Monday, 31 May 2010

Quit facebook day

Are you joining a few thousands to commit and quit Facebook on the 31th of May 2010? It is nothing compared to the millions around the world who enjoy being hooked on Facebook.
The interesting part is the necessity to unhook, to unplug, to feel less exposed.
Where is the threat: all the information available on each and all users. Some will say: "I have nothing to hide". Other will say: "I will only share what I want". Some will refuse to comment, some will justify a new way of life and communicating.
There is an undergoing revolution in the virtual world impacting our realities.
Have we really explored our own image in who we are and how we would like to portray ourselves to the general public? Who is using the information and to what purpose?
Privacy and personal data has been a fight under the name of civil liberties and necessity to contain information abuse. Facebook pulverizes any notion of the sort. Technologies today are capable of retrieving data and information without your knowledge.
It also allows a possibility of looking into other's thoughts, contacts, friends, just as stalkers do. Our unconscious desire to stalk goes beyond the morality of sharing. So when an exhibitionist wants to show all he has, he doesn't need to go around the bush, he can just share some photos on Facebook, and all the "voyeurs" can see without leaving their screen.
Facebook is a major success with the number hooked on it. It has filled a vacuum of connection beyond the material, physical world.
But it remains a tool at the service of the users. What are you doing through Facebook?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Ghada Waked, art and culture

Ghada Waked teaches photography at the ALBA (Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts) in Lebanon, she talked on the essence of art and culture and how today it is perceived
"Culture has taken the cover of the mundane. The mundane is hunting down culture. Economics are hunting down the social. In all of that, it has become a matter of price tag, sale price, and who's going to own what. The curator has a new dimension in the culture of arts. He has a role of flirting with investors and artists flirt with the curator. 
But no one is ready to walk on the wild side of art and life.  It has become a restricted closed circle. 
Art around us seems to have lost its aura on reaching to a wider public, in touching souls.
We have in Lebanon good programs and festivals on visual arts, video arts: the Alba Film Festival every year, Ashkal Alwan... with very good speakers and good debates. But it has not moved the masses."

A teacher is closer to the younger talent, closer to their creativity and production. A teacher will help unravel and open eyes and it can take years to materialize. But it is of great importance to keep the horizon stretched out and allow young artists to think on how to shake the unbearable layer of convenience.  

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Art therapy linked to improvement in asthmatic children

Researchers in the medical field have explored a link between the effect of art therapy and children with Asthma. The research was done with a group of kids, documented, measured, studied, in a time spam in comparison with a group of kids who did not receive any art therapy.
They published their results: It works... it makes a difference and it improves the kids on worry, anxiety, communication...
On one hand: Where are we, in the Arab World, to improve health issues in Children beside the heavy medication and Hospital / Doctors relationship?
On the other hand: Where are our researchers exploring such areas?

Link to Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 
link to reuters report

Friday, 21 May 2010

Mahmud Obaidi at Sultan Gallery

It is better not to use the word Terrorist anywhere near anyone, they might think you actually are one of them...
Mahmud Obaidi, an iraqi-canadian, invited to attend the opening for his exhibition in Kuwait, could not get his entry visa on time for the event. Too bad for those who were waiting for an explanation.
Although quite harsh and explicit art about homes in boxes, Obaidi entitled his exhibition in New York: "how not to look like a terrorist".
He puts on canvas elements of war, guns, tanks, corpses, signs of fragmented entities, inflated beings and words. It is about controversial art of expression to unleash what is said on the Middle East at all times. With the profusion of news 24h a day, it looks real. Then comes the argument: do we want an art that enhances our realities or just shows us the crude side of our unease? Do we want pretty or can we bear our own horrors?
Obaidi digs deep in expressing. He pulls from afar images to talk about: what is a home in the arab world? what do exiled arabs carry with them to find a living? what is imprinted in the collective subconscious? how are arabs perceived in the west?
He finds aesthetics to combine the several possibilities, he plays with organic material, adds hair to the collage. He made books in metal and paper with sand and dirt. He added wood and wire to give a sense of belonging. It must be an identity crisis. But isn't the whole arab world trying to forclose on any questioning beyond the post-colonialism or the oil era?
It is a an audacious exhibition and it's worth noting that the artist doesn't help anyone escape in lala land but rather pushes beyond the comfort zone.
(Until the 3rd of June)
 Sultan gallery link

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Gerard Avidissian at Dar al Funoon

At Dar al Funoon, Kuwait, Gerard Avedissian is exhibiting his artworks, a collection of mixed media on canvas, with a figurative style combining fabric, arabesques and women.
His study on women wearing all sorts of outfits and jewelry is decorative and colorful, even if he tried to add some depth of space. He portrayed women dancing or others just posing as if he was intrigued by the looks and the stiffness. Is he wishing to explore a feminine side to life that he has not yet reached?
Dar al Funoon has accustomed its viewers to a more daring approach to contemporary art and works with a finer edge than this. But to every work of art, there must be a buyer somewhere.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sarah al Hamad: "cardamom and lime, recipes from the Arabian Gulf"

A cook book from the Arabian Gulf

In Kuwait, people are divided into two categories: Those who eat out of a kitchen in a home and those who consider local food a mystery. The mystery is where to find it, how to cook it, and how to make it taste like it should.
Sarah al Hamad has ventured to nail down that mystery, transform it into a simple recipe book and unravel the enigma. She admits that during her research she went for months; from family to friends to kitchens to cooks to reveal the mystery of it all: “ The nature of Gulf cuisine; how varied and individual it is and that the proof is in the spicing – how much is used and which spices with which foods – is where the difference lies.” more....

read the article in BAZAAR MAGAZINE: