Sunday, 24 January 2010

Auction in Lebanon

Ayyam Gallery is promoting an auction on the 28th of january 10 at 7pm in their Beirut Branch. In their third year of the auction business, the gallery finds art from collectors (private collections) or the artists themselves to sell to other collectors and therefore art circulates.
In the market business, galleries should promote their own artists and find buyers to blow up a better price for artists.
The question here is why doesn't Ayyam Gallery use the usual auction houses in the Gulf such as Christies to continue promoting their artists?
So what are the credentials of a gallery to go into the bidding process and who estimates works of art?
The online catalogue is nicely presented. And the choice of artwork is worth the look!

The link to Ayyam Gallery: Beirut Auction Catalogue
Photo of an artwork by Stelio Scamanga (pastel, 1997)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Faiza Ahmad Khan - Superman of Malegaon

First movie: "Superman of Malegaon" a low budget (as low as 250$) movie produced in the city of Malegaon in India, known for its loom industry. Shaikh Nasir is the multi-talented director who does everything and learns on the way. He takes the Superman hero and "indianize" him with local twist and plenty of humor. His target audience was the local video parlors or theater in his neighborhood. He says: "I did not go anywhere to learn film making. I just wanted to do something different". The objective is a parody, as he says :"Life is full of tears and sorrow, laughter is precious."

Second movie: presented in Kuwait at the DIA theatre by its director Faiza Ahmad Khan. It is a documentary on the making of "Superman of Malegaon". The process of casting, filming, editing, special effects is as light as the humor in the movie itself. It shows all the endeavor to surmount mountains of obstacles by the director and yet it doesn't dwell on poverty's misery and tough conditions. The one and only camera fell in water. This could have ended it all, but Nasir Bhai went to town, repaired and it rolled again. He doesn't shout the classical: "action!" but says to his crew and star actor: "start". And they all have a good laugh when they can.
The documentary (finished in april 08) won awards around the globe and the western media then got interested in Mollywood (the alternative to Bollywood). CBC Canada send a team of five to film another documentary on "India reborn" and the emerging film making in Malegaon.
Faiza Ahmad Khan was able to show with a much longer time frame and a heftier budget, a refreshing perspective to those who try to make a difference with what they have on hand.

Link to: caldecott productions

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Aigrette from Topkapi to Paris

Strolling along the gardens of Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul, going from a courtyard to another, stepping into rooms, stopping at windows of lush jewelry, relics, arms, daggers, thrones, jugs, Chinese porcelain. All treasures of the Ottoman glory.
In one of the windows, there is a sign: this item is on a traveling tour to the exhibition in Paris: "Byzance, Istanbul" at the Grands Palais. The aigrette (headdress consisting of a white egret's feather or other decoration such as a spray of gems) of the 18th century is now seen along the Seine river.
Aigrettes were used both by the Sultan and notable women of the Harem as a symbol of power. It is known that Sultans gave the valuable aigrettes as presents or as awards.
Sultans received gifts and sent over gifts to display their supremacy in a time where the 18th century British Ambassador in Istanbul wrote that "Hafize Sultan, the wife of Sultan Mustafa II, wore a string of pearls down to her knees with a diamond as big as a turkey egg and two strings of emeralds'.
Today,  in order to show glory, history and capacity to be on par, it is enough to arrange exhibitions to promote a country.
As another diplomatic ballet beyond the news, Topkapi saray hosts “Ten Thousand Years of Iran's Civilization, Two Thousand Years of Common Heritage" as a special exhibit in one of its wings.  An eye to the West and another to the eastern side. Istanbul remains an intriguing bridge across the Bosphorus