Saudi artists on show in Sharjah 

Saudi artists on show in Sharjah 
Mohammed Saleem, Abstract Figure, 1997. (Supplied)
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Updated 27 October 2023
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Saudi artists on show in Sharjah 

Saudi artists on show in Sharjah 
  • Artworks from the Kingdom form part of the Barjeel Art Foundation’s latest show 

DUBAI: A new exhibition at Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE called “Parallel Histories” showcases 124 artworks from the Barjeel Art Foundation, known for championing Arab art. The show, which runs until spring next year, includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and tapestries. Featuring near-equal representation of female and male artists, some works are being shown for the first time in Sharjah.  

According to the foundation, the show’s title “references the manifold socio-political events that occurred in the region across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While the multiple histories and diverse experiences encapsulated by works on display were often separated by geography, personal circumstance, national borders, political climate, and various conditions of life, they — like parallel lines — often ran alongside one another, replacing each other with time.” 

A variety of themes are examined, from political conflict to questions of identity. “We hope that the exhibition will inspire viewers to look at the region’s history with fresh eyes, and question how events of the past have shaped, and continue to shape, our reality today,” curator Suheyla Takesh tells Arab News.  

Below, we look at the Saudi artists’ works shown in the exhibition. 

Abdulhalim Radwi 

‘Palestine’ 

A key topic explored in the show is “ongoing political strife, including the question of Palestine for example, and Arab solidarity with the ongoing plight of Palestinian people,” Takesh explains. This painting by the late Makkah-born artist, from 1962, features resistance fighters — some of whom are holding slingshots, while others are about to throw rocks. A figure on the left cries, “God is greater.” Radwi was one of the first artists from the Kingdom to receive a grant from the government to study abroad. His other work often incorporated elements of Saudi desert life, architecture, and folklore.  

Abdulsattar Al-Mussa 

‘Fishermen’ 

During the 1970s, Al-Mussa travelled to Russia to pursue medical studies. But his long-standing interest in the arts meant he changed tack, eventually obtaining an art degree in Moscow, where he took part in his first exhibition. He later moved to Ukraine, where he reportedly made his first mural. Al-Mussa is known for carving everyday scenes onto cardboard, as seen in this solemn black-and-white piece from 1988. According to a statement from Hafez Gallery, he created “drawings of cafés and their employees, as well as the vitality with which they are doing their jobs.” 

Mohammed Al-Saleem 

‘Abstract Figure’ 

Al-Saleem was born in the northern town of Marat in 1939, and was one of Saudi Arabia’s most prolific artists in the Sixties and Seventies. He was reportedly the first to stage an exhibition in Riyadh (in 1967). As a young man, Al-Saleem was educated by Egyptian tutors, who inspired his interest in calligraphy. Al-Saleem had a deep affinity with the desert. He coined the term ‘horizonism,’ depicting evocative Saudi landscapes that also incorporated abstract Arabic calligraphy.” This 1997 work is a prime example of that style.  

Manal AlDowayan 

‘The Emerging #6’ 

AlDowayan’s work often focuses on her fellow countrywomen and the effects on them of the social and cultural transformation the Kingdom has undergone over the past few years. One of her recent motifs is seen in this 2021 work: bent women’s legs. “The Emerging #6” represents “a statement directed at women as they enter the public sphere in Saudi Arabia today,” according to a text published by Art Basel. “In this painting AlDowayan uses the representation of women legs that appear to emerge from the floor. These legs have not fully emerged, just slightly, but they seem ready to kick out to jump through.” 

Nasser Al-Salem 

‘Whoever Obeys Allah, He Will Make For Them A Way Out’ 

Al-Salem is a multidisciplinary artist and architect, who works with neon lights, painting, and sculpture. The written word, especially that pertaining to religion, is at the heart of his practice. “Although you could say my work is very much inspired by my religion, I by no means have a specific audience, and hope that my messages have a spiritual or historical significance for everyone,” he has said. This sculptural work features the title phrase arranged in an abstract form (in Arabic), making the work look like a maze. 

Samer Tabbaa

 

‘Untitled VII’ 

Tabbaa was born in the mountainous Saudi city of Taif. Like many of his contemporaries, he was inspired by the vast openness and mysticism of the desert. “He employs geometry in composing his three-dimensional work, of which ‘Untitled VII’ is a telling example,” notes Takesh. “Taking the shape of upward arrows on one side, and downward ones on the other side, the work resembles a dynamic architectural element, or a stylized totem pole. Set within a group of architecturally-inspired works at the Sharjah Art Museum, it engages in conversation with paintings that tackle the subjects of geometry and space.” 

Alia Ahmad 

‘The Shadow’ 

In this 2021 artwork, Ahmad uses muted tones to create a painting that, according to Takesh, “resembles a tapestry or work on fabric, accentuating a possible reading of it as a mirage or illusory scene.” In her artist’s statement, Ahmad writes that she has been “influenced by an upbringing in Riyadh’s industrial/desert landscape. A majority of my paintings represent different placid dreamscapes, with linear impressions of the Saudi landscape.” Takesh adds that Ahmad “weaves together notions of memory, place, and landscape. . . Her work vividly reflects the ephemeral quality of thoughts, visions, and sensations as translated onto a painted surface.” 


Fashion Trust Arabia celebrates winners at London dinner with Salma Hayek

Fashion Trust Arabia celebrates winners at London dinner with Salma Hayek
Updated 58 min 41 sec ago
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Fashion Trust Arabia celebrates winners at London dinner with Salma Hayek

Fashion Trust Arabia celebrates winners at London dinner with Salma Hayek

DUBAI: Qatar’s Fashion Trust Arabia held a party at Claridge’s Hotel in London on Monday to celebrate its cohort of winners for 2023.

Swedish-born Somali model Ikram Abdi attended the event alongside US Mexican actress Salma Hayek and the prize-winning designers.

Ikram Abdi attended the event in London. (Getty Images)

The organization announced the seven winners of the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize in December.

The usually star-studded awards ceremony was cancelled due to the “ongoing and deeply distressing humanitarian crisis in Palestine,” but a two-day virtual deliberation session was held to find the winners last year.

Womenswear designer Amir Al-Kasm and Renaissance founder Cynthia Merhej jointly won the evening wear category.

The finalists were selected by a panel that included Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and fashion writer Tania Fares, who founded the trust in 2018.

(L to R) Adam Alaoui Elyasse, Lily Max, Omar Taha, Fashion Trust Arabia Co-Founder and Co-Chair Tania Fares, Cynthia Merhej, Ahmed Amer, Katarina Tarazi and Sarah Hermez attend the Fashion Trust Arabia dinner in London. (Getty Images)

Other winners were Lebanon-based designer Ahmed Amer in the ready-to-wear category, British-Lebanese designer Katarina Tarazi in the jewelry category, and design duo of eyewear label A Better Feeling Omar Taha and Lily Max for accessories.

Menswear designer Adam Elyasse took home the Franca Sozzani Debut Talent award and Nigerian designer Adeju Thompson, founder of Lagos Space Programme, was awarded the Guest Country Award.

The sixth edition of Fashion Trust Arabia awards ceremony is set to take place in Marrakech, Morocco, as part of the Qatar-Morocco 2024 Year of Culture.

The event will take place in October, organizers announced on Instagram in April.

“In line with our ongoing dedication to diversity and inclusivity, we’ve selected the lively city of Marrakech as our hosting location,” the statement read. “The FTA Prize 2024 will extend invitations to talents worldwide, as we explore and showcase the diverse cultural heritage of Morocco.

“At the heart of our mission we have consistently championed creative communities across the Arab World and this year is no different,” the statement added.

Fashion Trust Arabia is a non-profit organization that provides financial support, guidance and mentorship to emerging designers from across the Middle East and North Africa region. 

The event is known for attracting industry heavyweights from around the world, with the 2022 ceremony hosting the likes of Bella Hadid, Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kourkova, Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Picciolini, British models Jourdan Dunn and Poppy Delevingne, former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, British actress Jodie Turner-Smith, US model Jasmine Tookes and US Somali model Halima Aden.


Nicole Scherzinger shows off Lebanese gown at Tony Awards

Nicole Scherzinger shows off Lebanese gown at Tony Awards
Updated 17 June 2024
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Nicole Scherzinger shows off Lebanese gown at Tony Awards

Nicole Scherzinger shows off Lebanese gown at Tony Awards

DUBAI: US singer Nicole Scherzinger attended the 2024 Tony Awards in New York on Sunday in a gown by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran.

The pink-hued gown featured a sheer, embellished skirt, with rouching on the hips. Stylist Emily Evans finished off the look with -Cicada and Maison H jewelry.

Nicole Scherzinger showed off a rosy-hued Nicolas Jebran gown on the red carpet. (Getty Images)

Scherzinger — slated to star in a “Sunset Boulevard” revival on Broadway — sang the “In Memoriam” section, the Associated Press reported.

She sang “What I Did for Love” as the names of late Broadway heavyweights appeared, including playwright Christopher Durang and actors Alan Arkin,Glenda Jackson, Louis Gossett Jr., and Treat Williams.

“The Outsiders,” a gritty adaptation of the classic young adult novel, won the Tony Award for best new musical. The win meant Angelina Jolie, a producer, landed her first Tony, too.

Angelina Jolie, a producer on 'The Outsiders,' landed her first Tony. (Getty Images)

“Stereophonic,” the play about a Fleetwood Mac-like band recording an album over a turbulent and life-changing year, won best new play and had the night's most total awards at five. It was written by David Adjmi, with songs by former Arcade Fire member Will Butler.

Two special guests electrified the crowd — Jay-Z and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The latter, a producer of a musical about suffragettes, presented “Suffs.”

“I have stood on a lot of stages, but this is very special,” Clinton said. “I know a little bit about how hard it is to make change.”

In the first musical presentation, Alicia Keys appeared at a piano as the cast of her semi-autobiographical musical, “Hell’s Kitchen,” presented a medley of songs. She sang her and Jay-Z’s 2009 smash “Empire State of Mind,” joining the rapper on interior steps to wild applause, according to the Associated Press.

Later, newcomer Maleah Joi Moon won best leading actress for “Hell's Kitchen,” brushing aside a challenge from veteran Kelli O’Hara. The 21-year-old, who plays a role loosely based on Keys’ life, dedicated her award to her parents.

Jeremy Strong took home the first big award of the night. The “Succession” star landed his first Tony for his work in the revival of Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 political play “An Enemy of the People.”

“Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe cemented his stage career pivot by winning featured actor in a musical, his first trophy in five Broadway shows. He won for the revival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” the Stephen Sondheim- George Furth musical that goes backward in time.


Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign

Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign
Updated 16 June 2024
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Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign

Jessica Kahawaty stars in Charlotte Tilbury fragrance campaign

DUBAI: Lebanese Australian model Jessica Kahawaty has posed in a digital campaign for British luxury cosmetics label Charlotte Tilbury.

The model and entrepreneur stars in a video campaign advertising the brand’s Love Frequency perfume, which is described as a floral woody musk fragrance for women and men.

Love Frequency was launched in 2024 and the fragrance was designed by French master perfumer Anne Flipo. The top note is pink pepper; the middle notes are rose and saffron; while the base notes are musk, amberwood, patchouli and cashmere wood.

Kahawaty took to Instagram to share the sun-drenched campaign video with her 1.5 million followers.

“My love frequency summed up in 1 scent (sic),” she caption the post, which sees the model walking among flowers and tall grasses while holding the pink-hued bottle of perfume.

The model also recently unveiled her latest campaign with Boss. In March, she shared polaroid-style pictures from the shoot with her Instagram followers and wrote: “Double B, Every Me. Because there’s more than one way to be a BOSS.”

In the images, she wore a brown bomber jacket paired with a crisp white shirt, complemented by a black bag adorned with a chunky gold buckle and chain. Her brunette locks were in loose waves.

Earlier this year, Kahawaty took to social media to share images from her collaboration with Italian luxury label Versace for the month of Ramadan, days after the influencer worked on a Ramadan campaign with New York-based label CH Carolina Herrera.

The campaign featured a curated edit of modest wear from the New York-based label, combining distinctive patterns and vibrant color schemes.

The model and restauranteur — she founded Dubai’s Mama Rita eatery alongside her mother — shared a series of images promoting Versace’s Ramadan edit with her Instagram followers. Kahawaty was pictured in a pink floor-length dress with bell sleeves that boasted a neckline adorned with intricate pink, white and silver beads and crystals. Completing the look, Kahawaty is seen clutching a matching mini pink embellished purse while her voluminous brunette locks were styled in a 90s blowout.


Review: Survival game ‘Pacific Drive’ puts the fear back into driving

Review: Survival game ‘Pacific Drive’ puts the fear back into driving
Updated 16 June 2024
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Review: Survival game ‘Pacific Drive’ puts the fear back into driving

Review: Survival game ‘Pacific Drive’ puts the fear back into driving

LONDON: The driving survival game “Pacific Drive” (PlayStation 5, PC via Steam) is set in the eerie landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Developed by Ironwood Studios, it blends driving mechanics with survival horror elements, creating a captivating and challenging experience.

Players navigate a dilapidated station wagon through a hazardous, post-apocalyptic environment known as the “exclusion zone.” This area is cut off from the rest of America by a 300-meter-high wall designed to contain a strange phenomenon called the “instability,” which sees the environment change unpredictably with deadly consequences.

The setting, inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s dense forests and rugged terrain, plays a crucial role in the game. The vehicle is not just transportation but a lifeline; maintaining and upgrading it is essential as players encounter various obstacles and supernatural threats.

The eerie ambiance is further enhanced by the game’s sound design, blending environmental sounds with a haunting score.

Survival in “Pacific Drive” involves scavenging for resources, managing the car’s condition, and making tough decisions about when to push forward or retreat. Resource management is balanced with exploration, requiring players to weigh the risks and rewards of venturing into unknown territories. The narrative unfolds through scattered notes and radio transmissions, providing glimpses into the world’s backstory.

Visually, the game excels with detailed environments and realistic lighting effects. The sense of isolation and vulnerability is palpable as players drive through abandoned towns and desolate landscapes.

With a game time of roughly eight hours, “Pacific Drive” is not without its flaws. The repetitive nature of resource gathering, and vehicle maintenance can become tedious over time.

However, it offers a fresh take on the survival genre with its unique driving mechanics and atmospheric setting. The exploration, strategy, and horror elements make the game a compelling experience for players seeking something different.


‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London

‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London
Updated 15 June 2024
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‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London

‘Bridgerton’ star Simone Ashley flaunts Suzanne Kalan jewels in London

DUBAI: British actress Simone Ashley took to the red carpet at the “Bridgerton” Season 3 - Part Two special screening in London in a diaphanous Del Core dress and sparkling jewelry by Lebanon-born designer Suzanne Kalan.

The drop earrings hail from Kalan’s eponymous brand. Born in Lebanon, the designer has Armenian family heritage and has been creating jewelry for the past 25 years.

Meanwhile, Ashley’s peach-hued dress was plucked from Italian label Del Core’s Fall/ Winter 2024 ready-to-wear collection.

The drop earrings hail from Kalan’s eponymous brand. (Getty Images)

Kalan’s designs have been making the rounds on red carpets as of late. US actress Jessica Chastain sported the eponymous brand’s Bold Burst Rainbow Sapphire Tennis Necklace at the 2024 National Board of Review Gala in New York in January and entertainment reporter Zanna Roberts Rassi showed off a set of rings by the brand at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards in the same month.

Also, US musician Andra Day attended the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala in New York on June 13 in extended hoop earrings by Kalan.

The “Bridgerton” cast has been hitting red carpets around the world to mark the launch of the latest season, which was released in two parts.

Irish actress Nicola Coughlan is the lead star of this season — the lead role in the hit series is revolving and season two saw Ashley take on the mantle of leading lady.

Coughlan chose two Middle Eastern labels for public appearances, including stepping out in a gown by Beirut-based label Sara Mrad at the premiere in Toronto in early June.

Coughlan donned a lavender silk organza mini-dress paired with a red mikado petal-like cape from the designer’s Spring 2024 couture collection. She accessorized with droplet-shaped earrings from London-based Ysso jewelry, which are hand-carved in Greece.

At the show’s premiere in Brazil in May, the actress wore a deep red gown by Lebanese fashion label Azzi & Osta. The gown featured an oversized hood, which she wore over her head, and long gloved sleeves adorned with gold embellishments.