Saudi designers put on fashion show at Expo 2020 Dubai – Arab News
DUBAI: The Saudi pavilion at Expo 2020 in the UAE on Wednesday hosted a fashion show to celebrate the Kingdom’s designers.
Three homegrown labels, ArAm, Tima Abid, and Abadia, presented their collections to a packed audience in Dubai against the backdrop of the pavilion’s unfolding rectangular facade.
Each brand showcased 10 pieces from their recent collections.

Al-Ammari’s pieces featured printed abayas. (Arab News/ Gaith Tanjour)

ArAm, founded by Riyadh-based fashion designer Arwa Al-Ammari, kicked off the show presenting traditional designs with a modest twist, inspired by the Kingdom’s heritage.
Besides her colorful flowy skirts and printed abayas, Al-Ammari’s pieces also featured patterns of sadu weaving.
Next in line was Dubai-based Saudi label Abadia, which Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Alicia Keys recently championed during her first concert in the Kingdom, staged in AlUla.
The family-owned brand was co-founded by Shahd Al-Shehail and her aunt Naeema Al-Shehail. The brand’s name is derived from the Arabic words for desert (badiah) and timelessness (abadi) and is a nod to its commitment to preserving culture, supporting craftsmanship, and creating ethically made products.

A post shared by A B A D I A أبــــاديــــا (@abadiaofficial)
The fashion house’s designs featured earthy hues, harness belts, and multi-layered oversized coats. The creations also integrated traditional crafts such as sadu and naqda, which is a technique of pulling thin metallic threads through cloth.
Abid, who founded her eponymous womenswear label 18 years ago, closed the show.
The Jeddah-born couturiere presented a number of show-stopping designs, from form-fitting gowns to structured puffy dresses.
One dress in particular that got the audience clapping was a golden palm tree embroidered gown. Inspired by several elements existing within the Kingdom’s natural landscape, the velvet featured Swarovski crystals and golden-thread embroidery.
DUBAI: Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys has thanked a Saudi nonprofit enterprise that created a personalized bag strap for her.
The brand, Namat, which offers locally manufactured, customizable and functional garments, shared a short clip of the hit-maker on its Instagram account on Wednesday.
A post shared by Namat by Nesma (@namatbynesma)
“To the ladies who designed this beautiful piece for me from Namat, I just wanted you to know I got it and it is so stunning,” Keys says in the video.
“The translation, the words, the energy, you captured it. You captured the meaning. You are the meaning, which is why you captured it. So, you mean so much to me and I just wanted to tell you that I adore this. This is a very special gift to me and thank you for blessing the world.”
A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys)
According to Namat, the strap was inspired by the local patterns of Saudi Arabia and AlUla, along with symbols that represent Keys’ hit song “Girl on Fire.”
The wide, beige strap is “a tribute to her strong belief in women’s worth, her dedication to empowerment and to giving women a voice,” it said on Instagram.
The gift was presented to Keys at the Women to Women town hall event at AlUla earlier this week.
DUBAI: Nadim Karam was among the many artists deeply affected by the August 4, 2020 Beirut Port explosion.
The 65-year-old artist and architect has taken inspiration from the Lebanese capital throughout his decades-long career and his colossal metal sculpture “The Gesture” — created a year after the tragedy — was his way of expressing his sorrow and trauma.
“I could not function and continue living without offering a gesture to the victims of the explosion and the sadness of Beirut,” Karam tells Arab News. “Hundreds of people died in the explosion, but I was still alive.”
The sculpture, made from metal salvaged from the blast, now stands in the heart of Beirut. “I created ‘The Gesture’ with a team of benevolent professionals and we all offered our own effort, time, and expertise to make sure that what happened will never be forgotten,” Karam explains.
“The Gesture” is typical of Karam’s work, which tends to both make statements and pose questions, as evidenced by his contribution to “The Sublime Nature of Being,” a multi-sensory, immersive exhibition that recently opened in Dubai’s DIFC, featuring artists from across the world.
Curated by Ambika Hinduja Macker, who is an artist in her own right as well as the founder and creative director of design firm Impeccable Imagination, the exhibition explores the influence of nature on human experience. The showcase features everything from large-scale sculptures to light-and-shadow installations.
Karam began to sketch out his ideas for “Sublime Silence,” included in the exhibition, back in 2015. As its name suggests, it’s a piece based around the concepts of speaking and silence. And like ‘The Gesture” it has a deeper meaning than is suggested at first glance.
“I feel like genuine communication is being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of noise,” Karam explains. “The downside of our instantaneous global communication networks is that there is too much shouting for attention on social media. Silence, allowing for thoughts and deep reflection, has become a rare and precious commodity. For me, silence is at the source and the essence of things.”
Another of Karam’s pieces featured in the exhibition — “Memory Lapse” — also examines a dichotomy: That of emptiness and fullness. It consists of two sculptures facing each other. Karam describes it as an experiential work.
“They have reflective, polished, slightly concave surfaces,” he explains. “One is filled with patterns — stories and memories — and represents the past. The other is an empty reflective surface representing the future. By standing between them, you find the future and the past merged into the present through your vision.”
His third piece features a recurring motif of his work: The elephant.
“I am attached to the elephant, both their physical properties and the way they care about their community and have long memories,” he says. “In fact, I use the elephant to start any new idea in my work.
Though emblematic of his artistic practice, “Crystal Elephant” is also something of a new approach for Karam. It is the first time he has used crystals in his work. “They are reflective and alive, generating movement at a touch, and they emanate a beautiful energy in the space surrounding them,” he explains.
Karam also has a piece of his work — “On Parade” — on permanent display in AlUla. It was created as part of the first iteration of Desert X AlUla, the second edition of which is currently underway. 
DUBAI: One of the first to embrace 100 percent natural, non-toxic beauty, Tata Harper’s eponymous skincare line has revolutionized clean beauty, gaining cult status for its whittled-down ingredients that are biodegradable and toxin-free.
Her skincare range is sustainably made from start to finish on her Vermont farm, and the Colombia-born entrepreneur’s farm-to-face products are testament to the fact that you can both be a conscious consumer and passionate about your beauty routine.  
“I didn’t ever believe in beauty minimalism,” Harper told Arab News. “I am the exact opposite. More is more when it comes to beauty. Life is stressful and for me, my beauty ritual is such a place to go for comfort and soothing.”
But it wasn’t until her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and Harper started becoming more conscious about everything she was putting in and on her body that she decided to launch her own beauty label.
“You are made of what you ingest,” Harper said. “Your skin is the biggest organ and it reacts to everything,” she added on why women should be selective with the products on their bathroom counter.
“I started Tata Harper skincare out of personal need. I didn’t know what to use. I didn’t know how to replace the products that I was using that were super advanced, super high tech, really efficacious, really efficient for the skin. And all of a sudden I’m confronted with natural beauty that it’s very simplistic and very basic. And I am not a basic beauty girl,” she said.
The beauty entrepreneur couldn’t find anything that was made of high-quality ingredients and effective, so she decided to create her own range of formulas in 2010.
The result was a line of cleansers, serums, moisturizers and eye creams that fuse natural ingredients such as calendula, arnica, alfalfa, chamomile and varieties of mint with technology for products that are not only organic but work.
The cult-favorite Elixir Vitae Serum, for example, uses neuropeptide technology so that it relaxes wrinkles and serves as an alternative to injectables.
In addition to being organic, Tata Harper aims to be completely sustainable and end single-use packaging. Each formula comes in recyclable glass, and the little plastic they do use for their tubes is derived from sugar cane, which means it is made from a renewable resource instead of petroleum. Even the packaging’s labels use soy-based ink for printing.
“My hope for the beauty industry is that it becomes more sustainable for real,” Harper said. “Sometimes, a lot of the things that people call sustainable, are not really — and if you’re not sustainable, that means that you’re unsustainable,” she said. “I believe in refillable packaging. If the pump still works, if the bottle isn’t broken, then why are you throwing it away? If every customer reuses it, even once, they’re saving 12 from those packaging going into the landfill every month.”
Her cult-classic Water-Lock Moisturizer can be refilled with a product pod once it runs out.
Ingredients are also upcycled when possible.
Recently, Harper collaborated with the Mandarin Oriental hotel in the UAE on three face and body treatments exclusively available at the Dubai hotel’s award-winning spa.
“I’ve always been a huge Mandarin fan. And I just thought that this was the right venue to have our facial experiences,” Harper said, adding that they have plans to launch in other parts of the region as well.
The treatments include one anti-aging facial, a full-body scrub and a skin-brightening ritual that leaves the limbs illuminated and smooth.
Hotel guests and day spa guests are able to experience Harper’s 100 percent natural and all-organic, custom-created treatments and rituals, as well as purchase a full range of products from the spa’s boutique.
ROME: The works of renowned Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali will be published in Italy for the first time, 35 years after his assassination.
Naples publisher Marotta & Cafiero will release on Feb. 22 “Handala — a child in Palestine,” a book about the resistance and suffering of the Palestinian people.
It is “a unique work that tells with simplicity and clarity a piece of history from the Palestinian point of view,” Rosario Esposito La Rossa, editorial manager at Marotta & Cafiero, told Arab News.
“For us, it’s a pleasure and a duty to publish a powerful book to help give the Palestinian people a voice again.”

Al-Ali’s most famous character, Handala. (AFP)
Handala is the most famous of Al-Ali’s characters — a 10-year-old boy with his back turned to the viewer and his hands clasped behind his back. He wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolizing his allegiance to the poor.
Al-Ali, who died after being shot outside the London office of Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas on July 22, 1987, vowed that Handala would reveal his face to readers only when Palestinian refugees return to their homeland.
Handala became the signature of Al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.
“Handala represents the honest Palestinian who will always be part of the common imagination,” journalist and cartoonist Joe Sacco says in the preface of the Italian edition.
The book will be presented in collaboration with the Cultural Center Handala Ali in Naples on Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at Caffè Arabo.
DUBAI: Renowned Jordanian sculptor and artist Mona Saudi has died at the age of 76.
Born in 1945, Saudi devoted her life to creating modernist stone sculptures and drawings that were showcased around the world.
Her death was mourned on Wednesday by William Shabib of the Lawrie Shabib gallery. “Very sad that Mona Saudi, the great Jordanian sculptor, left us tonight,” Shabib said on Instagram.
It was confirmed by Saudi’s only Instagram account through a post by her daughter, Dia on Thursday that said: “With the heaviest heart, I share that my beautiful mama, sweetest grandmother and extraordinary artist, Mona Saudi, has left us last night in her beloved city Beirut. Words fail me beyond this.”
A post shared by @mona.saudi
Many people took to social media to share their grievances following the tragic news of her passing.
Lawrie Shabib wrote: “With great sadness we remember Mona Saudi. An irrepressible personality, a great artist, sculpting in stone for over 60 years, Mona was a force of nature. She passed away peacefully last night in her beloved Beirut. What a privilege to have known and worked with her — we will always remember her. Shine bright, Mona Saudi.”
A post shared by LAWRIE SHABIBI (@lawrieshabibi)
Saudi had dedicated her life to art. She fled her home in Amman, Jordan, to travel to Lebanon as a teenager to join Beirut’s growing art scene. Her first ever work was showcased in the Lebanese capital, and allowed her to raise funds to attend the prestigious Beaux-Arts de Paris, where she graduated in 1973.
In the decades after, Saudi became a well-known stone sculptor around the world, showcasing her work in some of the most famous galleries and museums, such as the British Museum, the Sharjah Art Foundation and more.
A lot of her poetry-infused drawings were inspired by her close friend, the late great poet Mahmoud Darwish.
Saudi once told Arab News of her close friend: “When I hear him reciting his poetry in his own voice, I cannot control my tears. He remains alive in our memories and hearts.” The same can be said of Saudi, whose impact will certainly live on forever.


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