Monday, 20 April 2009


Noun for Naissam Jalal et Ya for Yan Pittard
They play music, She is on the Flute and the Ney, He's on the Guitare and Oud. 
They have walked different paths from classical studies to improvisation, from many countries interacting, learning the local sound. They have performed in Lebanon in March 09.
Reviews have labeled it: "Hiwar hamim" (intimate conversations) with a free mind in duo with a technical mastery. 
They consider their music to be in evolution as a way to move around the world.  A song is titled "resistance" thinking outside the box and expressing thoughts and feelings beyond weapons and mass destruction.  Music without borders. 
Their logo reveals a sensitivity to visual arts as well. 

check them on my space link

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Heavy Metal Islam

Marc LeVine wrote his book on "Heavy Metal Islam", music converging arabic, east, west and a mish mash of style.
As quoted on his web site "Cutting through the governmental censors and religious restrictions, LeVine reveals a youth culture hungry for change and willing to risk freedom and even life for it (...). Through interviews with musicians and fans, LeVine reveals young Muslims struggling to reconcile their religion with a passion for music and a desire for change. These are the risk-takers and revolutionaries, as much on the front lines of the culture war as the suicide bombers and Al-Qaeda martyrs.
The internet is considered the driving force of the emerging Muslim public sphere, but it is the real communities created by young musicians, fans and activists that are most fiercely pushing the boundaries of free expression and association across the Muslim world, despite the risks of arrest, imprisonment, and worse..."
The Moroccan band (on YouTube) uncovers creativity in the animated characters and the music is good. The schizophernia depicted can be widely understood.
Although it is commendable to see anyone in the west interested in the real life of Muslims, beside al Quaeda and extremism, it has to be presented in a binary mode of good and bad. It is not surprising for arabs to see risk takers, revolutionaries, passionate for their own way of expression. Could it be that the forms of hip hop, heavy metal, rap are closer to Western understanding, in a way to be looked at with a fresh eye?

The essence of change is in diversity and the region is full of potential, so heavy metal has something to say, let's hear some more.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Chanel No 5

al Sabah Gallery show on Icon meets Icons, East meets West, in Kuwait until the 26th of April 09.
The product is a small size perfume bottle transformed into an art object.
The exercise can look futile until you wonder who is behind each bottle.
It then opens up (thanks to the web window to the world) to a series of designers who might be far away from Ms Chanel, but has accomplished notable works in their fields and their search.

Check out a few names:

Based upon: (takes the time to question the root of a creative idea and goes beyond pretending by giving tribute to where all it came from)
Arik Levy:
Martin Baas: (the plastic chair in wood is by far the best use of that popular design that pollutes the world)
Tom Dixon:
Pieke Bergmans: (uses crystal melted on objects, foam melted on things, design virus...)
Pepe Heykoop: (His graduation lamp, an interactive unusual object is named "lightness of being")

The list is not exhaustive.. if you ever go to the gallery, pick another name and fly on the design web...

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Arabic tatoos

The book "Arabic Tatoos" was published in june 2008 by "Mark Batty Publisher: dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating, showcasing the visual power and innovation of contemporary culture in all of its varied poses."
The few photos on display on the web shows a book full of tatoos beyond their visual decorative side. The use of the word in Arabic allows to express a fascination of the language, culture, and what it might represent in the collective culture. It might also allow an appropriation of the unknown.

Jon Udelson, the book’s compiler, writes, “These tattoos signify more than the words and designs they showcase upon a person’s skin. They are representative of this crucial point in modern time where cultural awareness, acceptance, and, unfortunately, fear, are salient aspects of global culture.” "Arabic Tattoos documents the reasons why people from the United States and Europe get these tattoos, ranging from names converted from Latin alphabets to Arabic, to bold words like “infidel” emblazoned on US soldiers returning from Iraq."

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Reza Derkashani

Music and Art in Kuwait on a three day bonanza by Reza Derakshani at Dar al Funoon.
The Youtube link will allow you to see the musician with the old traditional instruments of his country. In this collaboration with John Densmore, Reza shows how he can incorporate his ancestral ways with a modern input. He masters the Ney, the Sehtar, the Kamanche etc..He has lived everywhere on the planet, played music in many famous halls and he now resides in Teheran.
"All folk persian songs are love songs. It is all about love. The Ney is a complicated instrument but the more windy sound is closer to the human voice." he says.
His art is closely associated with the music, it was surely on small volume at the opening for his exhibit but he performed in the DIA theatre a day before.
It is refreshing to witness an artist of the region ready to fully embrace the tools of his peers, the stories woven in their collective consciousness and be proud of it. His canvases are not necessarily the result of propaganda gimmick, but an expression of darkness, pain, contradiction and yet using symbols of life: pomegranate, fig leaves, birds...
He goes from modern with digital underlying the oil or other mediums to large frames. Photos are a poor reproduction for the vastness and depth of his work. As good in his music as in his art, he emphazizes the necessity to excel: "whatever you do, you shouldn't lose the essence of it"

reza's website

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Jim Coverley

Jim Coverley, in Paris. A friend sent this invitation, he went and saw the show: fascinating.
It is work of art with research on the subject, the material used, the ink dots, the burnt camisole, the inside and the title:

07.04 – 30.05.09
©Jim Coverley, Yoke, 100 x 69 x 14 cm, tissu, encre et clous, 2008-2009

at the Shirman & De Beauce Gallery in Paris 75003, France.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Eric Naaman

Please spare some time and click on Eric Naaman's site and his latest addition on Adventure (first 9 shots). He lately went to Alcatraz, the famous prison that became a national park since 1973. These photos give a sensation of the passage of time, the passage of events, the passage of lives in these cells. Some photos are shown in duets enhancing them both visually. It is a fine study of vertical and horizontal lines, textures, reduced and open space...

On the same subject, Doris Lessing wrote a short book: "Prisons we choose to live in". Quite a complex read, as she reflects on issues of her times and unravels them, knot by knot, to attain and get closer to the idea of freedom. From then on, it is up to the reader to continue the quest and accept the process to untie one's own personnal thinking and seeking a form of emancipation.

Friday, 3 April 2009

kids art competition

Art Alive: kids up to age 12 can participate at the Scientific Center in Kuwait with their production on a 30x40 - subject: "environment". Deadline: 9th of April 09. These kids have organized a workshop to play and produce art in its essence.
It is all about how art is encouraged at an early age.

As a historic background, a young artist in 1970 won an art competition, his photo and his work as he imagined Jerusalem was published in the newspaper "al Hayat" and his award was his weight in chocolate. Abdallah Kouatli still remembers that event and has been on a creative spur since then. It works...