Friday, 11 November 2011

"Now where to?" movie by Nadine Labaki

Nadine Labaki strikes again with a movie on Lebanon. Entertaining, funny, sad, devastating, stirring emotions, stirring memories, the movie is well done. It also raises many unsolved issues in the recent history of Lebanon: sectarian schism, religious clashes, snippers omnipresence, villages divided, sons killed, mothers wailing, sisters in chock, some hiding, others in silence. The movie is surely a women's voice of the civil war, what could have they done, how did they contribute passively or actively. And the story ends with a total twist of fate that puts hope and gives courage to women in the possibility to alter the course of life.
A must see.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Zahed Sultan, music

"My single "I Want Her But I Don't Want Her" went live (for sale) today on iTunes via the infamous Hotel Costes 15 compilation :) Already...(in less than 1 day) its sales / download popularity has surpassed EVERYTHING i have done on my part for the past 6 MONTHS to sell my music!!!! Now that's BRAND POWER!!!", Zahed Sultan comments on his track a month ago.
Kuwaiti artist, with hands on other issues such as an environmental movement with a magazine, a yearly exhibition,consulting, Zahed has talent and is surely enjoying himself. Good music, way to go...

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Culinary Photography Festival in Paris

 Copyright © Beena Paradin

Copyright © Claudia Albisser

The 3rd FIPC (International Festival of Culinary Photography) event will take place in Paris from 28th October to 13th November 2011. 

Prizes are given to the best photographer, another to the best photography of Heritage food or ingredient, another to food bloggers. 
If in Paris, take a look. 
The whole industry of culinary photography has taken a new turn:
First, the well orchestrated shooting of ingredients, cooked food and ambiance to entice food appreciation and consumption.
Second is this festival's objective : street food and what do people eat in the simplest form. 

Some Tv networks cook all day, bloggers start in their kitchen sharing their daily recipes, a movie was made on Julia Child and the blogger who tried to cook all recipes in her cookbook. Fast food spreading. Slow food gaining grounds.
It all gives a happy ending feeling: they present wonderful looking food, they share recipes and as a viewer, you can watch, but not smell and not taste until you get to your kitchen and do it yourself. 
Quite a way to help people create. 

Website link to the FIPC

Friday, 28 October 2011

Shoe? Safaa Alset in Bahrein

An exhibition at Albareh gallery in conjonction with Saks Fith avenue in Bahrein from the 25th october to the 24th of November 2011.
Safaa Alset, syrian artist, works metal and creates sculptural forms.
Her "Shoe" is about also the arabic meaning of "shou" (or What)
The question is surely about the cinderella ever growing syndrom of the shoe in the Arab world. Metal shoes, designers red sole shoes, flipflops, higher and higher heels or any form of shoes to squish those toes and look pretty?
Shou, are we getting out of it soon and addressing issues in the Arab world in regard of what women could achieve?
Shou, do we stay stuck in the realm of pretty pretty girls and brush our vanity?
Shou, will artists know where to look for inspiration on women's condition in the arab world?

Safaa Alset writes on one sculpted shoe : Shou, lawen rayheen (or "What, Where are we going?")
Of course, it is the toughest question to ask in the region today.

link to albareh
link to Safaa Alset website

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Giovanni Curatello: Isfahan's friday's mosque

At Dal al Athar, in Kuwait, Giovanni Curatello gave a lecture on his passionate interaction with Friday Mosque in Isfahan, Iran. Professor of art history at the Udine University in Italy, Curatello started his career as an archeologist in Isfahan where excavation were conducted in the seventies. In his lecture, he talked about  the different encounters in archeology, in architecture, in Islamic art, in geometrical patterns. The mosque was built in 772 under the Abasside rule and evolved with added elements throughout the passage of different rulers. The most obvious element talked about is the Dome of Nizam al Mulk, as Curatello mentioned, is an architectural masterpiece in its size, diameter, height and material used.
Curatello seem to travel extensively to the place where his passion started as he showed pictures of mosque taken last september. It looks like he will continue his exploration to expose the mysteries in the mosque. "The monument will only give answers to questions as far as the one asking is ready to receive; and only when it wishes to give them" says Curatello. The tale of the mosque was a "fascinating forest of colors", shapes, volumes and stories.

(more on the mosque : link )

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sept 11, 2011 - Sound of Silence


Ground Zero in Manhattan at the Memorial for the Sept 11, 2001; ten years after. Paul Simon sings live: The Sound of Silence:

Hello darkness, my old friend...

It is a time in the US to remember the loss of their loved one in that tragedy.
It is a time for us Arabs to remember the loss of so many as a result in the ripple effect.
Security became a vast subject for debate and action. Repression another version. Chaos created. Fear installed. Hatred creeping in.
Ten years spent watching a war on terror, rather than spending it on development, education, creating jobs for the younger ones, promoting acceptance and care.

"And in the naked light
I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared Disturb the sound of silence

We got all entangled in finding scape goats, isolating groups based on religion or color, fighting other people's wars, destroying our best on the way.

"And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made

We each have our own war to worry about, but remember that destruction leads only to more of it, while construction takes time and effort, choose the right war.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Milonga sauvage, Tango in Paris

Milonga is the place or the event for a tango dance. Sauvage in french is "wild".
Through a mailing list, fans of Tango meet up in a place, not necessarily a stage or a room. Music is played, and couples reach out for a few hours of dancing delirium. Girls, if alone, can line up on one side, put their tango shoes on, until a man proposes. No money is envolved, it is not a class, nor a rigid structure.
They swirl on the beat, take the pause in their movement to stay on the tune, they close their eyes for perfect pleasure.

Arabs of the new social media revolution, those who saw all the anti-dictatorship movements, why not use  twitter to plan a "Milango sauvage" or a "wild taqtaqa" and dance to new winds of freedom

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Life with Saddam: the book

"My life with Saddam" by Parisoula Lampsos and the journalist Lena Katarina Swanberg was published in the spring 2010 in Sweden. Written locally in Swedish, the book was reviewed by the major western newspaper and rights for a translation were sold to many countries in the West. The closest to the Arab world is Turkey who bought rights to translate it and publish it.
There is always controversy on veracity and authenticity in a story that is hard to verify by other sources. But the value of such a story is to read a way of life that is quite close to Saddam and his sons. It could be field under the Historic/fiction genre.
The question is why hasn't it been translated in Arabic for a wider and more concerned public?
Today in the Arab World, where dictators have a hard chance of long term, future plans; it might be a good idea to reflect on recent history and remember what was life like under them. The value of attachement to history is not a question of emotional memories, but rather a medicine to create a cleaner future without follies of the past.

link to the publishing agent

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Rise Planet of the apes / movie

For those born before 1963, the book "planet of the Apes" by the the french writer Pierre Boulle is the first exploration into the world of apes controlling humans and the injustice seen from another perspective. Then movies, Tv series have been produced, shown in theatres, seen by so many and engraved in the collective unconsciousness. How would we feel if we were the one trapped in the victim's seat?
In the sixties, the racial struggle between black and white in the USA was at it's peak. Today, they have a colored president. That looks like evolution on that front.

We, in the Arab world, should welcome such a movie in force. The Arab world is living revolutionary winters, freedom springs, bloody summers and uncertain autumn, with a common weather forecast of "down with the dictatorships".
The underprivileged need more than despair to move forward. They need that sparkle in the eye that means: yes we can!
In the Arab world, there are many dark areas of injustice and inequality. Women could take a forward stand and be more forceful than just driving in Saudi Arabia. Religious monopoly reduces minorities to hide and lie. And on and on...
One wish for this movie is to be shown without censorship!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Post it war in Paris

The post-it war in Paris is raging. In the corporate world of offices, it started with an employee who leashed her creativity and made a video game hero on her window with post-it notes. The Bank across could not stay idle and riposted with another video game hero. And it is all over Paris, its suburbs and going beyond!
It has been going for a few month.
Who said one cannot break the chains of monotony with whatever is available around?

Post-it war link to more photos

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Moleskine Notebook exhibition in Paris


"Moleskina Contamina" interprétation de l'artiste portugaise Joana Vasconcelos 

At the Bon Marché, in Paris, Moleskine is presenting an exhibition: artists and their notebook. An inspiration in creating within a small scale, sketches and artwork.
Moleskine has a vested interest in presenting its product beyond the iron curtain of intimate, personal space. It is also promoting an important form of art: sketching, playing, changing the tool into beauty.
With a view on what artists do with their notebook, it gives also a closer look to to a work in progress, to spontaneity in the process. Exhibition until the 25th of August 2011

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Goldbeater, a lost tradition

Goldbeater for five generations, Dauvet is the last one in France. Competition comes fromt he far east, with a few goldbeater makers of the fine thin sheet of gold. But Mr Dauvet has a feeling of a unique art, transmitted to him by his parents, that he holds in his hands and wonders if he will be able to pass it on to his son. A knowhow with tools and machines that seem like a lost tradition, a passion against all modern waves, a pride of production.
Dauvet has on his trophy his gold leaves for the Invalides'dome, the statue of liberty's flame and many others.

Dauvet website link

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Creative Spaces - Beirut

Creative Spaces in Beirut is an outstanding effort from a Lebanese graduate, Sarah Hermez, who decided to contribute in lives of others who could not go as far as she did.
Coming back home after studies at the New School, Parsons in New York, and a few trips in emerging countries such as India and Cambodia, she established herself in Beirut and wanted to share her knowledge.
Against all odds, she took her professor's offer, Ms Caroline Shlala-Simonelli, a lebanese american, expert in fashion making. She looked for a place in Lebanon, gathered students, fundraised all of the above. And it all started.
A two month course in learning: from the very beginning in finding ideas, looking for creativity, until the end product: a exhibition on the 17 until the 19 th of August 2011 in their atelier.
With the precious help of Ms Caroline, the whole process is spreading quality, precise tools and knowledge. It is about sharing a passion.

if you're in Lebanon do not miss the event!

creative space's website link

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Jassim al Nashmi and Pete Goché at Iowa State University

The opportunity of creativity given to a Kuwaiti Student at Iowa State University: Jassim al Nashmi has the incredible opportunity to travel outside his country, study abroad, learn in the best of the situations. He is at Iowa State University in the USA and wanted to work with an architecture professor and practising architect, Pete Gouché. 
The story goes as follow: 
"I decided to do an independent study with a professor I liked, but did not know what to study exactly. He suggested a course he had designed called Ritual Stations: simply put, you are to pick a domestic ritual that you practice by yourself or with your family and explore it, the end result is the product of this exploration, which can be anything. I chose Muslim prayer, so I asked friends and family what prayer means to them, what kind of environment they imagine would be most comfortable to pray in, what they think about when they pray.

I decided to design a space that would be the manifestation of what I had researched. This space was to be portable, because one can pray virtually anywhere, it was to be easy to construct, because it is for anyone to use, and it was to create a space in any room of any building feel transcendental and peaceful. With the materials and techniques that were available, it seemed like a praying mat was necessary, but also something that enclosed the space but felt like there were no real boundaries, which is what prayer feels like. Using traditional Islamic ornamentation, a permeable partition wall was fabricated that serves as a divider of space; playing with light & shadow and emanating a divine aura."

For a muslim arab student, the subject is thrilling :"ritual stations". Society in Kuwait is still attached to its rituals as a matrix of identity. Jassem picks Muslim prayer, uses the traditional geometric pattern so widely seen on mosques and buildings in the Arab world, and opts for a mat for the use of three adult males as he says "so my dad would pray in front of us and the 3 of us (my 2 brothers and I) would pray side by side."
This all looks like a repetition of what is traditionally available. 
But Jassem goes a bit further in his creative process and decides to twist a bit the traditions: he thinks about portability, about simplicity, about availability. He wants to create a place of prayer without clutter and without external input. 

It is a good trial for a young student in his capacity to encounter creativity. His challenge was surely to talk about a subject that is generally seen in the US as a symbol of terrorism. But did he really push himself to the limits of creativity?
What did his professor, Pete Gouché, consider for the project's evaluation?
Jassem says: "he was interested in our perceptions of our rituals and he wanted to help us explore them, he is a very humble man so he sees a lot that other professors don't see; he actually learns from his students. " 
The student must have learned the necessity to learn from others, beside professors, as the true way to connect with others.

The real question here is whether the student, with his exposure, could come back home and continue to explore the matter with full thrust. Will he be able to push his environment's limits and persist in creativity no matter what his peers' reactions are?
Will he think of integration rather than segregation? Will he feel at home with the whole world rather than an identification to country or nationality?

It is Kuwait greatest asset, beside Oil: young students learning outside and coming back home. It brings in change a step at a time, silently, slowly, without much violent or repression. 

Pete Gouché's website link

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Modern Architecture for a Church in Munich

Herz Jesu Church in Munich is of interest in modern architecture,  a prayer hall with a combination of space, light, steel, glass, wood and the multiple levels of christian symbols.
Allmann Sattler Wappner Architects won the competition for the Church and they used all contemporary tools to bring into life a place for prayer with a facade of glass that opens up entirely as doors to welcome all. The glass throughout the building is used in different grades of transparency to opacity closer to the altar as a degrees of light in the church. With simplicity in its interior and exterior, light becomes the only revolving effect.
With only a few constraints of use, the building is an example of how prayer places can adapt to the needs of the moments, reflect the era when it is built, remove the pretense of historic gimmicks.
The same location has had two previous churches that were burn down, one by war, the other by accident. Hopefully it will survive a few generation to carry the architectural message through.

link to the architects' web site

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Theo Jansen, kinetic sculptor

BBC report

Kinetic sculptor, using wind, motion, pvc, wings, Theo Jansen uses his creative power, his combining skills to make animal like creatures. Majestic.
Hours of labors, trial and error, he does what it takes to keep his work alive.
Arabs of talent, use your time to create!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Deconstructed Stairways to heaven - Vincent Dubourg

The '3 Storey Staircase' private commission by Vincent Dubourg,
represented at Carpenters Workshop Gallery
by a to-scale maquette. Photograph by David Brook
Wallpaper magazine displayed a photo of this staircase designed by the artist Vincent Dubourg, commissioned for a home in London by an Arab lady. As a discreet art patron, no name appears in the article. Vincent Dubourg talks about his experience in the project: how he was set free from guidelines and could work as an artist to produce the stairways as he wished. Sprouting from the wooden floor and reaching to the top as an organic element it looks like the staircase has lived there before the house was built. Although the tree feeling is quite vivid, the material used as steel and metal gives a dissonance in the biological alive sensation; but pulls out a futuristic and robotic effect. Impressive.

Wallpaper article (link)
Vincent Dubourg website (link)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Edimburgh jazz festival

The beauty of jazz festival or any other festival style is the choice: on a given day, let's say wednesday 27th july 2011, you're in Edinburgh and you plan to do what the locals do.
Angela King, a jazz singer (link)
Hidden orchestra / red snapper (link)
Hypnotic brass ensemble (link)
some others scattered in town.
The choice was to listen to Evan Christopher, clarinet player who knows about history of jazz. He plays "Django a la creole" with guitarists David Blenkhorn and Dave Kelbie, and bassist Sebastien Girardot. He talks about Django  Reinhardt and how the mix of clarinet, manouch, gypsy and creole music in the jazz tunes started when Django joined the Ellington band. The concert was light, pleasant and entertaining. With the sound of his clarinet, Christopher creates a jazzy mood, soothing! Nothing like live performance.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Lucien Freud passed away


Lucien freud passed away at the age of 88 and left many of his works to the Arts. In the contemporary world of concepts, installations, abstract, Freud painted reality in human flesh and bodies; he took the time to express himself to the fullest. Not looking at the plastic superficial perception of human bodies, he said:" I paint what I see not what you want me to see"; searching for a truth beyond the explicit.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The giant bookstore "Borders" shuts down

With store in the UAE or Oman, Borders shutting down by the end of september will have its own effect in the Arab world.
For reasons of profitability and return on investment, the US giant bookstore that had in stock more than thousands of books in each of its 400 stores, has to close down. The shift of clients behavior towards reading is a silent revolution, but predictability is another unknown factor: will the small neighbourhood bookstore resurface? will the internet take over any buying of books? will reading on electronic devises wipe out the paper format forever?
Fnac (another giant in France) is rethinking its strategy to keep some of its market shares. They plan to concentrate their efforts on the customer rather than the product, which could make the event of visiting the store an experience by itself.
Will Amazon be our only source of books?
In the Arab world, before contemplating a bookstore's financial results, we still have to work on the books productions and accessibility: censorship and repression on ideas and thoughts are slowly cracking up through different countries, but it has barely gone beyond twitter and facebook. Reading or writing books require a deeper and longer thought process than the 140 symbols message.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Souad Massi at the Democratic Republic of Music in Beirut

Democratic Republic of Music is the new concert/bar/restaurant in Hamra. They were looking for the perfect sound; so they tailored everything around it. "We built a box in a box with special materials so that the sound is crystal clear with minimum reverberation. DRM is a concert hall that was conceived from this perspective: the perspective of music producers and musicians." they say in their website.
And they have added the experience: food, drinks, service, friendliness.

Tonight Souad Massi on the microphone. The algerian singer shared her passion with her voice, with her heart.
A great performance in a magical place.

Democratic Republic of Music link

Friday, 3 June 2011

Can you do the Cans campaign?

The art of can has started in 2009 in other parts of the world, it arrived to Kuwait and the deadline is august 2011 to submit your art work with redbull cans. Billboards are everywhere (though quite unclear)
Recycling redbull's cans and showing creativity and talent; what a noble cause!
Let's see what the arabs can produce...

link to the red bull site

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Jim Al Khalili - the House of Wisdom

The House of Wisdom, How Arabic Science saved ancient knowledge and gave us the renaissance by Jim al Khalili.
The author is a professor at the University of Surrey, theoretical physicist and broadcaster. With interests in the development of body quantum scattering methods, al Khalili has an added quality of communicator through Tv shows, radio talks etc.
The Arabs contribution to science has been widely researched and published, but "the house of Wisdom" must be brought in with another angle and an in depth vision.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Meditative calligraphy workshop in Kuwait

Fareed Abdal, Kuwaiti architect and artist, is also known as a great teacher with his students at the Architecture departement at Kuwait University. He opened his knowledge again in a three days workshop on arabic meditative calligraphy at the Dar al Athar al Islamiyah.

He said: "three days of workshop is nothing, but a small window into a craft that can be expanded to an art." He started with the simple basic rules of arabic calligraphy, he engaged with the students in asking them to create their own tool for the next session, he went beyond the exactitude of script and letter formation. He combined his practice to allow thinking about space, time, the white around the black ink. He then opened doors of exploration in the arts of arabic calligraphy and used Sufi and other traditional schools of calligraphy to bring in the tradition while pushing it into a contemporary art.
He continuously spread the productions on the floor outside the room to allow another persective and pull out reactions from the students.

If Fareed Abdal is doing another "meditative calligraphy" workshop, make sure to sign up: it is definitely worth all your efforts

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Book: Arabic graffiti

 "Arabic Graffiti" coauthored by Lebanese typographer Pascal Zoghbi and graffiti writer and publisher Stone aka Don Karl Zaza, has been released in April 2011, by the publishing house "from Here to Fame". They called on contributors who have worked on the subjects extensively (Houda Kassatly, William Parry, Huda Smitshuijzen Abifares, Rana Jarbou, Tala Saleh) .

The Arab countries are now in a positive flip: revolutions, protests, public expression, demands of liberties and freedom. The book will attract attention internationally as the world needs to see what is really happening in the realm of creation and arts. 

Monday, 2 May 2011

Forest calling for art

Malin Holmberg, will stop loving you, 2010
Photo: Anders Norrsell

Anne Thulin, Double Dribble, 2010
Photo: Anders Norrsell

 The forest is now a playground for Art. In the southern part of Sweden, the foundation for contemporary art, Wanas, has asked artists to face the living green bulk of a forest. Their contributions was mainly sculpture and land art. Around a medieval castle, near the city of Malmo, the foundation has an integrated bio dairy farm,  exhibition spaces dedicated to contemporary art and an untamed forest left to its own evolution where artists are called to leave an imprint. 
"Art is the only solution to strand the invisible gap between nature and man" says the sculptor Richard Nonas. 
Arabs are far to busy with fundamentals on freedom of expression and liberties, will they ever think about their relationship with nature?

Maya Lin, 11 Minute Line, 2004
Courtesy the artist.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ghada al Kandari at the Tillal Gallery in Kuwait

Ghada al Kandari, an accomplished artist, gave us a beautiful part of her expression. 
It starts as a first step in her blog:

It is the window to the artist's inside lense. She blogs, writes, takes pictures of her work on a process level, she shows her sketches. As if this web window allows her to share the process she goes through. And the process is fascinating.

It has the creative sparkle that mesmerizes.

The second step is the exhibition:

At the Tillal Gallery, in Kuwait, Ghada al Kandari had a full exhibition, although the space is cold, big and unfriendly. She managed to fill the walls, use the empty space to comfortably put the scene and decor for her "Eves".
The collection of her works showed a well rounded process of works. She has her style and yet evolves with intensity. 
Women in different personas, doing different things, being at different stages, are the main subject of her works. 
She, herself, wore a beautiful black dress to compliment the show.  

The third step: the canvas are pulled down. The show is over. Ghada is showing a new painting in her blog. She moves on. Easily or with difficulty, it is hard to tell.
Then, frivolously, in an unexpected manner, two paintings by Ghada are hung on a different wall beside a staircase, behind a table with a flowered vase. The two "Eves" have found a new home.  At least they were bought in a pair as to have each other in case of severe loneliness or homesickness. There is a story behind the "Eves" and it feels that they have said a lot, heard a lot, and saw a lot...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Thierry Titi Robin Trio in Kuwait

At the Shamiyah theatre, the Titi Robin Trio performed as the last event for the "Francophonie" month in Kuwait.
Delightful music!
Thierry Robin started as a gypsy guitarist in his carrier, then went off the world to live interactive music, and play with other music. His latest album is about his journey in India, Turkey and Morocco. On stage, he uses his classic guitar, puts it down, takes a bouzouk, changes repertoire and continues on the Oud. Francis Varis on the accordion gave a pleasant wind sound to the guitar. ZE Luis Nascimento, on percussion, gave depth and beat that rounded the whole performance.
It was a good show, though the French flavor was more in the fusion and openness to different cultures.

"Excerpts from his website:
"When words fail, music raises its voice,” Vladimir Jankelevich used to claim. Titi Robin’s music expresses what words often have difficulty capturing: it speaks of the extreme solitude of the soul, the naked truth of heartfelt emotions, the delicate grandeur of love, the tough but necessary process of learning how to live one’s life, and the fierce sensation, occasionally tinged with violence, that the beauty of the world can stir in each and every one of us.
For over thirty years, this restless musician has swum at the confluence of gypsy and Arab cultures. He has surfed the impetuous and majestic poetic wave that flows from the foothills of India through Central Asia down to the banks of the Mediterranean in every direction. But it is impossible to reduce his art to a simple desire to blend sounds and styles, less still to an ambition to concoct an acceptable style of world music."

Titi Robin's website link

Monday, 28 March 2011

United states of Palestine / Khalil Rabah in Kuwait/ gorilla style

Art in an unusual venue. Not in a gallery, not in an art fair. This installation, by Khalil Rabah, will be part of the World Travel Expo, Kuwait 2011, Mishref, international fair grounds, from Tuesday 29th march 2011 to April 1st from 10 am to 1pm, and 5 to 9 pm. 
The travel expo has a clear mission : "Unlock the business potential, bringing exhibitors with tour operators, leisure buyers and the industry's most influential meetings, incentive and corporate buyers".
So tour operators, travel agents and the industry's who's who, have all scheduled to be at the trade fair, see what's new and mingle with potential clients. 
Then they'll walk up to booth A6 and read: United States of Palestine Airlines. It looks real.
They'll react. 
What is it?
Who's airlines?
Where does it fly to?
Is it a joke?

Now that is art! In the most unexpected, in the least predicted manner, the viewer will take a second to pause, or not.
Gorilla art, street art, art for the people.
Art away from collectors and fancy, flashy, posh connoisseurs.
Art that triggers a series of questions, unsettle our routine and conventions, surprises us.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Art fundraising for Japan on facebook

facebook link

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is an open wound for humanity. It is a humbling phenomena that puts back in scale the magnitude in which planet earth reacts to its natural course, and how humans are just a drop of nothingness in their own ego driven self centered activities.

In Los Angeles, USA, a city that lives under the threat of earthquakes, a group of artists on Melrose Street are calling on facebook for a art fundraising effort and all proceeds will be donated to relief in Japan.

In the Arab world, we are prone to man made violence: wars, revolutions, brutality, dictatorships, repression etc.  Artists often participate in efforts for war relief. In Kuwait, we have seen auctions for the 2006 war in Lebanon, we see art fundraising charities for children's hospice. and this list can go on. Artists in the region can barely know where to turn their heads to!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Treasures of the world - in Kuwait at the Americani Cultural Center

Sneak preview: "Treasures of the world" objects, jewellery, daggers, metal works, rock crystals fromt he Mughal Period are displayed at the new "Americani Cultural Center" in Kuwait. It will open its doors to the public in May 2011. The exhibition has been touring the world for the past decade, from Moscow at the Kremlin to St Petersburg at the Hermitage, to Paris at the Louvre and the list is long... 
It is clearly explained that this not a museum but a temporary exhibition.
The Center is the old American Hospital of Kuwait that started its activities in the early 1930's and was closed when Kuwait built its first large hospital in the 1950's. The architecture is preserved and its has an outstanding feeling of respect for the old bricks, rather than wiping out the old to build new as it has become a trend in Kuwait in the name of modernization. 

The scenography for the exhibition is the essence of the show. The blown up miniatures showing scenes of the Mughal period give a sense of wide angle view to the minute details and precision in the making of these objects. Same showcases have been travelling with the objects around the world, with its own full lighting, security systems and tags to explain in few words the origin and story behind the object. 

A worthwhile experience...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sinan Hussein - in Kuwait

Sinan Hussein, the dreamer who escapes the ugly world through his paintings, has more than 20 of his works on show at the Boushahri gallery in Kuwait until the 11th of march 2011.
One of his works, "the wedding couple" was sold at the JAMM auction of february 2011 in Kuwait.
An Iraqi artist, he has been around in Kuwait for a while, after a time in Jordan and previously in Baghdad.
As much as he considers his time in the faculty of art at the University of Baghdad as being useless and how he believes his teachers needed training and revamping, Sinan shows a mastery of the basics: color, composition, texture, subject, research, point of view... And that must have been acquired quite early in his training.

Although he has exhibited more abstract work previously, this particular show is about a world of spirits, without arms, sometimes without ears, eyes or mouth. His spirits are to scream out the lack of humanity in the human world of today; yet their screaming is done in the softest toned way, in a sense of peace, playfulness and lightness.
His spirits vagabond from a closer human figure barely touching the ground to a bubble of dream in the dream. Their side twisted head seem to show a surprise or disbelief in what they see. Some have halos around their heads maybe to relate to other iconic figures in the world of art. One of his works is entitled: My Jocanda, as if he pays a tribute to past masters. The space on the canvas that surrounds the spirits are worked intensely from color to texture to elements as if the spirits needed the best of care and profound assistance and support.

Sinan sees that they contain the humanity that he cannot find elsewhere. He could be a medium through which they express their agony: a way to remind all of his fellow humans to reconsider their own lost humanity.
He paints a world trapped in canvases and hardly accessible from the real world. He might be labeled as a caricature / light figures / rosy world - artist. It needs an in depth look at his figures and discern the pain through the lightness, as a refined process for expression far from those abrupt, loud noises we got used to in the arab world of art.