Seventh Misk Art Week explores theme of tradition in Riyadh

Seventh Misk Art Week explores theme of tradition in Riyadh
The theme of this year’s Misk Art Week is tradition, celebrating the richness of the Kingdom’s past and present heritage and culture. (Arab News)
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Updated 07 December 2023
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Seventh Misk Art Week explores theme of tradition in Riyadh

Seventh Misk Art Week explores theme of tradition in Riyadh
  • Event features exhibitions, talks, masterclasses, workshops, performances and an art book fair

RIYADH: Stationed around Prince Faisal bin Fahad Arts Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are numerous pop-up spaces selling artworks and handmade Saudi crafts. Hailing from across the Kingdom, these sleekly presented spaces constitute Misk Art Week’s marketplace, providing a platform for creative professionals across the country to grow their practices while also allowing international visitors to engage with Saudi Arabia’s growing art scene.

One artist has come from Al-Baha in the Kingdom’s Sarawat Mountains to showcase her work while another photographer has traveled from Jeddah. Other local craftsmen and women from around Riyadh smile warmly as they present their crafts — all of which reflect the traditional heritage of Saudi Arabia.

The theme of this year’s Misk Art Week is tradition, celebrating the richness of the Kingdom’s past and present heritage and culture.




The exhibition is curated by Aram Alajaji. (Supplied)

“This year’s edition of Misk Art Week looks forward to celebrating art and artists, presenting rich artistic content for everyone,” Reeem Al-Sultan, CEO of Misk Art Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization under the Misk Foundation, established in 2011 by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, said in a statement. 

“It aims to stimulate and enhance cultural discussions in the region, providing the platform artists need to express themselves amidst the continuing success of the Institute’s programs in contributing to the development of the creative sector in Saudi Arabia and enriching artistic content and production through a range of programs.”

The annual week, now in its seventh outing, is taking place until Dec. 10 and has become a key moment in Saudi Arabia’s cultural calendar. The event features a dynamic program of exhibitions, talks, masterclasses, workshops, performances and also an art book fair. The latter constitutes its largest fair to date and features a range of art magazines and cultural books in both English and Arabic.

Several exhibitions are also being staged during the week. These include “Mirqab,” an exhibition that displays works by artists from Saudi Arabia and across the Arab world who explore the idea of rituals that transcend mere routines and become celebratory events on their own.




Stationed around Prince Faisal bin Fahad Arts Hall in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are numerous pop-up spaces selling artworks and handmade Saudi crafts. (Supplied)

The exhibition is curated by Aram Alajaji.

“These rituals serve as a source of identity, continuity and a window into culture, uniting individuals across time and space through shared traditions and values,” the exhibition text states.

Highlights include Kuwaiti artist Farah Behbehani’s “Light Within the Heart” (2023) a mixed-media immersive installation made with hand-pierced paper, and a digital projection with audio recitation by Saudi singer Rotana Tarabzouni. The work was inspired by a poem by the 12th-century Persian philosopher Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi that explores the essence of divine light.

The work is additionally inspired by the geometric patterns employed in Islamic architecture.

Elsewhere, “The Infinite Now” (2022) is by Jeddah-based artist and poet Sara Abdu and explores, the artist explained to Arab News, “the simple act of creating a simple line. It is based on repetition, it is very ritualistic and I consider it a tool for documenting the infinite now.”




(Supplied)

Positioned opposite “Mirqab,” artists can be found painting, drawing and sculpting throughout the week. A few steps away is a stage where musical and dance performances are taking place each night. Additionally, the Creative Forum, a talks program bringing together art professionals from the country and around the world, seeks to explore ideas relating to art creation and the art scene in the Kingdom.

Upstairs in the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall is an exhibition titled “Tracing the Absent,” celebrating the winners of the fourth Misk Art Grant, with a fund of one million Saudi riyals ($266,632) distributed among five artist from the Arab world.

As demonstrated by the theme of the exhibition, which centers on tradition, the 2023 participants were asked to reflect on notions of tradition, of an Arab’s society’s inherited rituals, practices, stories and ways of thinking, that have changed over time.

The Misk Art Grant recipients this year are Abdulla Buhijji, Hayfa Algwaiz, Hussain Alismail, Maisa Shaldan and Mohamed Almubarak.

In a structure outside the Prince Fahd Arts Hall stands “Tajalat,” an immersive experience converging art, technology and culture. The room, which features live moving projections of the works of 11 Saudi artists, is a wonder in itself, prompting visitors to stay, reflect on the art and experience the colors, lights and forms as they are projected onto the screens. Like Misk Art Week, this experiential exhibition also prompts a sense of community, uniting visitors from all backgrounds and cultures in a common moment of art appreciation.


UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination

UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination
Updated 02 March 2024
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UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination

UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination

DUBAI: British beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury this week responded to claims surrounding the termination of its contract with Bella Hadid, saying that the decision was not based on the US Dutch Palestinian model’s “personal views,” but because she is launching her own beauty brand.

A statement from the company, published in The Independent, said: “Bella Hadid and Charlotte Tilbury Beauty’s professional relationship has come to its end as Bella prepares to launch her own beauty brand.

“It is absolutely not the case that any personal views held by Bella impacted our contract or relationship with her.

“As a female-led business, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty continues to support Bella and looks forward to the exciting launch of Orebella later this year,” the statement added.

Last month, Hadid announced on Instagram that she is launching a brand called Orebella on May 2. 

While details about the brand and its offerings remain under wraps, WWD Magazine reported that Hadid’s trademark filing, dating back to 2022, hints at Orebella’s focus on scent-related products. These may include fragrances, incense, body lotions, oils, shampoo, conditioner and candles. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The model shared a 10-second teaser on Instagram showing a close-up of her face and culminating with the brand’s logo.

Hadid was named the face of Charlotte Tilbury in March 2023. 

Her debut campaign in June promoted the new Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur, a hydrating matte liquid lipstick formulated with hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. She joined a glittering roster that included actress Lily James, and models Jourdan Dunn and Kate Moss. 


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.”