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.


Review: Jeremy Paxman’s ‘A Life in Questions’ is a humorous take on a media icon’s life with lessons to learn

Review: Jeremy Paxman’s ‘A Life in Questions’ is a humorous take on a media icon’s life with lessons to learn
Updated 20 February 2024
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Review: Jeremy Paxman’s ‘A Life in Questions’ is a humorous take on a media icon’s life with lessons to learn

Review: Jeremy Paxman’s ‘A Life in Questions’ is a humorous take on a media icon’s life with lessons to learn

RIYADH: In his 2016 memoir, “A Life in Questions,” Jeremy Paxman, the prominent British journalist and presenter, outlines how he has been inquisitive his entire life.

The autobiography uncovers Paxman’s early years, interviews with prominent figures, insights into journalistic integrity, political engagement, and the power of asking the right questions.

Paxman takes a humorous approach in recounting past experiences, notably an incident involving Marks & Spencer underwear. He described an occasion when he put his leg through his briefs, causing the elastic to detach from the cotton.

Paxman asked the other people in the gym: “Any of you blokes had any trouble with pants?" His concerns about the quality sparked a media frenzy, resulting in an abundance of underwear being sent to him, even from strangers.

The book showcases Paxman’s recollections over four decades of journalism. However, when considering his interviews, I hoped for more insights into his technique and style. Renowned for his unconventional approach, his interviews often left interviewees feeling unsettled or nervous, as if they were “quaking in their boots.”

At times, the narrative becomes monotonous, particularly in sections where Paxman delves into less compelling aspects of his career, making the reading experience somewhat laborious.

However, Paxman’s recounting of iconic interviews and behind-the-scenes anecdotes kept me from looking away. A notable interview showing his commitment to getting answers, which was widely praised, took place in May 1997, where Paxman questioned former Home Secretary Michael Howard a total of 12 times about his potential overruling of the head of the Prison Service, Derek Lewis.

The writing style can feel a bit disconnected, shifting between different times in Paxman’s life with abrupt transitions. This might make it a little harder to follow his story. Paxman’s memoir might be more relatable to those familiar with the UK’s political and cultural scene, as it assumes a certain level of knowledge about the figures and events discussed.

Learning from Paxman’s methods can help journalists develop their own style and ensure that they can engage with and extract valuable information from interviewees.

Overall, “A Life in Questions” is recommended for those fascinated by unconventional interviewing styles. It not only tells stories but also acts as a guide for journalists seeking to enhance their interviewing skills.


Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla to add music studio to production lot

Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla to add music studio to production lot
Updated 20 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla to add music studio to production lot

Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla to add music studio to production lot

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla is adding a music recording studio to its production lot in June.

Film AlUla’s current production facility includes a 30,000-square-foot soundstage, backlot, production support buildings, workshops, warehouses, recording studio and training and rehearsal space.

AlUla is also home to the mirrored Maraya concert hall, a multi-purpose venue that plays host to international concerts.

The film commission will inaugurate a recording studio with audio and recording equipment comprising a control room and two soundproof booths that can be used by individual artists, choirs, rehearsals for film score production, music videos and orchestral work, Variety magazine reported.

Film AlUla’s Executive Director Charlene Deleon-Jones commented on the upcoming opening, saying: “Following the successful launch of our film studios last year, we are continuing to strategically expand the complex and become a one-stop destination for creatives, with the recording studio being a natural next step in this vision.

“We are delighted to welcome artists starting from June whom we have no doubt will be inspired by the magnificent surroundings and heritage that AlUla has to offer while making the most of our cutting-edge facilities to create magic,” she added, according to Variety magazine.

Previous Hollywood productions shot in AlUla include the Gerard Butler-led action-thriller “Kandahar,” directed by Ric Roman Waugh, and “Cherry,” starring Tom Holland and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.

The news comes after December’s Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah saw global media company Stampede Ventures announce further films in its 10-movie partnership with Film AlUla.

Hollywood movies “Fourth Wall” and “Chasing Red” are set to be filmed in AlUla in 2024 as part of a 10-project deal between Film AlUla and Stampede Ventures, in addition to the previously announced feature “K-Pops!”

There will be emphasis on using Saudi talent during the production process, Deleon-Jones told Arab News at the time, adding: “One of the most significant parts of what we’re doing is the training and development, because this gives us an opportunity to really develop below-the-line crew in somewhere like AlUla, where traditionally the main careers open to you would have been agriculture. We have a young working population who are vibrant and digitally engaged somewhere which is seen as one of the more remote places, (and now) you have this whole new exciting career path.”


First film announced as Saudi Arabia launches Big Time Investment to fund Arab productions 

First film announced as Saudi Arabia launches Big Time Investment to fund Arab productions 
Updated 20 February 2024
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First film announced as Saudi Arabia launches Big Time Investment to fund Arab productions 

First film announced as Saudi Arabia launches Big Time Investment to fund Arab productions 

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Mona Zaki is set to star in a film portraying the life of legendary singer Umm Kulthum, which is the first film in a slate of productions as Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority announced the launch of a film fund named Big Time Investment, aimed at fostering the production of Arabic cinema.

The inaugural project under this initiative will be a biopic celebrating the life of Egyptian legend Umm Kulthum, who was referred to as “The fourth pyramid” by Arabs, as well as “The star of the East,” “Mother of the Arabs” and “Lady of Arabic Song.” 

Egyptian filmmaker Marwan Hamed has been tapped to direct the film titled “El Set,” with acclaimed Egyptian actress Mona Zaki set to portray Umm Kulthum.

The announcement regarding the fund took place in Cairo, where Turki Al-Sheikh, the chairman of the GEA, disclosed that the authority would serve as the main sponsor of the approximately $130 million fund. 

The Ministry of Culture will act as a co-sponsor, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency. Several  Saudi companies will also contribute to the fund, including Sela Studio, SMC Company, Rotana Audio Visual Co., and Benchmark Company.

The fund aims to germinate roughly 20 Arabic titles a year.


Model Nora Attal shows off winter fashion on the Burberry runway

Model Nora Attal shows off winter fashion on the Burberry runway
Updated 20 February 2024
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Model Nora Attal shows off winter fashion on the Burberry runway

Model Nora Attal shows off winter fashion on the Burberry runway

DUBAI: British Moroccan model Nora Attal made an appearance at London Fashion Week, after hitting the runway in Paris and New York in recent weeks.

Attal walked in British luxury label Burberry’s Fall/Winter 2024 show.

The fashion house’s creative director Daniel Lee this week showed his third brief at London Fashion Week, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, with an ode to the brand’s outdoor heritage.

The 24-year-old model strutted down the star-studded catwalk in a cream-colored calf-length coat. (Getty Images)

Set in a dark marquee in London’s Victoria Park where guests sat on big fluffy brown cushions, songs from late British singer Amy Winehouse set the mood for the night.

The 24-year-old model strutted down the star-studded catwalk in a cream-colored calf-length coat, accentuated with luxurious fur-like detailing on the knees, arms and neckline.

Attal hit the grass runway in an ensemble that was accented with black chunky-soled leather boots and a matching clutch.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Burberry (@burberry)

Other models paraded leather and faux-fur coats in shades of muted green and brown, oversized stripy suit jackets and trousers with zipper detailing.

The show heavily featured outerwear and sporty silhouettes with bomber jackets and Burberry’s iconic trench coat that sat alongside flowy beaded and velvet dresses.

Burberry’s famous beige, black and red check was reimagined into a moody autumnal color palette and featured on the inside of floor-sweeping skirts with long slits down the side.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Burberry (@burberry)

Accessories included checked umbrellas, large canvas, leather and faux-fur bags in cream, brown and green — often adorned with gold detailing — and paired with scarves worn over the head.

British models Naomi Campbell, Agyness Deyn and Lily Cole were among those sashaying on the catwalk.

Saudi film producer and CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation Mohammed Al-Turki attended the show. (Getty Images)

The show was attended by Saudi film producer and CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation Mohammed Al-Turki, actress Olivia Coleman, model Jourdan Dunn and Irish actor Barry Keoghan among others.

This is not the first time Attal has modelled for Burberry. In September 2023, she wore low-waist tailored pants, a cropped printed blouse and a blazer with fur detailing around the sleeves from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection that was also showcased at London Fashion Week.  

Earlier this year, Attal walked the Chanel and Fendi shows during Paris Haute Couture Week.


Hans Zimmer to return to Dubai on May 31

Hans Zimmer to return to Dubai on May 31
Updated 20 February 2024
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Hans Zimmer to return to Dubai on May 31

Hans Zimmer to return to Dubai on May 31

DUBAI: Following the success of “Hans Zimmer Live” in Dubai last year, the multiple Academy Award-winning composer will return to the emirate on May 31 at the Coca-Cola Arena.

Zimmer’s musical legacy, marked by the creation of memorable movie scores, secured him two Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards, along with nominations for three Emmys and a Tony.

With an impressive repertoire, he composed the music for movies like “Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight,” “Gladiator,” “Top Gun Maverick,” “The Lion King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and most recently “Dune” and “Dune: Part 2” — as well as more iconic movies.

“I am immensely grateful for the warm embrace Dubai gave to my music during our first performance in the city. I firmly believe that music has the power to transcend language and resonate with the deepest emotions within us,” Zimmer said in a statement.