Sunday, 20 December 2009
In a private setting in Kuwait on the 19th of Dec, Fawzi al Langhawi, placed his Oud on his knees and played. His friend Mohamed al Mutairy sang. Dr Sami pitched in on the piano. And they performed in a gracious, mellow, warm way, some local and arabic tunes. Fawzi's fervour on the Oud gives him the extra touch to predict many years of good music to come.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
A sketch at a time, a different way to show the world around us. Great idea, good concept, fantastic tool to share one's surroundings.
Their aim is: "as a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel."
They even have a section in their blog about "How to become a member or a correspondent"
In their list of contributors, some artists have traveled the Arab world, one is located in Mauritania. But that doesn't really match the richness and talent of the region, as we have many artists in the closet waiting for a way to show their works.
Link to Urban Sketchers
link to their page of sketches on Algeria
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Did you know that "cappucino" is a reference to robes of the capucines who lead the crusades? The coffee left behind by the arabs was felt as bitter, hence hot milk, hence the reference!
Did you know that before the Islamic revolution in Iran, Khomeini, when in France at Neauphle le Chateau, was know for his sweet tooth and how local patissiers went on a frenzy of religieuses, charlottes and eclairs!
These anecdotes were given by Gilles Kepel, a professor at Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris, in his lecture at the DAI in Kuwait on Middle eastern history. Of course, one's own history seen by a French scholar is always interesting as he might highlight a few angles that are usually dark. He then gave the insight and benefits of having nuclear power in the gulf, thanks to the French technology, as one major deterrent to the nuclear built across the Gulf in Iran. He tried to cheer to the motto of independence and autonomy in the region as a way to unlock Uncle Sam's grip on the oil and petrodollars.
He claims that one has to think diagonally and in a synchronized manner! yes, maybe after thinking straight and forward, and it all depends on the variables chosen as the base.
Contemporary decisions cannot be made as reproduction of the past based on elements of fear and alliances based on threat and pressure. Maybe he could have given us a lecture on food in relation to the Middle Eastern history and leave us with a few recipes to improve our current cooking "avec le french touch" rather than the proposal of a nuclear plant tucked in the desert as a solution to all ailments.
Posted by sarah at 17:47
Friday, 11 December 2009
COP15, or the 15th meeting in Copenhagen of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, is about pulling as much efforts and initiative to think and act in the best possible ways and reverse human's destructive behavior and impact on the planet. Discussions are still hot. Fund raising and commitments of payment are piling up. Alarmists will say the end is near. Others will talk about positive ways that have worked.
Overall, the Arab world is discreet, as it is divided in two camps: countries with little resources to act upon it, and countries producing oil and gas that have more important issues to address. "Will the polar bear survive the ice melt down at the arctic circle" is not on the agenda. Others might argue that we also have human rights, freedom and equality topics that are more urgent than the well being of the polar bear.
At best, we can hope that more awareness will trigger actions on the individual smallest scale to the largest governmental impact.
In Kuwait, en.v magazine is a leader in this field of awareness and promotion. They held their 3rd annual "recycling through art" exhibition at the Avenues mall on Dec 7th.
link to EN.V
Link to al Bia wal tanmiya magazine
Link to Earth Journalism Awards
Link to Raghida's article
Monday, 7 December 2009
Countertenor, Razek-Francois Bitar is a voice born in Syria and now established in Italy. Tonight, with David Simonacci on piano, he gave a warm performance at the DAI theatre, including the "Che puro ciel". In an intimate ambiance, he let his voice fill the space with his fragile yet powerful emotions. The repertoire was Handel, Gluck, Ravel. He then switched to Armenian, to Arabic and he embraced both worlds with as much ease and finesse. In sweet words, he dedicated the last song by Rahbani to his mother as if she was in the audience.
This was a treat.
a link to an interview by ORTF in german, where Bitar speaks in italian, and sings in arabic. youtube
Posted by sarah at 23:26
Sunday, 6 December 2009
It saw the end tail of the White nights in the summer, it was in the Imperial palace, a monument in russian baroque architecture. It rubbed shoulders with the treasures of the museum from the pharaonic period to the impressionist paintings. It waited for the opening with its long speeches, to the crowds in line. It stared for long hours at visitors staring back trying to get a glimpse of beauty.
It showed the masterly craftsmanship behind stones laid in gold. It distracted attention with the large number of items in small cases. It spoke about its history beyond the detailed writings on the tags below. It carried the sense of a collection where the collector's eye is felt choosing and acquiring. It illustrated a passion set up in the best display. It expressed in the excess of gemstones the infinite details. It reflected light in a multitude of directions.
It then waited patiently to be put back in the darkness of boxes to go back home.
Will it tour again the world as the "good will" ambassador of Kuwait and its hidden treasures? Or will it find a final destination in Kuwait in a long waited museum?
Link to: al Sabah Collection
Finger Ring (1st quarter of the 17th century), Indian, Mughal or Deccan - Gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoises; carving, kundan technique - Photo by Bruce White - The Al Sabah collection,