dying there each day, Kahraman had just moved to Phoenix, Arizona. “I was consumed by guilt, being in this country that was currently at war with my own. So the work was very violent — you had women setting themselves on fire, women hanging themselves...” She was also in an abusive relationship at the time, although she says it took her many years to realize it, “but it came out in the work.” 

Having lived through so much trauma, it’s unsurprising that Kahraman describes herself as having a tendency to be “very dark” and to regularly become obsessed with certain topics (such as microbia).  

“If I could, I would just live in my obsessions,” she says. “My work is about working through things — trauma and those obsessions. Why am I obsessing about the microbiome, and health, and torshi (fermented beetroot, which features heavily in the show, and is rich in ‘good’ bacteria)? My mom used to make torshi when we were kids and we used to paint with it. I didn’t consciously link it at first. The academic research came before, and then I’m like, ‘Oh my god. Yes. That’s why I’m here…’” 

She stresses, however, that as much as her art doubles as therapy, it also brings her joy. And there is lightness in the exhibition too — the comic book-style gut-spillage has a certain humorous appeal.  

“I am trying to channel that levity. I think I’ve got a nice balance between the really grotesque and… I wouldn’t say beauty, because that’s subjective. I’d say, connection, maybe,” she says. “I wanted the audience to walk in and feel like they’re inside the body and that it’s comforting and that there’s compassion and healing and that it’s a safe space.” 


Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar awarded Richard Mille Art Prize at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar awarded Richard Mille Art Prize at Louvre Abu Dhabi
Updated 21 March 2023

Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar awarded Richard Mille Art Prize at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar awarded Richard Mille Art Prize at Louvre Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar has been awarded this year’s $60,000 Richard Mille Art Prize in a ceremony held at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The award, held jointly by the museum with Swiss watchmaking brand Richard Mille, was given to the multidisciplinary artist who lives in Abu Dhabi.

The artist won for “Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings” (2019–ongoing),  which was put on show during the Art Here 2022 exhibition in October.

 “I am grateful to be recognized amongst a group of peers for whom I have deep respect and admiration. The Richard Mille Art Prize represents a significant investment in the growth and development of an artist’s practice, instilling both the capacity and drive to forge ahead in their pursuit. I would like to thank Louvre Abu Dhabi and Richard Mille for their generous support, and acknowledge the esteemed jury for their trust,” Jabbar said in a released statement.

To date, the artist has had her work exhibited at Shubbak Festival (UK), SAVVY Contemporary (Germany), Rabat Biennale (Morocco), Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans (France), Abu Dhabi Art, Jameel Arts Centre, NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, and Warehouse 421 (UAE).

The museum also revealed the theme for the upcoming third edition of the Richard Mille Art Prize as “Transparency.” Curated by Maya El Khalil, the open call for the upcoming edition will begin on March 30.


‘It will blow your mind,’ US actor Rob Lowe says of Egypt trip

‘It will blow your mind,’ US actor Rob Lowe says of Egypt trip
Updated 21 March 2023

‘It will blow your mind,’ US actor Rob Lowe says of Egypt trip

‘It will blow your mind,’ US actor Rob Lowe says of Egypt trip

DUBAI: US actor Rob Lowe is the latest Hollywood celebrity to visit Egypt.  

The filmmaker and podcast host shared pictures from his trip to the country this week. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rob Lowe (@roblowe)

“Spent some quality time in this tomb today with the boy king himself! Tutankhamen’s body was only unwrapped last year,” Lowe wrote to his 1.9 million followers, sharing a picture of himself inside the tomb.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rob Lowe (@roblowe)

He also posed for pictures in front of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids of Giza.  

“Nothing can prepare you for Egypt. No matter how many photos you’ve seen or books you’ve read, it will blow your mind. And the people were amazing,” the actor wrote on Instagram.  

Lowe is not the only celebrity to visit Egypt in recent years. He is joined by John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Kourtney Kardashian, Will Smith, Jason Derulo and more.