Recently I came over a website promoting Tourism in Iraq. Many posted videos on the site show what the country has to offer in terms of historical sites that might be the most attractive part for a visitor. Watching some of those videos you get the idea that those valuable pieces of history are totally abandoned. Shouldn’t promoting for tourism efforts start by maintaining those priceless gems first then promote them?
After her first success with Caramel, Nadine Labaki returns to directing, this time with her new film “Where do we go now?”. A social comedy that showcases another face of Lebanon that people are not familiar with. It seems that this genre is becoming a specialty of Nadine and she does it very well. The images are rich with color and content and the main theme is a serious issue in that part of the world. The approach is rather surreal, in a good way, with a musical touch and that is probably what makes watching it a treat. It won the 2011 People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the 2011 Audience Award at Oslo Films from the South Festival and the Audience Award at San Sebastián International Film Festival.
And here is the trailer of Caramel, if you have not seen it already. It is a recommended view.
Makadi Nahhas is a contemporary Jordanian singer with a traditional twist. In this video she sings a traditional Iraqi song that was originally performed by the Iraqi renowned female singer Zuhor Husein 1918-1964 (the second video). Makadi adds to it the nice tone of her voice and updates the music to give it a contemporary flavor. In addition to the music, the Arabic songs, especially the old ones, are heavily based on poetic lyrics or a message. This one is not an exception.
The difference between the two generations is evident, but nice to listen to.
Nasir Nasrallah is an artist from the United Arab Emirates currently living in Austria. His art work is refreshing and takes the style of children’s books illustrations. His art works reflect the artist’s eagerness for experimentation in mediums, techniques, and ideas. He treats topics from his regional environment in the contemporary frame of his art.
“I know that I can choose, but I cannot confirm that I am free, for my choices are always confined to conditions beyond my will.”
This is how the Iraqi born artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji presents his exhibitions “An introduction to the philosophy of freedom” in the Stads gallery in Amersfoort, Netherlands. As he does not believe in limiting his art work to one form of expression, his exhibition is a rich experience where the experience itself is what matters. Sometimes, they are plays of the art work with its title, impregnated with philosophical connotations and dark presence emphasized with the use of colors. The presence of memories from his homeland Iraq in his works takes the viewer through a path of the artists’ personal and emotional experiences.
His latest works were part of a group exhibition held in the Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modren Art in 2011 under the title (Told / Untold / Retold). One of the exhibited art works is an interesting video painting titled ” The house that my father built, (once upon a time)”.
Nevertheless, it was interesting for us to also see his developing artistic style through watching chronologically his art works. We post here one of his older works and a poem:
“I do not paint out of luxury,
and do not seek beauty,
but as an attempt to reason the world and myself….
the result does not exceed a restless
sort of crying.”
On past September 12, Bernard Khoury presented at Barcelona, Spain, the first Open Lecture of the MBIArch Fall term at the 2011-2012 Opening Ceremony, under the title of “Combat Architecture”. The Barcelona Institute of Architecture (BIArch) is an international center for research, practice and dissemination of contemporary architecture.
Khoury is an interesting architect with an unusual point of view of the relationship between his architecture and its political and social context. His projects embrace a conceptual approach and express an innovative vision of an architect in a society of high doses of political content and continuous social dialogues. The projects presented in this video show a real interest in finding unusual architectural solutions, and through those, provoking new experiences. The attention to details in his work is undeniable and the spaces are bear expression of the intelligent use of materials, light and space.
In this other video, BIArch Visiting Professor Krunoslav Ivanisin interviews architect Bernard Khoury, discussing his work and the current architectural situation in Lebanon and the Middle East.
Born in Damascus in 1968, the Syrian artist Boutros Al-Maari transmits through his paintings a feeling of the contemporary and the history in the same canvas. Like the images below, his paintings are sort of exaggerated drawings of the typical characters from the Syrian daily life.