DUBAI: The long-awaited Museum of the Future in Dubai finally has an opening date, with the new structure slated to open its doors to the public on Feb. 22.
It will offer exhibitions, themed attractions and immersive theater.
Each floor will be like an immersive film set from the future, while the building itself is both futuristic and symbolic. It is circular, representing humanity, and is covered in Arabic calligraphy.
The facade is filled with quotes and poetry from the UAE vice president, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and designed in the calligraphy of Emirati artist Mattar bin Lahej.
The museum aims to provide a space of progress and highlight that the future is fundamentally hopeful.
All the exhibitions will showcase current problems as material for a better world.
DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid is the face of the new Self-Portrait Spring 2022 campaign.
The 25-year-old model was tapped by the British womenswear brand for the campaign, which was shot by British photographer Harley Weir and showcases different sides of the part-Arab model’s personality. The campaign images, released earlier this week, show the supermodel wearing nine different outfits from Self-Portrait’s latest collection, each portraying a different self-expressive and fun element.
In the press release for the new campaign, founder and creative director Han Chong stated: “This collection is a love letter to the Self-Portrait woman — one who is free to face the world, feel like herself and have fun again.”
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The collection is inspired by a post-pandemic vision for when life opens up again and is expressed by feminine styles, new shapes and strong colors. It was presented during the last London Fashion Week in September.
The collection hosts an array of dresses, including off-the-shoulder and halter, highlights cut-outs and features multiple styles of jackets, cardigans and blazers. Emphasizing a new modern way of dressing and strong colors such as mint, fuchsia and caramel, the collection is meant to embrace the idea of dressing effortlessly.
Hadid was key to the campaign as she embraced the concept behind the collection by portraying the different types of women who would wear the pieces. When creating the collection, Chong said: “When I think of the Self-Portrait woman, I never just have one person in mind. For me, the joy of what I do comes from designing for women with different personalities, different attitudes, and different ways of living their lives.”
In the series of images showcasing the collection’s key looks, Hadid can be seen lounging inside a bathtub wearing a white dress, standing against a beach background in a tweed blazer and skirt set and wearing a ruched brown dress as she poses against two velvet chairs.
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Speaking of Hadid, Chong described her as having an “incredible purity of spirit and rawness of emotion that speaks to so many people today.”
She said: “I really admire how aware and empathetic she is of the world around her, which is so refreshing. It was a real dream to work with her on this campaign, which allowed her to bring to life all the different sides of her character. It was a really special day where she just let herself be free.”
DUBAI: Ten years ago, about 20 artists and curators in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah conceived the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, relying solely on contributions and volunteer support to showcase the fledgling arts and culture scene in the emirate. A decade later, the festival, nestled in and around the preserved coral stone and mud houses, marketplace and fort of the historic pearling village of Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra, has morphed into a two-month-long collaborative space with a display of more than 150 artworks from over 45 countries, walking tours, workshops and activities.
Titled “The Journey,” the festival’s 10th edition, which runs until March 31, pays homage to the enduring efforts by creatives in the country to develop a platform for cultural exchange and artistic development while also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UAE.
Lining the sandy walkways and structures of the venue, the large-scale photographs and art printed on weather-resistant material and interactive installations and sculptures delve into their creators’ interpretations of ancestry, migration, national identity and personal growth. They also chronicle the transformation of the Emirates from Bedouin tribes and the founding of the Trucial States to the melting pot of cultures and technology that it is today.
“As one of the founding members of the festival, I remember a time when we had to rely on donations and volunteers for the event. When we set up a website for the festival, no one knew where Ras Al-Khaimah was. Ten years later, with the rapid development in the emirate, we have artists from all over the world exhibiting at the festival now. The destination that we are at today, both as a country that is constantly seeking to preserve its culture and heritage and as a festival that has made its mark on the international art scene, is befitting the journey,” Suqrat bin Bisher, festival director, told Arab News.
Visitors to this year’s festival will, for the first time, be able to access an additional 1-km stretch of the older part of the village to experience curated exhibitions with artworks from citizens, residents, and regional and international artists. There are also displays from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the US Mission to the UAE and the NYUAD Art Gallery. The festival has also partnered for the first time with Cinema Akil, Gulf Photo Plus and Warehouse421 for a diverse program.
Arresting images portraying the UAE’s people, heritage and landscape by the festival’s featured artist Yousef Al-Zaabi greet festivalgoers as they enter the fort. The self-taught Emirati photographer from Ras Al-Khaimah says this exhibition is an opportunity for him to share his journey of identity with the world.
“My photos are a window to the past and the future. I’ve photographed all over the UAE, in Ras Al-Khaimah, Liwa, Dubai and Hatta, in an attempt to capture moments that authentically illustrate the country and its people. Every photo tells a different story of the UAE and I want visitors to uncover these stories with me,” said the founder and president of the Emirates Falcons Photography Society and vice president of the Union of Arab Photographers.
The award-winning photographer, whose work was also featured on the cover of National Geographic Arabia, believes the festival plays a critical role in fostering cross-culture dialogue.
“There’s a lot to learn from the experiences of the artists who attend and showcase at the festival. It’s a platform for knowledge-sharing that nourishes and strengthens the UAE’s arts and culture scene.”
Other Emirati artists presenting at this year’s festival include Abdullah Lutfi, depicting the UAE’s skyline and landscapes in his distinct black and white drawings; Medyyah Al-Tamimi, who captures the everyday bustle of the city in photographs and writings; and filmmaker Sara Al-Hashimi with her thought-provoking documentaries on the region.
Equally telling photographs of the Emirates by residents, such as the striking black and white composite portrait of several generations of Emiratis in Filipino photographer Mario Cardenas’ “Emirates Legacy” series, offer a rare perspective of self-discovery among the national population.
The Al-Qasimi Foundation’s special exhibition “Travel in COVID,” curated by Azza Al-Nuaimi — the festival’s director — and Ji Young Kim and displayed across three houses in the village, is a comment on the shared experience of humanity in challenging times. The exhibition features imagery of canceled visas, postcards exchanged during global lockdowns and drawings of solitary moments that led to heightened creativity during the pandemic. “Longing Be-longing,” curated by independent art curator Sharon Total from Tel Aviv, explores the influences of post-orientalism in Israeli contemporary art.
The festival extends beyond the heritage village with two satellite exhibition sites at the UAE’s highest peak, Jebal Jais, and Al-Marjan Island’s Open Park. The line-up also includes workshops, tours, entertainment and activities that will take place every weekend until the end of the festival.
DUBAI: The American author and journalist Sara Gay Forden describes her first and only book as a late bloomer. “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” was a hard-sell as it faced rejections from publishing houses. Nevertheless, she managed to publish it 20 years ago and it did well with readers in the US.
But the family saga has been enjoying a global revival, thanks to the release of the film “House of Gucci” in late 2021. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino, it had the world talking, including Dubai, where Forden will be participating at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Feb. 11 and 12.
The whole experience of seeing her book being adapted into a film – opening with the shocking 1995 murder of Italian businessman Maurizio Gucci, orchestrated by his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani – has been a surreal journey for Forden. “When I walked down the red carpet in London for the world premiere of ‘House of Gucci’, Lady Gaga was behind me and I met Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek,” she told Arab News from Washington DC. “I thought this was definitely a Cinderella moment.”
Her interest in writing a novel-like book about the rise, fall and re-emergence of the Gucci fashion empire was fostered by her work as a journalist in Milan. She reported on the business side of Italian family-run companies that were turning into mega fashion brands, including Gucci, in the 1980s. She was even in the city when Maurizio was shot.
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“I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said. “There was a big gaggle of photographers and camera crews. It was crazy.”
Researching the ins and outs of Gucci led her to interview members of the clan, including Maurizio and Patrizia, former Gucci creative director Tom Ford, and the company’s factory and shop workers. “I put so much passion into this book,” Forden said. “I always felt that this is kind of an epic story that has meaning for people everywhere, because it’s about big themes that we struggle with – family, wealth, and jealousy. It’s almost like Shakespeare.”
The book’s fascinating narrative takes the reader from the early days of the company, founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921, to its historic expansion in the 1970s. Under the flawed leadership of the indebted Maurizio Gucci in the 1980s, family conflicts that spilled into the public sphere tore the company apart.
“There’s an Italian saying,” Forden said, “The first generation creates, the second generation expands, and the third generation destroys.” Today, not a single member of the Gucci family is directly involved in running the business.
However, Forden praised Gucci’s innovation and dedication to quality and craftsmanship over the years.
“I feel that Gucci, at every stage of its development, was a pioneer,” she said. “They really led the way. Yes, it was a dramatic story, but they also did key things in history that everybody followed. So, they’ve been leaders the whole time.”
LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said on Saturday that she wants Prince Charles’ wife Camilla to be styled Queen Consort when he becomes king, cementing her place at the heart of the royal family after once being judged an outsider.
In a letter written to mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Elizabeth said the occasion had given her pause to reflect upon the loyalty and affection shown to her by the British public.
She said she hoped Charles and Camilla would receive the same support.
“(It) is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” Elizabeth said.
Charles and Camilla, long-time lovers, were married in 2005 in a civil ceremony in Windsor. Their Clarence House residence said on Saturday that they were “touched and honored by Her Majesty’s words.”
Elizabeth’s move reflects a wider acceptance of Camilla’s status as a royal.
Tabloid newspapers no longer target her as they did in the decade following the death in 1997 of Charles’ first wife, Princess Diana.
Camilla — whose current title is Duchess of Cornwall — now regularly represents the royal family alongside Charles during official duties.
Throughout British history, the wife of a king typically is given the title Queen Consort. At the time of their marriage, it had been officially decided that Camilla would use the title Princess Consort if Charles were to become king.
While Elizabeth on Sunday celebrates 70 years on the British throne — an unprecedented stretch — the anniversary comes at a time of tumult for the royal family.
From the US sex abuse court case facing her son Prince Andrew to allegations by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife of racism in the royal household, rarely has the 95-year-old Elizabeth’s family faced such scrutiny and damaging headlines.
Last year she lost her husband of 73 years, Philip, whom she acknowledged in her letter on Saturday.
“I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign,” Elizabeth said.
Pomp and poignancy
Earlier on Saturday, Elizabeth kicked off celebrations for the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne by inviting local community groups to her Sandringham residence in the east of England.
The queen, pictured smiling and wearing a light blue dress, cut a celebratory cake baked by a local resident and heard a rendition of “Congratulations” played by a concert band.
“I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me,” she said in her letter to the public.
Ironically Elizabeth was not destined to be monarch at her birth, and became queen only because her uncle Edward VIII abdicated to be with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
But in 2015, she overtook Victoria as Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign in a line that traces its origin back to Norman King William I and his 1066 conquest of England.
This weekend’s low-key events are a prelude to more pomp and ceremony to mark the platinum jubilee in early June, when the government will add an extra public holiday.
But Elizabeth said the anniversary was to her one of reflection and poignancy.
“It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign,” she wrote.
“As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service.”
JEDDAH: The stories of 37 powerful women with inspiring stories have been collected into a book called “She Dares.”
The collaborative book, written by women from countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada, Bahrain and Jordan, do not follow one definition of success but a variety — there are successful businesses, and stories of overcoming illnesses, surviving traumas and about how the women became who they are.
“She Dares” was launched at the Swedish Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 by MENA Speakers, where some of the authors gathered together to sign the books.
Arab News sat down with Heba Abdulwahab Khashogji, one of the Saudi authors who shared her story in the book on how she became a writer. “When I was approached to write this book, I told them that I just wrote children’s stories. However, they pushed me to write the first draft and from there I was able to polish the story.”
Khashogji said that she had never previously considered herself an author — she’d had a habit of writing about strong emotions ever since she was young but for her that wasn’t writing. However, this process had helped to shape her journey as a writer.
My goal with writing is to leave behind something that does good and helps people; the books I wrote for children were to teach them the values, religion and culture . . . and teach them the reasons behind what we do and why we do it.
Heba Abdulwahab Khashogji, Saudi author
The 46-year-old wants to help her society as much as she can. She shifted her career from accounting and finance to HR because she realized that human capital was much more important than financial capital.
Writing was something that she pursued as a hobby. “My goal with writing is to leave behind something that does good and helps people; the books I wrote for children were to teach them the values, religion and culture . . . and teach them the reasons behind what we do and why we do it,” she said.
With “She Dares” Khashogji faced a number of challenges. One of them was her concern for privacy. “I struggled with using my imagination and telling my life story as a story; it was supposed to be colorful enough for the reader to remain attracted. I did my best and now I just hope people like it.” She added: “When I found out that it would be a motivational book and I remembered that my goal is helping the society develop in every aspect, I thought, ‘Why not?’”
Khashogji feels proud that her characters from the children’s book are becoming popular locally. “It makes me happy when I hear children talk about the character, especially in schools.” Quoting from a chapter in the book, Khashogji said: “By going through the challenging moments in life, I was able to create something beautiful from it and come out as the best version of myself.”
Toward the end of the chapter, she wrote: “If you have a knack for words, start writing and you will be surprised at the flow of words, all you have to do is start, and then the words will do their magic.”