Saturday, 31 October 2009

Yallah Underground

Yallah Underground: "I don't sell a dream, I sell reality, that's the difference between me and a pop singer." Rayess Bek, Scrambeld Eggs, Fareeq al Utrash...
From the trailer, Farid Eslam, director, shows expert techniques of documentary film making. He chose a subject, we as arab, are rarely aware of: Underground music...
It reminds us of the vibrant talents ready to explode when given a chance. It reveals the need to express beyond the main avenues. It gives hope that creativity lives under the thickest concrete slab.
Let them all play and sing.
And let us wait for the movie to be released...

facebook page : Link
(thanks Alia for the info)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Green Caravan film festival (day 1)

         As an effort to bring together the community and share concern about the environment, Equillibrium has started today their film festival in Kuwait.
         At the press conference, beside the usual thank notes, Dr Salah Bourjini, UNDP representative in Kuwait for the region, presented few striking points. He said:  "We no longer talk about human development, we are now talking about human security, we need to find ways to liberate humans from the threats from which their lives are affected". Now, that is a whole new approach...
"Liberate", "free from fear": These words seem to come out of an eastern religion dogma for a personal spiritual journey.
       Will their next objective be the right to happiness for everyone on planet earth?
     Dr Bourjini incorporated the environment factor and explained: "We cannot continuously deteriorate the Eco-system, continue to stress the region and this is a threat ". The climate change is a visible sign. "Countries have to seriously address these problems, otherwise their economies will not be sustainable". On the other hand, if the planet deteriorates so fast, and the result be so harsh on humans, will we still be thinking about the economy, its financial crises and sustainability?
According to these movies shown at Dar al Athar, the damage is way beyond repair. Recycling is important but we have to start right now, all together.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Korean cultural week in Kuwait

The Korean embassy has devoted a full week to share its culture and artistic production in diverse locations in Kuwait. Those who saw the classical  music concert by Korean Musician were impressed by the traditional clothing, instruments and show.
       The breakdance joint performance, was on the 19th and 20th of October. Although breakdancing is now a trend from the past as it was popular in the 70's and 80's, starting with gangs and hip hop music, the Korean b-boy group presented a good blend between the modern movement and the use of traditional korean drums, the samulnori. They even invited a breakdance group from Kuwait to dance together on stage.
Mr Myeongso, Eo, First secretary at the Embassy said: "We tried to present Korean culture and part of it is breakdancing.  We wanted also to bridge the two countries so we found a local group to participate in the show, they rehearsed together and they did a great show. But we had a hard time finding the Kuwait group."
Kuwait is full of surprise and hidden talent.
Let's see how will the public respond to the rest of this cultural week: three movie nights on the 25th ("le Grand Chef"), 26th ("Forever the Moment"), 27th ( "200 pounds of beauty") of October at the leila gallery, Salmiyah. The dynamic Korean movie industry has been producing excellent quality and it is certainly worth the visit.
pick your show and head for salmiyah at 7 pm.

trailer for "Le Grand Chef" (Iron Chef-style fierce competition set in Korea where contestants compete to win a legendary knife.)

trailer for "Forever the Moment" (The inspirational true story of Korean women handball team's struggle against Denmark.)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

"Red Ahmar Surkh Kirmizi" by Marianna Shreve Simpson

"I love red" says Dr. Marianna Shreve Simpson, specialist in Islamic art, during her lecture at Dar al Athar al Islamiyah, Kuwait, on Oct 19th.
As she wore a red suit for the occasion, she could have gone beyond the kitsch. But she took the audience into the realm and the essence of red, where it came from, how it was used and a fascinating historic approach to Islamic art through a color.
Two ways to use red:  - pigment ( a source of color and ink suspended in a liquid used a layer of color)  - dye (color dissolved in leather or fabric to penetrate and form a bond at the molecular level)
An insect, the cochineal gave many civilizations the deepest red. Vernice was another insect producing the red. Cinnabar mineral provided the vermilion red...
In a condensed visual and informative listing, she went through many technical details, historical events. Across the economics and industry of the red, she traveled in the 11th century from the crops in Armenia, to merchants in caravans, to calligraphers in Baghdad, to silk weavers in Agra to the bazaars of Grenada, Cairo, Isfahan, Lahore.
"It is the color of power" she said, displaying on the screen "Suleiman the magnificent" in a red kaftan, surrounded by red.
"It is the color of love and desire" while she analyzed a Persian miniature.
"It is the color of violence, blood, war": she expanded on the duality of the color and its symbolism.
"It is the color to vocalize and punctuate the holy book" and she presented calligraphy pages of the Koran.

In the introduction, she referred to "The Perfect Red" written by Amy Butler Greenfield, an exhaustive tale of the origins and the evolution of the color throughout history.
In the conclusion, she quoted Orhan Pamuk in his book " My name is Red" :"God is the perfect red".
As a culmination point to reduce the color to its simplicity, she says:"We all share the same color of blood and it is red. In its universal association, Red represents life."

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Harley Davison Ride in Lebanon

For 3 days, Harley Davidson riders from the Arab world prevailed over boundaries, frontiers, cultural gap, religious restrictions, social limitations. They came from Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, from overseas, across many deserts.
On the mountains of Lebanon, 330 bikes roared in one tone, they moved as one hybrid element, they communicated in  the same hand signals.
    Together in their shinning armor, they carried the ideas of camaraderie, friendship and adventure. Although a ride is solely for the ride itself; the symbiosis with the elements, wind,  earth, moon, fire gives it a transcending dimension.
Forget one's worries or fears, hold your bike as an extension of your body, feel the vibes, and let the passion inflame your guts...
Did anyone propose to give posthumously a Nobel prize to Harley and Davidson? In the legend of "the Eagle soars alone" these bikers have gone beyond wars and conflict, they have distilled a sense of peace and togetherness...

(photos by Waleed Shalaan)

Monday, 5 October 2009

Education world day (5th oct)

A silent celebration: teachers' day, education, quality of impact, sustainability, progress, build the future, invest in teachers now...
The UNESCO has invested so much in the education at all level, around the world. But why, in their website, on this day, do they include a guidebook to tackle violence in schools? What is happening to the world of education? In France, headlines talk about a proposition to pay students as an incentive to attend and a way to reduce absenteeism. Those who have the possibility to learn might not want to take the chance and those who want to learn might not have the access.

In the Arab world, many reports have been published by the UN arms or other NGOs on the illiteracy with comparative results: the main issues remain: gender literacy, young children out of school, adult education, wars and conflicts, financial crisis, evaluation of academic achievement, rural population, poverty... What numbers reveal is in accordance to what they are compared to. In terms of world wide literacy and proficiency, the Arab world cannot compare itself to some western nations. But the effort is palpable whether in government policies or NGO's working on the ground or private initiative turning into associations. Universities are mushrooming in the Gulf area to cater to the growing demographics. The discrepancies within the Arab world uncovers the lack of its uniformity. Some countries have more means and will to promote and propose proper education to their citizens. Others nor the will nor the means. And some lost in trying.
Educational systems around the world are in constant challenge to adapt to a changing world and changing guidelines. Information is available at the speed of light with new technologies. It stays a sensitive issue yet so necessary to reflect upon.

click here for the Unesco site