Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture

Do you have an art or cultural project, are you creative, full of ideas but don't have means to execute?
Deadline: 31 August 09. Submit a proposal for a grant to the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.

a detailed web site
and a fantastic FAQ (frequently asked questions), good simple Q&A
" 1-Can I submit my application in English?
No, applications are to be submitted in Arabic only.
2-Are non-Arab applicants eligible to submit applications?
Yes, applicants holding non-Arab nationality are eligible to submit a request for fund. However, the project must be targeting Arab audience in the Arab region.
3-Does AFAC support cultural/artistic/literature projects outside the Arab region?
Venue of sponsored projects should be the Arab Region, and the targeted audience should be the Arab audience in the Arab Region.
4-What is the Maximum limit and Minimum limit for the grants?
There are no limits for the grants supported by AFAC. Applications will be assessed by a specialized panel that will develop an estimate of the amount that should be granted for the project. etc..."

The Arab Fund had their bi-annual board meeting in Egypt to grant funds for cultural projects in the Arab World or by Arab artists in the world.
It is a remarkable venture to see talent being encouraged without discrimination, labeling or geographical limits.
They have prestigious members on their board dedicated to promote cultural activities in four fields: Independent film, performing arts, visual arts and literature, plus: capacity building, training and research; collaboration in regional events, cultural exchange or tours in the region. Their scope seems wide, but it gives the fund capacity to insure a larger approach on fostering emerging talent.
They started in 2007 with a budget of 500 000 usd mainly from the Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation and many others. In 2009, their budget will hit 900 000 usd on which grants will be allocated from usd 1000 to 25 000 or more per proposals requests.
This year, their most visible contribution is the film selected in the Cannes festival 09: "The time that remains" by Elia Suleiman, Palestinian. On a less noticeable impact but yet as powerful leverage is a small grant for a cinematheque in Kerbala, Iraq.
The real achievement would be to show "The times that remains" in Kerbala and thus allowing a full cross cultural interaction between grantees and viewers. Go beyond frontiers and limitations with what art is all about. But first, let's get the projects rolling, submit your ideas and give it a try.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hassan Chelebi, Farah Behbehani, Calligraphy

May 09 in Kuwait was a month of calligraphy.
"Islamic Calligraphy is more than handwriting. It is a “spiritual technique” that beaches out with grace and elegance to engage the eye, mind and soul.”…
Master Hassan Chelebi is one of the contemporary Turkish calligrapher, that can trace back his lineage of teachers to the 16th century. In the Formative Art Association (Hawally) an exhibition of his work on paper. Traditional thuluth, jali and jali diwani works showed a great command and outstanding virtuosity of an art that defies time. It is done in the same way as it has been done for centuries. In a separate room, walls were filled with transclucent paper with the inscription to be transferred on monuments or mosques' walls.

Farah Behbehani launched her book at Dar al Funoon. Young graphic designer, she engaged in a modern combination, published by Thames and Hudson (London 2009).
She says:" My thesis work, a book I designed is based on Farid Ud-Din Attar’s "The Conference of the Birds". Illustrated in Jali Diwani calligraphy, this project revisits classic Sufi literature and creates a decoding system designed to make Arabic calligraphy more accessible for non-Arabic readers. I am also working on several other projects including a book and exhibition on ‘Umra, the “lesser pilgrimage” to Mecca."
Attar's masterpiece is the Mantic at Tayr (The conference of the birds) where he describes a group of birds under the leadership of a hoopoe who determine to search for the legendary Simurgh bird. The birds must confront their own individual limitations and fears while journeying through seven valleys before the complete their quest, giving us an esoteric teaching on the presence of the divine in us
Attar's poetry inspired Rumi and many other Sufi poets.
Behbehani must have also been inspired by the beauty of the quest and the journey to a spiritual exploration. She produced a refined and complete work of art.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ghadah Al Kandari blog

"Look Ma, I can draw",
"Look Ma, I can write, Look I can share, I can show the world how it works..."
Ghadah is blogging...
Quite fascinating to watch an artist's work in progress, with comments following crucial steps in the making: "an apple is here, the apple is gone and there is a horse "
Producing art is an isolated, solitary activity. For non-artists creativity is a mystery. The obscure and ambiguous allusions will never be totally revealed but thanks to Ghadah, the enigma unfolds the veil, few inches at a time, few words at a picture and gives a thrill to art.

(photo by Ghadah)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

B307 AUK students

Students at the art departement of AUK are exhibiting a sample of their works at the Cercle Francophone de Kuwait (French Embassy) Sat 9th of May 09 at 11 am
Talent in embryo, with potential, some with confidence, some with effort, some others with the need to be pushed and projected into a scene of recognition and appreciation. In this first exhibition, the support given by the French ambassador’s wife, Mme Sophie Gehan, herself an artist, is of great value.
This seed of Kuwaiti creativity will be taken into a further step when the “Opera Gallery” in Dubai will host an exhibition for their works. It will project the budding artist into a wider scene than the local venues. As Thuraya al Baqsami, the doyenne of Kuwaiti contemporary artists, had said one day: “All local encouragements and competitions are geared to portray a camel, a coffee pot or a dhow boat otherwise it is not appreciated here”.
There was no sand dunes at sight in this exhibition, but a vibrant expression of struggle, pain, duality, identity...