Moath Alofi opens doors to Madinah’s past

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Photos that show Madinah’s past.
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Updated 12 August 2016
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Moath Alofi opens doors to Madinah’s past

The interpretation of art is always different from one viewer to the other, some might find it interesting, beautiful, ugly, or controversial and others simply wouldn’t care for it. It doesn’t really matter who thinks what about any form of art, as long as there is a sense of respect toward the work and the artist’s vision. Moath Alofi’s participation and contribution to the art scene in the Kingdom came by chance a couple of years ago as a photographer exploring his city of Madinah. The city is his muse, his inspiration and his platform; it’s a city with so much history that has a path to progression through major construction projects with a goal to expand more and accommodate more visitors and residents. As with many cities, Madinah has its own charm, other than it being the city of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which adds to the charm. Moath is an integrated member of its society doing his part in displaying magnificent images to the world outside the city walls.
His latest project being showcased at the Athr Art Gallery in Jeddah holds the name of “Doors of Barlik”, a project named after a known incident in the city’s historic path to what it is today. The city is at an ongoing stage of demolishing and removing housing units within the holy mosque’s vicinity for the purpose of expansion. Numbers are spray painted on more than 12,000 housing units across the city marking them for demolition. Moath’s exploratory mission of the city documented these homes and found an underlying message through them, he found beauty in these destroyed homes.
“I work in construction and I see structures after massive demolition projects built up from scratch all the time. There is a silent beauty in anticipation of the demolition, I saw that through remnants left over from these homes. The doors to these houses are like windows to the life of the residents of these homes, they tell of their story and background. Each door was different from one another and instead of having them thrown in a dump somewhere after auctions, I bought them, packed them up in my pickup truck and looked at them from an outsider’s point of view, they told of stories,” said Moath.
Doors of Barlik are a representation of social and urban transformation currently undergoing in the holy city. Each door held a story as the photographer explained, there are indentations, graffiti, love notes, prayers and more. The types of doors differ from one another as well, you’ll find the expensive and cheap, you’ll find the simple and the intricately detailed and you’ll find the colorful and the plain. The houses of which these were built were not of concrete and cement like it is now, these houses are old, historic, some even dating back to more than a hundred years, and the people used materials found from their surroundings such as rocks and mud. Upon entering the gallery, visitors can see the doors are placed in random but you’ll find one particularly interesting frame of a door, with the door behind it a few meters away that is set in a way to create the illusion that you’re walking through one door and through another. This one detail shows that there is more to it than just simply doors, there’s a sense of nostalgia that is felt.
“I’ve taken hundreds of pictures using my phone or camera as a means of documenting, but there is another deeper meaning when you actually obtain a piece of something that had history. I didn’t choose to document this by chance, my love for Madinah runs deep and in the years I was in Australia studying, I sensed a vast change from when I first left to when I returned. It is upsetting to see some of the old neighborhoods flattened and its residents uprooted to other areas in the city, but it’s evolution and it’s bound to happen regardless due of the city’s important place in the Islamic world, it needs to accommodate a larger number of visitors but at the price of historical neighborhoods. The generations before us know the history of these neighborhoods, its families and their stories. Through my project with “Doors of Barlik” I am documenting a piece of history and telling its story for not only my generation but also for the next, you can’t erase art,” said Moath.
That couldn’t be any more true, you can’t erase art. Not only does “Doors of Barlik” showcase doors, but also photographs by Moath of some of the houses before demolition, some still have personal remnants still hung such as a framed prayer or hand painted murals of the Haramain, it’s all too personal but truly a vision to behold and admire. We live in a fast evolving world, it’s no wonder not many want to learn about the past, we’re trying to keep up with the now. “Doors of Barlik” is showcased at Athr Art Gallery until Sept. 8, 2016.


‘Game of Thrones’ seeks record in final Emmys battle

Updated 20 September 2019

‘Game of Thrones’ seeks record in final Emmys battle

  • ‘Game of Thrones’ has twice won 12 awards in a single season
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ was not just a critical hit but a sweeping cultural phenomenon

LOS ANGELES: “Game of Thrones” will seek to make Emmy history one final time Sunday when television’s best and brightest gather at a glamorous ceremony in Los Angeles to bid farewell to a number of long-running hit shows.
Despite its misfiring finale which divided fans, the fantasy epic about feuding families and flame-shooting dragons secured a whopping 32 nominations for this year’s Emmys — television’s version of the Oscars.
The most decorated fictional show in Emmys history, “Thrones” has twice won 12 awards in a single season.
It is well on its way to besting that record this year, with 10 awards already bagged in lesser categories at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, including for the show’s blockbuster special effects and mock-medieval swords-and-bodices costumes.
It is the overwhelming favorite to add the top drama series prize to its haul on Sunday.
“All signs point to ‘Game of Thrones’ picking that up,” predicted Variety’s Michael Schneider.
“Even if fans weren’t necessarily loving that final season ... it doesn’t matter — if the voters love it, then that’s what’s going to win the Emmy,” he added.
The Television Academy’s 24,000-plus voters had two weeks in August to pick their favorites.
To get across the line Sunday, “Thrones” has 14 contenders across seven categories.
Serial winner Peter Dinklage is a front-runner for sharp-tongued dwarf Tyrion Lannister, as is Maisie Williams as princess-turned-assassin Arya Stark.
Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) are among the others in the running.
“Thrones” was not just a critical hit but a sweeping cultural phenomenon — more than 40 million tuned in to watch each episode of the final season.
Emmys organizers, who have copied the Oscars by eschewing a host this year, will hope that such wild popularity lifts the ceremony’s viewing figures.
All 10 “Thrones” acting nominees will serve as guest presenters — as will the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and the Kardashians.
Further star power among the acting nominees will be provided by Oscar-winners Michael Douglas, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali and Patricia Arquette.
Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel” and HBO’s “Chernobyl” have also emerged as powerhouse contenders.
“Mrs Maisel” — Amazon’s story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic — won the best comedy Emmy last year, and the second season is well-placed to add further prizes Sunday.
It is locked in a fierce showdown for the overall comedy gong with “Veep” and “Fleabag.”
Like “Thrones,” US political satire “Veep” is contending its final Emmys after a stellar run, including 17 statuettes.
The show won best comedy in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but took a forced hiatus last year as Julia Louis-Dreyfus battled breast cancer.
She would claim the standalone record for acting Emmys with a ninth win.
Another long-running popular show taking its final Emmys bow is “The Big Bang Theory,” the throwback sitcom about a group of geeky, young California scientists.
It earned only one nomination — for directing — but its creators are unlikely to mind after all 12 seasons were purchased by HBO Max streaming service this week for a reported $500 million.
In the limited series categories, “Chernobyl,” HBO’s drama about the 1986 nuclear disaster, won seven technical Emmys last weekend. It even inflicted a rare defeat on “Thrones” in production design.
But it may struggle to add to that tally on Sunday, when it competes with Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the searing true story of five men wrongly accused of raping a Central Park jogger, which has eight acting nominations.
In the variety sections, HBO’s political satire “Last Week Tonight” starring British comedian John Oliver is again front-runner, while NBC’s all-time leading Emmys winner “Saturday Night Live” remains formidable.
National Geographic’s “Free Solo” does not compete Sunday, but scooped an impressive seven Emmys last weekend.
The Oscar-winning documentary about a hair-raising, free solo climb of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite swept the non-fiction categories.