Industry leaders talk building grassroots culture at Riyadh’s XP Music Futures

Music industry leaders and government officials took part in the panel at the event’s third edition. (Arab News/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 09 December 2023
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Industry leaders talk building grassroots culture at Riyadh’s XP Music Futures

RIYADH: Investments, events and community interaction are key to growing Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning music industry, a panel at the XP Music Futures conference was told on Thursday.

Music industry leaders and government officials took part in the panel at the event’s third edition, which is being held from Dec. 7-9 ahead of MDLBEAST’s Soundstorm festival.

“What I’ve noticed in Saudi Arabia from my visits is that there are entities who are taking the initiative to set up the grassroots culture … their scope is to teach people how to make music,” said Ramy Al-Kadhi, head of commercial at streaming platform Anghami.

Panelists said that investment is musical education is critical, with the Saudi Ministry of Culture establishing the Music Commission to direct funding into the Kingdom’s homegrown industry.

Creativity hubs for up-and-coming musicians, such as JAX, Riyadh’s art district that hosts spaces for music, fashion and art events, are also working to promote Saudi artists.

“We’re really proud of our community and we’re trying to always bolster their creativity, to keep them all alive, to have them all together in this space. It’s the community — it’s not anyone else but the community,” said Omnia Abdulqadir, communications and marketing director of JAX District.

Events like XP offer creatives a chance to learn and share their experiences, pushing the grassroots scene forward, the panelists said.

Other important steps include using existing cultural spaces, like museums, to initiate collaborations with the music industry, said Dr. Basma Al-Buhaira, managing director of the Center for Fourth Industrial Revolution in KSA.

Inclusivity must also be promoted for people with disabilities, as well as older artists, panelists said.

Other speakers, including CECO founder and creative consultant Dalia Fatania, and The Warehouse founder Mohammad Al-Attas, highlighted the power of technology to bolster musical talent.

The Warehouse also hosts open mic nights and jam sessions to encourage a culture of creativity.

Monetization of work is important for budding artists, the panelists said, encouraging young Saudis in the industry to work with brands, take on educational roles, sell merchandise and collectibles, and collaborate with other industries.


Elie Saab unveils Fall/Winter 2024 line at Paris Fashion Week

Updated 03 March 2024
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Elie Saab unveils Fall/Winter 2024 line at Paris Fashion Week

DUBAI/PARIS: Lebanese designer Elie Saab unveiled his Fall/Winter ready-to-wear 2024-25 collection at Paris Fashion Week on Saturday, with a showcase of darker colors in a suitably wintery palette.

Figure-hugging olive green gowns were shown off on the runway, with deep purple and a muted dark blue also punctuating the new offering.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

“The Elie Saab ready-to-wear Fall/ Winter 2024-25 collection is a never-ending song where the melodies of Graceland resound beyond Elvis (Presley),” the fashion house declared on Instagram.

Besides gowns, the designer also offered a variety of chic tailored separates, with a glittering coat with razor-sharp lapels contrasting well against the soft curves and floral elements of another all-white overcoat.

Guests included influencers such as Olivia Palermo, Nathalie Fanj and Tamara Kalinic.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

Elsewhere at a rainy Paris Fashion Week on Saturday, luxury label Hermes explored the meaning of “quiet luxury.” This season the narrative took a darker, more introspective turn as creative head Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski offered brooding black leathers that evoked the deep, reflective tones of the late French painter Soulages.

Nipped buckles and gentle ribbing on skin-tight pants demonstrated Vanhee-Cybulski’s adeptness at blending Hermes’ storied craftsmanship with innovative design. Amidst this darker palette, muted flashes emerged, weaving poetically through the collection, The Associated Press reported.

Braving the persistent Parisian drizzle, K-Pop star Sandara Park led the pack at Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, captivating the audience in a punk-tinged corset adorned with pearls. The opening ensembles transported the audience back in time amid contemporary fusions, channeling the essence of a serf, the medieval agricultural laborer. The designs incorporated leggings, jockstraps resembling codpieces, mystical talismanic pendants, and tear-shaped cutouts on thick knit sweaters.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld)

Meanwhile, elegant sophistication, minimalism, and a hint of nonchalance continued to define Carven. The storied house, originally founded by Marie Louise Carven in 1945, evolved under the guidance of various male creative directors since its reboot 2009 and 2018. Stepping into this lineage as the first female leader since its reboot, Louise Trotter presented her second collection Saturday, skillfully weaving together the brand’s 1950s origins with a minimalist aesthetic reminiscent of the 1990s.

The show opened with a statement piece: A brown round-shouldered coat that was both loose and indicative of the new direction Trotter is steering Carven towards.

This piece set the stage for a collection with dimensions and perceptions — for example, a striking dress featured a trompe l’oeil effect, cleverly designed to appear two-dimensional.


Art Dubai spotlights the Global South and art as healing

Updated 03 March 2024
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Art Dubai spotlights the Global South and art as healing

DUBAI: Long a crossroads for cultures from the Far East, South Asia, Europe and the Americas, Dubai’s strategic global location has made it a pivotal place for cultural exchange. Art Dubai’s 17th edition, which wraps up on March 3, further exemplifies the Gulf city’s unique location and cosmopolitan nature, particularly for artists and cultural platforms from the Global South.

The “Global South” has been a buzzword for some time, largely denoting various countries around the world that are sometimes described as “developing” with the majority, although by no means all, situated in the Southern Hemisphere, largely in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Work by Saudi artist Abdulsattar Al-Mussa at Art Dubai. (Supplied)

Art Dubai this year welcomes more than 120 gallery presentations, drawn from more than 60 cities and over 40 countries across four sections: Contemporary, Bawwaba, Art Dubai Modern and Art Dubai Digital. Over 65 percent of the galleries hail from the regions that make up the Global South.

“Art Dubai has been focusing on the Global South for the last eight years,” Pablo del Val, Art Dubai’s artistic director, told Arab News. “We are trying to deepen the conversation about the Global South is as well as about issues regarding displacement and how the Global South is present in the outskirts of Paris and Los Angeles.

“For us, the Global South is really a state of mind more than a state of geographic belonging,” added Del Val. “We are very interested in illustrating how this idea reflects the times in which we are living.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Of equal importance, stresses Del Val is this year’s Bawwaba gallery section curated by Emiliano Valdes under the theme “Sanación/Healing.” It will feature a series of new performances and activations focusing on ideas of spirituality, introspection, community and the power of art to help human beings navigate challenging times by embracing unity. 

Participating artists in this section include a number of names from the so-called Global South, including Argentinian artist, choreographer and dancer Cecilia Bengolea, Kerala-born Berlin-based artist Sajan Mani, Debashish Paul from West Bengal in India, Palestinian artist Mirna Bamieh, Indian artists Mithu Sen and Emirati creative Hashel Lamki.

Hailing from cities including Sao Paolo, Bogota, Tehran, Dubai and Mumbai, among others, participating galleries at Art Dubai further build on the fair’s commitment to representing and championing art from the Global South. These include the Aisha Alabbar Gallery, among the first galleries in Dubai focused on contemporary and modern art by Emirati, local and regional artists that is exhibiting a solo booth of works by Emirati artist Alia Hussain Lootah; Dastan Gallery from Tehran, Iran, dedicated to promoting Iranian contemporary art globally that is presenting a dynamic group showing of emerging and established artists from Iran, including Reza Aramesh, Fereydoun Ave, Farah Ossouli, Sahand Hesamiyan and the Ghasemi Brothers; Gallery One from Ramallah, Palestine, showcasing works by Libyan artist Samira Badran and Palestinian Manal Mahamid; and Galeria Espacio Continuo from Bogota, Colombia, a gallery that opened in 2020 dedicated to showcasing an exclusive program of local artists that highlights dynamic abstract works by Miler Lagos and Ana María Rueda.

The Global South is additionally representing strongly in the fair’s Modern section,curated by Dr. Christianna Bonin, which traces the emergence of new modernisms across the Global South through works of modernists from Syria, Egypt, Uganda and Sri Lanka who exhibited and studied in the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

Another talent from the Global South who is playing a major role at the event is Goa-based artist Sahil Naik who devised the the fourth edition of the A.R.M. Holding Children’s Program. It will be launched launching at the fair before expanding to over 100 schools and 15,000 students.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“He is going to be encouraging children to imagine little worlds and environments based on the ideas of their homes and the environment and how you actually constitute and lay out cities,” Art Dubai’s Executive Director Benedetta Ghione told Arab News. “He will ask them what makes a home, how do we imagine the future, etc... We these programs we try to encourage the children to think about the world through the lens of culture and creativity.”

“The children’s program continues to grow outside of the fair,” added Ghione. “For eight weeks after the fair, we are going into more than 100 schools and reaching over 15,000 children. This is a program that continues to grow and is now reaching all seven Emirates.”

 


UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination

Updated 02 March 2024
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UK beauty brand explains Bella Hadid contract termination

DUBAI: British beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury this week responded to claims surrounding the termination of its contract with Bella Hadid, saying that the decision was not based on the US Dutch Palestinian model’s “personal views,” but because she is launching her own beauty brand.

A statement from the company, published in The Independent, said: “Bella Hadid and Charlotte Tilbury Beauty’s professional relationship has come to its end as Bella prepares to launch her own beauty brand.

“It is absolutely not the case that any personal views held by Bella impacted our contract or relationship with her.

“As a female-led business, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty continues to support Bella and looks forward to the exciting launch of Orebella later this year,” the statement added.

Last month, Hadid announced on Instagram that she is launching a brand called Orebella on May 2. 

While details about the brand and its offerings remain under wraps, WWD Magazine reported that Hadid’s trademark filing, dating back to 2022, hints at Orebella’s focus on scent-related products. These may include fragrances, incense, body lotions, oils, shampoo, conditioner and candles. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The model shared a 10-second teaser on Instagram showing a close-up of her face and culminating with the brand’s logo.

Hadid was named the face of Charlotte Tilbury in March 2023. 

Her debut campaign in June promoted the new Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur, a hydrating matte liquid lipstick formulated with hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. She joined a glittering roster that included actress Lily James, and models Jourdan Dunn and Kate Moss. 


Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary

Updated 02 March 2024
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Art Dubai’s 17th fair: A showcase of global talent and cultural commentary

DUBAI: The 17th Art Dubai fair, where more than 100 galleries from around the world put on their best presentations of contemporary, modern and digital art, is open for business.

Non-commercial activities, such as artist talks and children’s programming, have also been organized for the event, which runs from March 1 until March 3.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

Event organizers have reinforced their longtime commitment to shining a light on talent emerging from the Global South, from Latin America to North Africa and the Far East.

“We have our own way of reading what contemporary art is,” the fair’s Spanish artistic director Pablo del Val said. “We exhibit and try to push proposals that are coming from geographies that aren’t the focus in any major art fair in the West.”

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

The concept of healing is the theme of the fair’s contemporary section, featuring paintings, installations, sculptures, textile works, among other artistic mediums. Meanwhile, the modern section pays tribute to regional masters who were active in the 20th century. This year, the focus is on ties between Arab artists and the Soviet Union, where some received their formal education.

An interesting booth at Art Dubai Digital comes courtesy of a London-based design practice, Looty, which is implementing technological means to “digitally take back” stolen African artifacts stored in Western museums. “We were inspired by a fact that comes from the UN: 95 percent of African culture and heritage is held outside of Africa. Hearing that shocked us and also inspired us,” Looty’s co-founder, Ahmed Abokor, told Arab News.

With their faces covered in masks, Abokor and his gallery partner Chidirim Nwaubani went inside London’s British Museum, committing a “digital heist,” in which they 3D-scanned African artifacts with their phones and iPads. “It’s symbolic,” said Abokor. “We incited a bit of worry, probably, but we didn’t actually take anything. We actually did our due diligence, speaking to lawyers three months before we went in there. We didn’t want to do anything illegal.” At the fair, a handful of Benin statues are displayed in eye-catching 3D hologram presentations.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

Meanwhile, in the contemporary section, Dubai’s Tabari Art Space is returning to the fair with an all-women booth, showcasing colorful works on paper, paintings and stitched pieces, exploring themes of the land and the body, by Levant and Gulf artists Tagreed Darghouth, Maitha Abdalla, Chafa Ghaddar, Hana Almilli, Miramar Al-Nayyar and Aya Haidar. “Corporeal: Lands Through The Female Gaze” is the title of the overall exhibit, envisioned by the gallery’s founder, Maliha Tabari, who, in her own words, “wanted to do something different.

“We’re female-led as a gallery,” Tabari told Arab News. “In these past three years, we naturally picked up many female artists from this part of the world because we want to represent them ... The woman in our region is strong and we wanted to show her strength.”

At a time of continuing violence in Gaza, some fairgoers expressed their solidarity by wearing Palestinian-inspired garments, such as the black-and-white “keffiyeh” headscarf. Based between Dubai and Ramallah, Zawyeh Gallery, specializing in showcasing emerging and established Palestinian artists, is represented at the fair. At its multi-artist booth, the Palestinian painter Khaled Hourani is showing a series of watermelon images (many of which have been sold). The fruit, bearing the same colors as the Palestinian flag, has become a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

From Marrakech, Comptoir des Mines Galerie is presenting a selection of works by Moroccan artists who use natural materials, such as soil and metal, in their creations. In particular, a standout work comes from French-Moroccan artist Sara Ouhaddou, who juxtaposed geometrical pieces of tinted Iraqi glass into a large circular form made of wood. The work, entitled “Time is still long — beyond our perception” is partially about regional artisans and how the cultural legacy of hand craftsmanship is being lost.

A number of the older generation of artists are also represented at Art Dubai by nine galleries, hailing from Beirut, Dubai, Kampala, London, among other cities. Jeddah’s Hafez Gallery is showcasing one large, vibrant painting by the Yemeni artist Hakim Al-Akel, who was born in 1965. Entitled “Dialogue in the Market,” the highly patterned painting was created in 1991, portraying a leafy scene populated by a few workers and sellers.

Art Dubai 2024, Installation view. (Supplied)

There are also monochromatic works by the Saudi artist Abdulsattar Al-Mussa, who formerly lived in Russia and Ukraine. Being away from his homeland inspired him to make images that were based on his memories.

“I think it’s important to show Abdulsattar at Art Dubai because he has had a lot of success abroad,” Hafez Gallery’s curatorial director, Alexandra Stock, told Arab News, “but it’s very nice that he is having another upwind, a push in the region, that he’s being acknowledged back home.”


The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops

Updated 02 March 2024
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The Real Housewives of Dubai season 2 teaser drops

DUBAI: Bravo dropped a brief teaser on Instagram this week for the second season of “The Real Housewives of Dubai,” announcing that the season premiere will air on June 2.

“The drama in this desert is just getting started,” bravo tweeted with the video. “Here’s your first look at Season 2 of #RHODubai.”

The show will once again star season one’s Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks, Sara Al-Madani, Lesa Milan and Caroline Stanbury, who will be joined by new housewife Taleen Marie.

Marie announced in November that she will be part of season two, saying: “I feel so blessed and excited to be a part of the @nbcuniversal and Bravo franchise.”

The 30-second teaser showcased snippets from the series, featuring the housewives raising their glasses in a toast to “new beginnings.” However, the celebratory atmosphere quickly gives way to conflict as tensions escalate within the group.

The full trailer is yet to be released.