Beirut-born singer Mika to livestream concert for blast victims

Money raised from the concert will go to Save the Children and the Lebanese Red Cross. File/AFP
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Updated 19 September 2020

Beirut-born singer Mika to livestream concert for blast victims

  • Money raised from the concert will go to Save the Children and the Lebanese Red Cross
  • Some 190 people were killed and 6,000 injured in the Aug. 4 explosion that reduced parts of the city to rubble

LONDON: Beirut-born pop star Mika will livestream a concert this weekend to raise funds for victims of the Aug. 4 port blast in the Lebanese capital, and Mexican actress Salma Hayek and Australian singer Kylie Minogue are among those joining in.

Some 190 people were killed and 6,000 injured in the huge explosion that reduced parts of the city to rubble and deepened an economic and political crisis in the country.

“There’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of sadness,” Mika told Reuters in a Zoom interview.

“And so I think it’s important to provoke empathy, to show the human side of things, to use music ... and just kind of focus on that human side of it for a moment instead of just the politics, which is ... what happens most of the time.”

Money raised from the concert, to be streamed on Mika’s YouTube channel via a private link from 1900 GMT on Saturday, will go to Save the Children and the Lebanese Red Cross to support their work on the ground in Beirut. Tickets cost $12.95.

Mika said performers would be filmed in their local surroundings rather than all being inside, giving viewers more variety, and the concert would feature people caught up in the blast.

They include the family of George, who was born in a hospital that bore the full force of the shockwaves but who survived, earning him the nickname “miracle” baby.


‘Rome chose me,’ says Saudi artist on breakthrough Italian exhibition

Updated 24 October 2020

‘Rome chose me,’ says Saudi artist on breakthrough Italian exhibition

  • “Rome chose me and not vice versa. This idea wants to be a bridge between cultures,” Fahad told Arab News
  • He could not be in Rome for the opening of the exhibition, which is open to visitors until Dec. 10

ROME: Saudi artist Sultan bin Fahad has chosen Rhinoceros, an art gallery in Rome’s historic heart, for his first solo show.
The exhibition, “Frequency,” is staged in a 15th-century building recently renovated by French architect Jean Nouvel, and includes six installations featuring light, incense, shadows, music and sounds. Each piece describes a spiritual journey to modernity through many cultures, but one that is firmly linked to Islam.
“Rome chose me and not vice versa. This idea wants to be a bridge between cultures,” Fahad told Arab News from Los Angeles, where he lives. He could not be in Rome for the opening of the exhibition, which is open to visitors until Dec. 10.
“Each of my creations is specific. I wanted to tell a concept that was understood and expressed by the surrounding place,” the artist said. Over the years he collected precious antique pieces from Makkah and Madinah which he found all over the world, including some metallic pieces which had gone missing in 1979. He shot videos and recorded sounds, and used everything in the artwork that describes what he sees as the human journey toward a sacred temple of feelings.
The exhibition includes “Been There,” a piece with four ancient stones inscribed in Arabic interacting with a large plate of luminescent glass. Then comes “If Stone Could Speak,” with white marble works from Makkah. A video is projected showing men and women gathered in prayer.
Another work, “Possession,” shows an image of the hands of men and women trying to get closer to an elusive God, trying to touch the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“I filmed those people and I was interested to understand why they were doing those gestures. They were trying to reach the divine. I thought it was moving,” Fahad said.
“The Verse of The Throne” contains a projection of a verse from the Holy Qur’an in front of six bowls, with water serving as an element of purification. Then comes “The White Noise,” represented in two immersive rooms, associated by the artist with the prayers of Makkah pilgrims.
Fahad said the exhibition looks to “involve all the senses to create a real experience, going beyond a visual experience for the visitor.”
In this sense, his works represent the place where anthropological concepts were born and became infused by Greek, Latin and Eastern cultures.
In fact, in the Arabian Gulf, humans once measured their existence through the loss of their relatives, creating a cult of the dead, which is reflected in Fahad’s work.
The artist is waiting to see what the future has in store. “I have no plans so far. I am so happy that I could produce something in 2020 due the the difficult time the entire world is experiencing. Let us hope that the situation will evolve for the better,” he said.

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