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
Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar (center) was awarded the Richard Mille Art Prize at the Louvre Abu Dhabi this week. (Stéphane Aït Ouarab)
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Updated 21 March 2023
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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.


Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary

Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary
Updated 02 March 2024
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Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary

Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary

DUBAI: The 17th Art Dubai fair, where more than 100 galleries from around the world put on their best presentations of contemporary, modern and digital art, is open for business.

Non-commercial activities, such as artist talks and children’s programming, have also been organized for the event, which runs from March 1 until March 3.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

Event organizers have reinforced their longtime commitment to shining a light on talent emerging from the Global South, from Latin America to North Africa and the Far East.

“We have our own way of reading what contemporary art is,” the fair’s Spanish artistic director Pablo del Val said. “We exhibit and try to push proposals that are coming from geographies that aren’t the focus in any major art fair in the West.”

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

The concept of healing is the theme of the fair’s contemporary section, featuring paintings, installations, sculptures, textile works, among other artistic mediums. Meanwhile, the modern section pays tribute to regional masters who were active in the 20th century. This year, the focus is on ties between Arab artists and the Soviet Union, where some received their formal education.

An interesting booth at Art Dubai Digital comes courtesy of a London-based design practice, Looty, which is implementing technological means to “digitally take back” stolen African artifacts stored in Western museums. “We were inspired by a fact that comes from the UN: 95 percent of African culture and heritage is held outside of Africa. Hearing that shocked us and also inspired us,” Looty’s co-founder, Ahmed Abokor, told Arab News.

With their faces covered in masks, Abokor and his gallery partner Chidirim Nwaubani went inside London’s British Museum, committing a “digital heist,” in which they 3D-scanned African artifacts with their phones and iPads. “It’s symbolic,” said Abokor. “We incited a bit of worry, probably, but we didn’t actually take anything. We actually did our due diligence, speaking to lawyers three months before we went in there. We didn’t want to do anything illegal.” At the fair, a handful of Benin statues are displayed in eye-catching 3D hologram presentations.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

Meanwhile, in the contemporary section, Dubai’s Tabari Art Space is returning to the fair with an all-women booth, showcasing colorful works on paper, paintings and stitched pieces, exploring themes of the land and the body, by Levant and Gulf artists Tagreed Darghouth, Maitha Abdalla, Chafa Ghaddar, Hana Almilli, Miramar Al-Nayyar and Aya Haidar. “Corporeal: Lands Through The Female Gaze” is the title of the overall exhibit, envisioned by the gallery’s founder, Maliha Tabari, who, in her own words, “wanted to do something different.

“We’re female-led as a gallery,” Tabari told Arab News. “In these past three years, we naturally picked up many female artists from this part of the world because we want to represent them ... The woman in our region is strong and we wanted to show her strength.”

At a time of continuing violence in Gaza, some fairgoers expressed their solidarity by wearing Palestinian-inspired garments, such as the black-and-white “keffiyeh” headscarf. Based between Dubai and Ramallah, Zawyeh Gallery, specializing in showcasing emerging and established Palestinian artists, is represented at the fair. At its multi-artist booth, the Palestinian painter Khaled Hourani is showing a series of watermelon images (many of which have been sold). The fruit, bearing the same colors as the Palestinian flag, has become a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

From Marrakech, Comptoir des Mines Galerie is presenting a selection of works by Moroccan artists who use natural materials, such as soil and metal, in their creations. In particular, a standout work comes from French-Moroccan artist Sara Ouhaddou, who juxtaposed geometrical pieces of tinted Iraqi glass into a large circular form made of wood. The work, entitled “Time is still long — beyond our perception” is partially about regional artisans and how the cultural legacy of hand craftsmanship is being lost.

A number of the older generation of artists are also represented at Art Dubai by nine galleries, hailing from Beirut, Dubai, Kampala, London, among other cities. Jeddah’s Hafez Gallery is showcasing one large, vibrant painting by the Yemeni artist Hakim Al-Akel, who was born in 1965. Entitled “Dialogue in the Market,” the highly patterned painting was created in 1991, portraying a leafy scene populated by a few workers and sellers.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

There are also monochromatic works by the Saudi artist Abdulsattar Al-Mussa, who formerly lived in Russia and Ukraine. Being away from his homeland inspired him to make images that were based on his memories.

“I think it’s important to show Abdulsattar at Art Dubai because he has had a lot of success abroad,” Hafez Gallery’s curatorial director, Alexandra Stock, told Arab News, “but it’s very nice that he is having another upwind, a push in the region, that he’s being acknowledged back home.”


The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops

The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops
Updated 02 March 2024
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The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops

The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops

DUBAI: Bravo dropped a brief teaser on Instagram this week for the second season of “The Real Housewives of Dubai,” announcing that the season premiere will air on June 2.

“The drama in this desert is just getting started,” bravo tweeted with the video. “Here’s your first look at Season 2 of #RHODubai.”

The show will once again star season one’s Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks, Sara Al-Madani, Lesa Milan and Caroline Stanbury, who will be joined by new housewife Taleen Marie.

Marie announced in November that she will be part of season two, saying: “I feel so blessed and excited to be a part of the @nbcuniversal and Bravo franchise.”

The 30-second teaser showcased snippets from the series, featuring the housewives raising their glasses in a toast to “new beginnings.” However, the celebratory atmosphere quickly gives way to conflict as tensions escalate within the group.

The full trailer is yet to be released.


Georgina Rodriguez walks for Vetements during Paris Fashion Week

Georgina Rodriguez walks for Vetements during Paris Fashion Week
Updated 02 March 2024
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Georgina Rodriguez walks for Vetements during Paris Fashion Week

Georgina Rodriguez walks for Vetements during Paris Fashion Week

DUBAI: Argentine model Georgina Rodriguez, who is based in Saudi Arabia, experienced an eventful week. She graced the runway for the Swiss fashion label Vetements during Paris Fashion Week and also featured in a campaign for the Arab brand Amara Lenses.

In a striking ensemble, the Netflix star donned a sizzling red dress adorned with the name of her long-time partner, Portugese football star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The top of the dress resembled a football jersey, while the flowing skirt boasted a lengthy pleated train.

The back of her dress bore Ronaldo’s signature, the renowned footballer who currently showcases his skills with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr FC.

Georgina Rodriguez donned a sizzling red dress. (Getty Images)

In a heartfelt dedication, Ronaldo penned: “For the love of my life Gio x Vetements, Cristiano Ronaldo,” adding a personal touch to the ensemble.

The brand’s designer Guram Gvasalia drew out the proportions of clothing for the label’s 10th anniversary catwalk presentation, which brought crowds of celebrities, including Cher.

Russian model Natalia Vodianova opened the show, walking briskly down the red-carpeted runway in a thick, tailored suit with heightened shoulders and bulky trousers, and a fitted, low-cut bustier.

The back of her dress bore Ronaldo’s signature. (Getty Images)

A series of oversize looks followed, including suits in crinkly materials, a long T-shirt with sleeves that splayed out to the side, a hulking camouflage ensemble and jeans with extra fabric that trailed behind.

“The most Vetements show ever,” the label posted on Instagram in the run-up to show. “You’ve been waiting for it for ten years.”

Amara Lenses, whose products are available in the Gulf region, dropped a new campaign featuring Rodriguez.

In the short clip, posted on the brand’s Instagram page on Thursday, the Netflix star was spotted sporting the company’s brown and grey lenses.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Amara Lenses (@amaralenses)

In one shot, she was seen wearing face accessories inspired by the Gulf region’s burqa.

“Introducing our latest collection in collaboration with Georgina Rodriguez,” the brand captioned the post on Instagram.

Rodriguez was named the brand ambassador in March 2023.

“I’m so happy to be the face of Amara Lenses and it’s been wonderful to work with you,” she said in a video shared on the brand’s Instagram page at the time.


Brazil’s Foz do Iguacu, Jordan’s Petra become sister cities

Brazil’s Foz do Iguacu, Jordan’s Petra become sister cities
Updated 01 March 2024
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Brazil’s Foz do Iguacu, Jordan’s Petra become sister cities

Brazil’s Foz do Iguacu, Jordan’s Petra become sister cities
  • This year is 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries
  • Mayor: Brazil seeks to ‘strengthen commercial, cultural, friendship relations’ with Arab states

SAO PAULO: Foz do Iguacu in Brazil and Petra in Jordan officially became sister cities this week.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by Foz do Iguacu’s Mayor Chico Brasileiro and Maen Masadeh, Jordan’s ambassador to Brazil.
The ceremony took place at the Palacio Cataratas, the city hall headquarters in Foz do Iguacu.
The MoU consolidates a partnership that promises to strengthen cooperation in various areas such as culture, local economic development, public services and social policies.
“In 2024, we celebrate 65 years of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Jordan, and signing this document … means that we (Foz do Iguacu and Petra) are aligned with foreign policy,” Masadeh said.
The process began in 2018 when the Foz do Iguacu city hall expressed its interest in establishing ties with Petra, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Wonders of the World.
Foz do Iguacu has one of the seven Natural Wonders, the Iguacu Falls, and one of the Wonders of the World, the Itaipu Dam.
“We are very excited about this partnership,” Brasileiro said at the signing ceremony. “This is a strategy of Brazil, to … strengthen its commercial, cultural and friendship relations with Arab countries.”
The first concrete step toward implementing the MoU took place on Thursday with the opening of the exhibition “City of Petra, Jordan” at the Cultural Foundation in Foz do Iguacu.
The free exhibition, which will continue until the end of March, portrays the historical and archaeological richness of Petra in southern Jordan, with stunning images, authentic artifacts and detailed information.
“The presence of this exhibition in our city is not only a celebration of the history and beauty of Petra, but also a bridge that connects our communities in a special way,” said Juca Rodrigues, president of the foundation.
“Cultural diversity is a treasure that should be shared and appreciated by all, and this exhibition is a crucial step in that direction.”
Jihad Abu Ali, director of international affairs in Foz do Iguacu, said: “This is a moment of joy and fulfillment, as we see the materialization of the fruit of a collective effort to promote cultural understanding and friendship between our communities.”


AlUla gets its very first global campaign, ‘Forever Revitalising’

AlUla gets its very first global campaign, ‘Forever Revitalising’
Updated 01 March 2024
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AlUla gets its very first global campaign, ‘Forever Revitalising’

AlUla gets its very first global campaign, ‘Forever Revitalising’

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s ancient city of AlUla is launching its first-ever global marketing campaign.

Revealed on Feb. 29 with launch events in six major international cities — Dubai, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Mumbai — “Forever Revitalizing” is being described as a “data-driven endeavor” that aims to redefine tourism in the region.

Melanie D’Souza, executive director of destination marketing at The Royal Commission for AlUla, described the new brand campaign as a “transformative moment” for AlUla as it looks beyond the historic site’s travel potential to spotlight the programs and initiatives designed to “create a better future for all those who live, work and visit our ancient oasis.

“This initiative redefines AlUla as more than just a travel destination by emphasizing its profound heritage, breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural tapestry, presenting a holistic view that transcends the conventional,” she told Arab News in an email interview.

As AlUla’s first-ever global marketing campaign, “Forever Revitalizing” has been launched with the goal of transforming the city into a world-renowned heritage and cultural destination.

“At its core, ‘Forever Revitalising’ aims to drive visitor numbers and spur economic prosperity by showcasing AlUla’s comprehensive revitalization efforts. From ecological restoration projects within nature reserves to the rejuvenation of age-old crafts and traditions, and the advancement of local skills and cultural enrichment, the campaign positions AlUla as a pioneering figure in the creation of an experience-driven economy,” said D’Souza.

AlUla Old Town. (Supplied)

The new campaign coincides with a significant increase in visitor numbers to AlUla, rising from 185,000 in 2022 to 263,000 last year, she added.

Additionally, the share of international visitors increased from 25 percent to 35 percent, reflecting the destination’s growing global appeal.

“This aligns with AlUla’s strategic vision for ‘light touch tourism,’ aiming to attract 1.1 million visitors by 2030, while steadfastly maintaining its commitment to sustainability and preserving the destination’s integrity,” she said.

Hegra AlUla. (Supplied)

The campaign is specifically targeting four kinds of travelers: The luxe seeker, wanderlust nomad, intrepid voyager, and affluent and active retirees. This highlights AlUla’s amibition to remain a luxury destination.

“Modern tourists, increasingly disillusioned with overcrowded and inauthentic destinations, seek authentic, meaningful connections. They prefer destinations that offer a genuine sense of place, sustainability and social responsibility — qualities that AlUla has been promoting since opening its doors to the world three years ago,” said D’Souza.

The recently opened Dar Tantora The House Hotel in AlUla Old Town is a promising new addition to the area, D’Souza said.

The hotel was designed by Egyptian architect Shahira Fahmy.

Fahmy, who was selected by The Royal Commission for AlUla, and her team restored 30 buildings in the historical village. They turned multiple old two-story mud-brick buildings into the boutique hotel.  

The architect previously told Arab News that the early inhabitants in the city used the ground floor as a workplace and to meet with family and friends, while the first floor was for bedrooms and bathrooms.  

People who lived in the city 800 years ago whitewashed the interior walls and adorned them with red and blue murals, Fahmy said. Her team managed to preserve the existing designs in collaboration with the archaeological team. 

Banyan Tree Resort AlUla Canyon Pool. (Supplied)

“This boutique hotel revitalizes the ancient mud-brick structures of Old Town, which was continuously inhabited since the 12th century until the 1980s. It stands out for its commitment to cultural preservation, employing local artisans for restoration efforts and showcasing the area’s rich heritage through traditional decor, furniture and artistic treatments, complemented by storytelling elements that bring the intangible heritage of the area to life,” she added.

Looking ahead, three new luxury hotels are all set to open in AlUla.

“The Sharaan Resort by Jean Nouvel, inspired by ancient Nabataean architecture, promises to blend seamlessly with the Sharaan Nature Reserve’s landscape, embodying innovative design while respecting the environment,” said D’Souza.

“The Chedi Hegra is another milestone, positioned within Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. Opening in mid-2024, it will offer guests unparalleled access to the historic site, featuring guest rooms with views of Hegra’s monumental landscape, an International Summit Center, hospitality pavilions and private villas,” she added.

In 2027, AlUla will welcome the AZULIK AlUla Resort. “This project, a collaboration between AZULIK and Roth Architecture, will be located in the Nabatean Horizon District, integrating design elements that highlight ancient rock art, utilize natural waterways for irrigation and promote eco-friendly transport to minimize environmental impact,” said D’Souza.