Famed French-Tunisian artist eL Seed unveils new work in Nepal – Arab News
DUBAI: French-Tunisian artist eL Seed has unveiled another ambitious work — this time in Nepal’s Giranchaur village.
The artist — who is famous for championing the art of “calligraffiti,” a mixture of Arabic calligraphy and graffiti — took to Instagram to show off his latest large-scale work titled “Like Her,” that stretches 170 meters covering rooftops in the small village.
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“In 2015 an earthquake rocked Nepal, destroying hundreds of homes and tearing many families apart. As the country began to build itself back up again women took a leading role in the reconstruction of the society around them. In Giranchour, a small village three hours away from Kathmandu, some women got trained in construction work, when others learned how to produce their own earthquake resistant bricks,” the artist explained on Instagram.
“In this new project, I explore the topic of women empowerment by bringing light to the stories of admirable women. During four weeks, I worked with a team of 12 women who helped me create a giant art installation that spread all around the village connecting each house to another, linking each women’s story to the other,” he added.
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The installation features the words of Yogmaya Neupane (1867-1941) one of the first female activists of Nepal.
“There is nothing between us, nothing at all. Your eyes have tears, just like my own,” the words read.
“I believe artists have a great social responsibility to inspire, ignite and implement change. ‘Like Her’ intends to raise up the women in this remote community that was devastated by the 2015 earthquake, and bring to light issues facing these women, and women all over the world, while sharing their beautiful stories of wisdom, strength and resilience,” eL Seed said.
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A video documenting the project is on show at the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The artist is no stranger to large scale works, and previously painted the faced of 50 houses in Cairo in a piece titled “Perception.” He also painted the façade of Paris’s Pont des Arts bridge, replacing the famous love locks that adorned the crossing, in a previous piece.
DUBAI: Reality TV star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian this week helped a group of young female Afghan soccer players and their families flee to the UK in the wake of the Taliban takeover over the country.
According to AP, Kardashian and her shapewear brand SKIMS funded the chartered flight to the UK with help from a New York rabbi and an English Premier League football club.
The aircraft landed at Stansted Airport, near London, on Thursday with 130 people, including the 30 athletes, on board.
The female footballers received help from the nonprofit US group Tzedek Association. Founder Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, who has previously worked with Kardashian on criminal justice reform in the US, asked her to help pay for a chartered flight to the UK.
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“Maybe an hour later, after the Zoom call, I got a text message that Kim wants to fund the entire flight,” Margaretten said.
English Premier League club Leeds United also offered to support the players, it was reported.
Women have been banned from playing sport by the Taliban, and hundreds of female athletes have left Afghanistan since the group returned to power and began controlling women’s education and freedom.
Khalida Popal, a former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team, said: “Many of those families left their homes when the Taliban took over. Their houses were burnt down.”
She added: “Some of their family members were killed or taken by the Taliban. So the danger and the stress were high, and that’s why it was very important to move fast to get them away from Afghanistan.”
“Ever since I was a child, I remember dreaming about being a fashion designer. The colors, the fabrics, the cuts, the shapes … this is my game in life. This is how I can express everything I am feeling or thinking,” the Palestinian evening wear and bridal gown designer told Arab News earlier this year. His Spring/Summer 2022 collection bore out his words, dazzling the audience with asymmetrical designs, glamorous silhouettes, subtle high-end embroidery, seductive maxi dresses, and sequins galore.
“The tough times or the scarcity that we live in creates bigger challenges for us,” he said of working in Palestine. “It makes us, as designers, create more and express ourselves in artistic ways through which we can communicate with the world.”
Jiryis launched his eponymous label 12 years ago, but this was his first physical show (having appeared in last year’s digital-only event). It was a triumph. And it suggested it’s just a matter of time before his stated goal of ‘going global’ is realized.
Beirut-based designer Eric Ritter explained the thinking behind his label’s name to Arab News in May this year. “We decided to call it Emergency Room because we were going to truly do things a way that is environmentally friendly, ethical, and respectful of the environment,” he said. Doing things differently is at the core of Ritter’s design philosophy, and informed much of the presentation of his “Neverland” collection at Arab Fashion Week. In the event’s most dramatic show, as the models (a group of clients, friends and fans) walked, there was no soundtrack save for Ritter’s own voiceover discussing the inspiration behind his striking upcycled collection, which he also explains on the brand’s website: “Through the collection, we aim to capture, process and catalyze the essence and energy of any conversation happening in Beirut at the moment, the socio-economic crisis, the truly slow post-pandemic remission, and most importantly, the deafening ‘Should-I-Stay-Or-Should- I-Go’ inhabiting the minds of every Lebanese today, young or old,” he writes. “(We) started as a brand centered around a community, harnessing the latter’s highs and lows, and working towards a better tomorrow. ‘Neverland’ is the natural continuation — a response to a severe situation, a cry of frustration, but also resistance. Resistance through process, resistance through work, resistance through art, resistance through standing ground.”
The Dubai-based designer’s catwalk show was as meticulously crafted and artfully designed as you’d expect for a collection called “Impalpable Dream of Gustav Klimt.” Klimt’s artwork graced the runway, but perhaps the most eye-catching part of Cinco’s show was the model lineup — spectacularly diverse and inclusive, featuring models with prosthetic limbs, models of various ethnicities, and plus-sized models showcasing Cinco’s couture collection.
The clothes themselves lived up to the high-concept presentation: Flamboyant dresses with immaculate detailing, dazzling beadwork, and glittering suits and gowns. It was a fitting climax to the week, and received a well-deserved standing ovation from the packed house.
The Dubai-based label produced a typically dramatic collection for Spring/Summer 2022, dominated by a color palette of reds and blacks and featuring sweeping evening gowns and tailored body suits, all presented with the handcrafted flair that is the signature of Amato’s Filipino creative director Furne One.
The Dubai-based Iraqi designer’s show kicked off Arab Fashion Week’s final day. Zaki herself was in Costa Rica at the time, but appeared via video link to introduce her Spring/Summer 2022 collection, consisting of elegant evening gowns characterized by, the organizers said in a press release, “pastel colors, simple cuts and ruffled silhouettes.” Once again, sequins proved popular in a lineup that was both regionally appropriate and internationally appealing.
The Dubai-based Lebanese label showed a relaxed, ready-to-wear collection tailored for the mass market. Jacket-and-maxi-skirt combos mixed with oversized outfits in a palette dominated by white, black and metallic silver. The brand was definitely on-trend with its asymmetrical silhouettes too.
The Emirati label hasn’t been around long, but it’s made a big splash on the regional scene — landing deals with major department stores and online vendors. The label’s collection, showcased at October’s event, combined the sophistication of red-carpet evening wear with the ease and comfort of ready-to-wear couture in a range of pastel colors — often spruced up with sequins.
DUBAI: There has long been a strong cultural link between Latin America and the Arab world. Hundreds of thousands of people from the Levant have emigrated to Latin America over the past 150 years.
It’s no wonder, then, that when Lebanese animator Louaye Moulayess began work on “Encanto,” Disney’s latest musical, he saw in the film’s large, diverse Colombian family a reflection of his own.
“The biggest thing that I connected with in this project is that I have a really big family in Lebanon,” Moulayess tells Arab News. “It really made me question the relationships I have with my own family, and how well I know them, and how well they know each of us. With the lead character of Mirabel, I kept thinking of my oldest cousin back in Lebanon, Louisa. She carries a lot of weight and responsibility. A lot of the characters made me think about each of my own family members, and what they’re going through. Each character in their family reminded me of one in mine.”
Moulayess and his family connected with Latin American culture a while back, he explains, thanks to the telenovelas that have proved so popular in the Arab world.
“Growing up, I remember my parents, my mom and my aunts and I watching a lot of (those) in Lebanon. One of the key songs in the film, ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’ reminds me a lot of those shows,” says Moulayess.
Part of Moulayess’s job is to film ‘reference shots’ — acting scenes out physically in front of the camera so those performances can be animated to match each character’s movements. As a result, Moulayess has to get into the heads of each character, including the film’s lead, Mirabel.
“Obviously, I’m not built like Mirabel. But I had to learn to move like her, even though I’m always questioning my acting choices. We had a lot of meetings to make sure we were as truthful and respectful to the culture and the character as possible,” says Moulayess. “We had to ask ourselves, ‘Who is she? She’s quirky, she’s funny, she’s sad, but is she happy? What’s going through her mind?’ I had to get into her head in each moment, feel what she’s feeling, and try to emulate that.”
In “Encanto,” Mirabel is the only non-magical member of a magical family, in which each person has a unique ability. While the film centers around her struggles to find something special in herself, we get to see how each member of the family has their own identity crises, even those who appear perfect on the surface.
Each member of the team, each from a different background, found something to connect with, including the Tony-, Grammy- and Emmy-winning songwriter Lin Manuel Miranda, who composed the songs.
“Anyone who has grown up in any family understands the tension of how you see yourself versus how your family sees you, and how that grows and changes over time,” Miranda tells Arab News. “That is multiplied by your siblings, and your aunts, and your uncles, and your cousins, and the ways in which you interact with all those folks. That’s all meaty stuff to write about. I don’t think there’s a person who can go to this movie and not identify with a character up on that screen,” says Miranda.
For the song “Pressure”, about the older sister seen as the strongest member of the family, Miranda, director Jared Bush, Moulayess and the rest of the team each could find a member of the family that they used to understand the character, and, in reverse, that song helped them understand better.
“That song was both my love letter and apology to my older sister,” says Miranda. “Looking at it as a parent, you make all your mistakes on the first kid, they inadvertently always bear more responsibility than their younger siblings. To write from that perspective was kind of incredible. It reflects my sister in the sense that it’s the toughest exterior in the family, and then actually the most sensitive underbelly underneath.”
“All of our research was really our own families,” says Bush. “We found these archetypes were true all over, such as the black sheep of the family, or the golden child, or the responsible one, or the mom who heals with her food. All of these things felt very familiar to us, and very relatable, Universally, around the world, we found these archetypes held true.”
“This was honestly a joy to write, from start to finish,” Miranda says. “I can’t wait for families from all over to see themselves reflected up on that screen,” says Miranda.
LONDON: It’s fair to say that Netflix has disrupted the movie industry over the last few years — and not just because cinemas were closed for 18 months and streaming services became the new normal.
But without box office takings to worry about, the hope was that Netflix (and its big-spending competitors) would embolden leading filmmakers and empower a new generation of writers and directors to take the kind of creative risks that might make established studios and distributors think twice.
While that might be true (and it’s debatable), it has also seemingly enabled the production of a number of big-budget movies that should really have been nipped in the bud at the planning stage. Perhaps the old-school studios might have insisted on some quality control? Such common sense appears to have been entirely absent from “Red Notice”, which throws A-listers Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot into a globe-trotting action heist caper that has none of the charm, wit or smarts of the numerous films it shamelessly steals from.
When FBI profiler John Hartley (Johnson) is framed for stealing a priceless McGuffin, he teams up with Nolan Booth (Reynolds) — the infamous art thief he’s been zealously hunting — to catch the mysterious Bishop (Gadot), a femme fatale-type who’s proving every bit as talented a thief as Booth. The trio ricochet from one set piece to another, with Interpol behind them every step of the way. Needless to say, there are heists, chases and double crosses aplenty.
Sounds great, right? Well, it isn’t. The jokes don’t land, the script appears to have been penned by a not-especially-gifted toddler, and even the film’s trio of high-earning stars can’t seem to rustle up any enthusiasm (or chemistry) between them.
“Red Notice” is reportedly Netflix’s most expensive film to date. It seems odd, then, that it includes something as reductive as a Borat impression.
Presumably, a lot of people signed off on this film. And while the pulling power of its star trio will undoubtedly mean it gets plenty of views, cooler, more discerning heads should have prevailed.
DUBAI: The UAE’s Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is returning for its 2022 edition with a stellar lineup of creatives including writers Julia Quinn and Serhii Plokhy of the Netflix smash hits “Bridgerton” and “Chernobyl 1986” respectively.
The event, which is set to take place from Feb. 3-12, will also welcome German author Sara Gay Forden of the much-hyped film “House of Gucci.”
There will be a number of Arab creatives attending the festival including Mona Al-Shammari, writer of TV show “No Music at Al Ahmadi,” Emirati animator Mohammed Saeed Harib, creator of “Freej,” and Ken Arto, French-Japanese animator of “Demon Slayer.”
The theme of the festival will be “Here Comes the Sun.”
The majority of sessions will take place at the Habtoor City Hotels.
Ahlam Bolooki, director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome international authors back in person, and brimming with excitement about our new venue, our phenomenal programme, and as always, the unforgettable stories the festival will give rise to.”
“We have some very special sessions planned for the coming edition, and I am telling everyone to book early because if you blink, you will miss your chance,” she added.
Other big names in the packed program include US-Belarusian entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, British author Nadiya Hussain, British comedian David Walliams, Egyptian poet Iman Mersal, British novelist Mark Billingham, Iraqi author Shahad Al-Rawi, British actor and author Ben Miller, Egyptian YouTuber Ahmed El Ghandour and US writer David Baldacci.