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Tea with Culture

A podcast about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.

Archive-Category
Friday
Apr222016

RIP Prince

 

 

A day after the tragic news and it is still hard to believe he passed away. His music will no doubt live on and I've been tuned in to BBC listening to all the tribute shows.

There are a lot of images, videos and written tributes shared online. I'd like to share this video posted by Eric Hynes on Twitter. Prince comes in at the second minute. It is electrifying.

 

 

 

RIP Prince, 7th June 1958 - 21st  April 21 2016

Tuesday
Apr122016

The Culturist nominated for Stylist Social Media Awards 2016

I am happy to announce The Culturist is nominated for a Stylist Social Media Awards, in the Lifestyle category.

I was suprised to be nominated, especially since most of the other nominees in the Lifestyle category focus on fashion, food, product reviews. So I am very thankful and grateful someone out there appreciates this blog, along with my updates on Twitter and Facebook which focuses on art and culture in the UAE and in cities I visit.

If you are a fan of this blog and/or follow me on social madia and like what I share, please spare a minute or two and vote for me.

Go to www.stylistarabia.com/awards, select Lifestyle and vote for me (find me under The Culturist | Hind Mezaina). Voting is open until Friday, 6th May 2016.

 

If you care about art and culture in the UAE, please vote for me. Prettty please. Let us show culture matters here. It will mean the world to me.

The winner will be announced on Sunday, 15th May 2016.

 

www.stylistarabia.com/awards

 

Monday
Apr112016

Exhibition: Phantom Limb by Diana Al-Hadid at NYUAD Art Gallery

Phantom Limb, 2014 | Photo: Markus Wörgötter | Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery © New York

 

NYUAD Art Gallery's latest exhibition Phantom Limb by Diana Al-Hadid  includes work influencded by Renaissance and classical imagery. The exhibition includes large scale installations that are very textured and architectural. It's an exhibition I strongly recommend you go see in person. It comes with an audio guide that is quite informative, the recording includes the voices of Diana Al Hadid and NYUAD Art Gallery Curator Maya Allison.  

The exhibition takes its title from a central work, Phantom Limb, a term referring to the sensations that a missing arm or leg is still present, and able to move. The title captures the character of much of Al-Hadid’s work, which evokes memory and long cultural history through a visceral, materially-focused working technique. The theme of memory and its physical manifestations in art and architecture runs throughout Al-Hadid’s work.

The monumental sculpture of Phantom Limb is framed by two major wall insets: The Sleepwalker and Still Life. The first draws from the 4th Century BC bas-relief Gradiva, while the latter is a reworking of Hans Memling’s 1475 painting Allegory of Chastity.

 

Listen to Diana Al Hadid talk about her work and process in this interview with Wael Hattar for our podcast Tea with Culture which was recorded last month at Art Dubai.

 

 

These are photos I took of some of the work from the exhibition, which is on until 28th May 2016. Don't miss this.

 

Phantom Limb

 

The Sleepwalker

 

Still Life

 

Gradiva’s Fourth Wall

 

Attack

 

Untitled

 

Vanishing Point

 

You can also pick up a copy of Phantom Limb - A Young Person's Guide which is an object in itself, one many adults will appreciate too.

 

 

www.nyuad-artgallery.org/en_US/exhibitions/diana-al-hadid
www.dianaalhadid.com



Sunday
Apr102016

Exhibition: Two Suns in a Sunset by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

 

Two Suns in a Sunset features work by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige one of the latest exhibitions at Sharjah Art Foundation

The exhibition features work from the the late 1990s to the present day, including two new video works commissioned for this exhibition, Remembering the Light and ISMYRNA.  

 

Grounded in the context of Beirut and events that are close to their personal lives, the works of Lebanese artists and filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige reflect the artists' ongoing interrogation of imagery, representation and history.

Research is at the centre of their practice—each project beginning with an idea that develops and evolves through the materials the artists encounter along the way.  Images and stories from the past are reactivated in the present creating narratives that are often open-ended and performative and where reality and fiction are in constant flux.

 

Curated by Marta Gili (Jeu de Paume), Hoor Al-Qasimi (Sharjah Art Foundation), Anna Schneider (Haus der Kunst Munich) and Jose Miguel G. Cortes (Institut Valenica d'Art Modern), Two Suns in a Sunset is one of the best exhibitions I've seen here in the UAE and well worth spending a couple of hours, looking at the work and reading the guide (a beautifully published book in itself) which has information that is useful about the exhibited work.

The themes in Two Suns in a Sunset touch upon memories, rememberance and a play between fact and fiction. It is quite an extensive exhibition which includes works on paper, photographs, sculpture, sound and video installation (including a large scale installation The Rumour of the World (2014) which you should only see after you see all the other works), plus two works, Postcards of War (1997 – 2006) and Circle of Confusion (1997 – 2014) which invites visitors to be active participants by taking parts of the work.

The exhibition is spread over two buildings, be sure to start in Building P before moving to Building J where the exhibition continues with the installation, The Rumour of the World (2014)

Here are images images and a breakdown of the works in Two Suns in a Sunset. The exhibition is accompanied by screenings of films directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige which I've listed at the end of this post.

The exhibition is on till 8th May 2016, make sure you don't miss it.

 

 

1. Postcards of War (1997-2006)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation
Photo by Hind Mezaina


2. Circle of Confusion (1997-2016)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


3. Archeology of Our Gaze: Equivalences (1997)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


4. Archeology of Our Gaze: Bestiaries (1997)

Photo by Hind Mezaina


5. Always With You (2001-2008)

Photo by Hind Mezaina

Photo by Hind Mezaina


6. Latent Images (1997-2006)

Photo by Hind Mezaina

Photo by Hind Mezaina

Photo by Hind Mezaina

 

7. Lasting Images (2003)

Photo by Hind MezainaPhoto by Hind MezainaPhoto by Hind Mezaina

 

8. 180 Seconds of Lasting Images (2006)

Photo by Hind Mezaina

 

9. Faces (2009)  

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

 


10. The President's Album - Part 2 of The Lebanese Rocket Society (2011)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


11. Dust in the Wind - Part 6 of The Lebanese Rocket Society (2013)

Photo by Hind Mezaina

12. The Golden Record - Part 3 of The Lebanese Rocket Society (2012)

Photos by Hind Mezaina


13. Geometry of Space (2014)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation



14. Objects of Khiam (1999-2013)

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Two Suns in a Sunset. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Photo by Hind Mezaina

Photo by Hind Mezaina


15. Khiam 2000 - 2007 (2008)

Photo by Hind Mezaina


16. "I stared at beauty so much..." Waiting for Barbarians (2013)

Video still, via www.hadjithomasjoreige.com


17. Remembering the Light (2016)

Video still. photo by Hind Mezaina.


The exhibition also includes the following sections which I didn't photograph, and best to see them in person, especially, The Rumour of the World.
18. Ismyrna (2016)
19. The Jerusalem Letter (2014)
20. The Rumour of the World (2014)
21. Elements for a Monument Cedar IV: A Reconstruction - Part 1 of The Lebanese Rocket Society (2011)

 

List of film screenings accompanying this exhibition at Mirage City Cinema, SAF Art Spaces, Behind Al Zahra Mosque: 

 

Saturday, 16th April 2016 at 8.30pm

Around the Pink House
DVD, Dolby SR | 92 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles | 1998

Beirut is under reconstruction. A surprising pink palace is threaten of being destroyed to be replaced by a commercial centre. This ambitious project divides the neighborhood. As the personal stories of those living in the pink house unveil, the wounds and dreams of a strange postwar period appear.

 

 

Saturday, 30th April 2016 at 8.30pm

The Lost Film
42 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles | 2003

A copy of our first feature film disappeared in Yemen, on the day of the tenth anniversary of the reunification of North and South. A year later we are there, following the track of the lost film.

An enquiry that takes us from Sanaa to Aden, a personal quest centering on the image and on our status as filmmakers in this part of the world...

 

Ramad (Ashes)
35 mm, Dolby SR | 26 minutes | French, Arabic with English subtitles | 2003

Nabil returns to Beirut with the ashes of his father who has died abroad. He tries to overcome his bereavement, while his family insists on respecting rites and customs by burying a non-existent corpse...

 

 

14th May 2016 at 8.30pm

A Perfect Day
35 mm, Dolby SR | 92 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles | 2005

Stuck in a traffic jam, Malek catches a fleeting glance of the beautiful Zeina, the woman he loves. He desperately tries to get through to her by text message, but she does not want to see him. She vanishes into the throng of midday Beirut traffic. The young man has a syndrome, which interrupts his breathing during sleep. Whenever he stops moving, he dozes off adding to his disorientation.

His mother Claudia has still not accepted his father's disappearance after 15 years. She stays at home should her husband return; Malek drives around the city alone in his car. Each of them try to live with a void of lost love. But today may be the "perfect day " to lay their ghosts to rest.

Malek is taking his hesitant mother to declare her husband officially dead in the "absence of a body". And that evening, in a trendy nightclub where the young of Beirut go to dance and forget their troubles, Zeina looks ready to give Malek a second shot at the love for which he yearns.

 

 

Exhibition details
Dates: 12th March - 8th May 2016 | Open daily till 10.00pm
Venue: Buildings J and P, Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah (location map)
Free entry.

 

 

www.sharjahart.org/exhibitions-events/current-upcoming-events/joanakhalil
www.hadjithomasjoreige.com

 

Thursday
Apr072016

The Culturist Recommends - Exhibitions in April 2016

Manal Al Dowayan - Poolside II | Canvas, copper, string| 100 x 71 cm | 2015


There are some good exhibitions currently running in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. My absolute favourite is Manal Al Dowayan's "And I, Will I Forget?" at Cuadro Gallery. It's my favourite exhibition of the year so far. An exhibition based on found photos, I found Al Dowayan's narrative quite moving and I strongly recommend you don't miss this.

I'm really looking forward to Here's What They Think of Me by Sara Alahbabi, a senior capstone exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Here's my list of top 10 exhibitions in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah that you shouldn't miss this month. Click on the title of each exhibition if you'd like to read more.

 

And I, Will I Forget? by Manal Al Dowayan
Gallery: Cuadro Gallery, Dubai
Dates: Until 14th April 2016

Manal Al Dowayan - The Girls (5 pieces) | Canvas, copper, string | 24 79, 22 x 96, 16 x 61, 20 x 73, 22 x 74 cm | 2015

Artist statement:

I have a fear of forgetting; I have a fear of being forgotten. The faces, the places, and the emotions that belong to them.

I save images, and preserve objects, I fill pages with notes and detailed descriptions. To obscure, to delete, to censor, to erase, and to forget a war is waged on memory. What remains when this war is lost? Images with no stories, dusty objects, misunderstood thoughts. The images will eventually fade, the objects will be lost, and the pages never understood. I have a fear of forgetting. I have a fear of being forgotten. And I, will I forget?


 

Here's What They Think of Me by Sara Alahbabi
Gallery: NYUAD Art Gallery - Project Space (Abu Dhabi)
Dates: 10th – 16th April 2016

Sara Alahbabi - He Owns So Much Oil, 2016 | 90cm x 60 cm

This art project encompasses a series of staged photography which acts as a tool to challenge these stereotypes; the images are exaggerated so that it is obvious to the spectator that what is depicted in these photographs is unrealistic.

What I find troublesome is that certain generalizations or misconceptions could potentially feed into the identity of what, as an Emirati, the Emirates means as a whole. Therefore, having done this project will allow me to take that first step into solving misconceptions; to start a conversation.

 


What is it? - Curated by Sumesh Sharma
Gallery: 1x1 Gallery, Dubai
Dates: Until 30th April 2016

Portraiture becomes a trajectory of inquiry into the layers that constitute aesthetics, conceptual thought and the politics of artistic practice. 'What is it?' was Mathew Brady's travelling photographic studio that introduced the magic of the photo to rural American audiences, and is a question still asked in the realm of an art fair.

Portraiture has been a constant in the vocabulary of the visual arts in subcontinent dating back to the earliest know Jain Miniatures. Western Classical academic practice introduced portraiture in colonial era art schools that dealt with the subjects anatomy and perspective but soon the practice was incorporated into forming diverse narratives that are encountered in the exhibition.

 


The Lightness of Mass by Seher Shah
Gallery: Green Art Gallery, Dubai
Dates: Until 9th May 2016

Seher Shah - Unit Object (house), 2014 | Etching with aquatint on Arches paper | 58.42 x 66.04 cm.| Ed 5 of 20

Throughout her practice, Seher Shah has consistently re-shaped representation. Working with both drawing and sculpture, she has revisited the mainstays of architectural representational methods—plan, elevation, section—to inject unsettling slippages into their rigorous formalism. If, in the past, her practice has knowingly toyed with the frontier between the resolutely rational and the vaguely visceral, this new body of work fully embraces that visceral slant.

 

The Book (Re-Imagined) - Curated by Mohamed Abou El Naga
Gallery: The Mojo Gallery
Dates: Until 14th May 2016

The Book [Re-Imagined] features work of more than 30 artists and focuses on the highly distinctive and visually intriguing ‘artist’s book’.

An artist’s book isn’t published, it is handmade. It is not repeated, it is singular. It is like a canvas, but folded, revealing an intimate world, page after page.

Through an amalgamation of graphic-textual-chromatic-spatial expression, each artist’s book represents an individual’s deeply personal laboratory of inter-disciplinary art. While the collective combination of these unique artworks forms a fascinating aesthetic and intellectual dialogue between language, culture and artistic storytelling.

 

But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face - Curated by Nat Muller
Gallery: Lawrie Shabibi
Dates: Until 19th May 2016

Daniele Genadry - Afterglow (15.33), 2013 | Screenprint on mylar | Framed: 28 x 37 cm

The exhibition takes on a timely topic: the disappearance and loss of cultural and other types of heritage. The works explore the relationship between collecting, power, history, conflict and identity. By snatching away subjects from the jaws of time and permanent loss, and by fixing them in memory, the works become poetic and political acts of preservation.

 

ICONS by Cortis and Sonderegger
Gallery: East Wing (Dubai)
Dates: 14th April - 26th May 2016

Cortis and Sonderegger - From the Icons series - Making of Concorde by Toshihko Sato | 2000 - 2013

In 2012, Swiss based artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger presented themselves with a challenge; to recreate some of the world’s most iconic images in their studio. Trawling through books filled with history’s most memorable photographs, the duo used optical tricks to reproduce what seemed impossible to duplicate – a series of iconic moments that changed perspectives, often resulting in creative or political rebellion.

Cortis and Sonderegger will give a talk at on Saturday, 16th April at 2pm. Quite looking forward to this. More information here.

 

 

The Phantom Limb by Diana Al-Hadid
Gallery: NYUAD Art Gallery

Dates: Until 28th May 2016

Diana Al-Hadid - Phantom Limb (photo © Hind Mezaina)

Diana Al-Hadid’s works transforms Renaissance and classical imagery into contemporary sculptural forms that appear to be decaying or resurfacing, often in a cascade of white, melting gypsum. Her towering sculptures, spectral wall pieces, and surreal bronzes will fill the 7,000 square foot gallery.

The exhibition takes its title from a central work, Phantom Limb, a term referring to the sensations that a missing arm or leg is still present, and able to move. The title captures the character of much of Al-Hadid’s work, which evokes memory and long cultural history through a visceral, materially-focused working technique. The theme of memory and its physical manifestations in art and architecture runs throughout Al-Hadid’s work.

 

 

Two Suns in a Sunset - Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Venue: Sharjah Art Foundation, Building J and P, SAF Art Spaces (Sharjah)
Dates: Until 12th June 2016

Lasting Images, 2003 (video still)

Grounded in the context of Beirut and events that are close to their personal lives, the works of Lebanese artists and filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige reflect the artists' ongoing interrogation of imagery, representation and history.

Research is at the centre of their practice—each project beginning with an idea that develops and evolves through the materials the artists encounter along the way.  Images and stories from the past are reactivated in the present creating narratives that are often open-ended and performative and where reality and fiction are in constant flux.

This major exhibition brings to Sharjah a wide selection of work by the artists created from the late 1990s to the present day.

 

Time is Out of Joint - Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh
Venue: Sharjah Art Foundation, Building GH and I, SAF Art Spaces (Sharjah)
Dates: Until 12th June 2016 

Tzu-Nyen Ho - Pythagoras (video still from a multi media installation)

This exhibition invites the audience to engage with three platforms; an exhibition, which includes video works, installations and photography; a reading room with a discursive programme that hosts performances, artist talks, and an archive; and a one day conference titled Jogja Equator Conference 2022.

Go see this group exhibition, if only to experience Tzy-Nyen Ho's 35 min multi-media installation, Pythagoras. It evokes a range of feelings. I won't say more to avoid spoilers.

 

 

Thursday
Apr072016

Warehouse421 - Wednesdays at the Warehouse - April 2016

This month sees the last batch of events from the current season of Wednesays at the Warehouse programme which started in January this year. As always, it includes workshops, talks and film screenings.

Here's the line up:

 

Wednesday 13th April 2016

Workshop: Patterns of the Sea - Textile Printing
5.30pm - 7.30pm

 

Participants are led through a step-by-step process of printing on textiles by extracting visual elements found in photos of journeys through the ocean, fishing and surfing, drawing various patterns which are transferred into stencils used to transfer impressions on fabric.

Instructor: Khalid Mezaina, Artist
Alumni, the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging
Artists Fellowship (SEAF)

In collaboration with SEAF.



Film screenings - 7.30pm - 9.30pm

 Dry Hot Summers 

Directed by Sherif Elbendary
Egypt, Germany | PG13 | Comedy | 32 minutes | 2015

Two paths cross on a hot, dry, day in Cairo. A desperate cancer patient meets a bride, who wants to wear her wedding gown and prepare for a photograph with her groom. A day unlike any other.



The Atlantic

Directed by Jan-Willem van Ewijk
Morocco, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium | PG 15 | Drama, Adventure | 94 minutes | 2015

A Moroccan fisherman sets off on an epic journey towards Europe on his wind surfboard. But the pursuit of dreams does not come without sacrifice.

 

 

Wednesday, 27th April 2016

Panel talk: Archival Photography: Practices and Projects in the UAE
6.30pm - 8.00pm 


 

What constitutes an archive? Why build and maintain an archive? How are archives built and used? Join an intriguing discussion among representatives of the leading archives in the UAE to explore the significance and various approaches to archiving in the Emirates. 

Panelists:
Karen Davies, Crown Prince Court, Abu Dhabi
Abdallah Al Bastaki, National Archive 
Dr. Shamoon Zamir, Akkasah Center for Photography, NYU Abu Dhabi
Dr. Michele Bambling, Lest We Forget

Moderated by: Shamma Al Mheiri

In collaboration with Lest We Forget.

 

 

 

www.warehouse421.ae

 

 

Saturday
Apr022016

Cinema at the Space - April 2016

Cinema at The Space will screen the following films this month. The screenings take place at The Space in Abu Dhabi (twofour54 Park Rotana Building), and free to attend, but you must RSVP in advance.

Unfortunately, this will be the last screenings at The Space, which will be closed for renovation and will be turned into a new space. I am not sure if the screenings will take place in a new venue next month, but I will keep you posted.

Listen to this interview with Mohammed Khawaja, the programmer of Cinema at the Space, on the podcast Where The Script At?. He makes many valid points about the importance of film in our lives, and highlighted the dumbing down of the cinema experience in the UAE because of the cinemas and film distributors. I urge you to listen to it.

 

Here's the line up, you can click on the images below to read more/RSVP. I strongly recommend you do not miss 99 Homes, Still Walking and It Follows (which I wrote about last year listing why you must see it).

 

 

Saturday, 2nd April

 

Monday, 4th April

 

Monday, 11th April

 

Wednesday, 13th April

 

Thursday, 14th April

 

Saturday, 16th April

 

Monday, 18th April

 

Wednesday, 20th April

 

Saturday, 23rd April

 

Monday, 25th April

 

Wednesday, 27th April

 

Saturday, 30th April

 

www.cinemaspace-abudhabi.splashthat.com

Saturday
Apr022016

NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center - Performances in April/May 2016

This month sees the last few performances at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Center. It's a packed schedule that goes into the first week of May and includes a range of music including funk, jazz, classical and Iraqi maqam.

Each performance is free to attend, so if you're in Abu Dhabi, make time to attend one or two performances. Here's the line up (click on each title for more information).


Pee Wee Ellis & Fred Wesley | Funk: Evolution of a Revolution (World Premiere)
When: 16th April at 8.00pm
Where: East Plaza, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi


An explosive multi-media show that tells the story of the evolution of music that changed the world, led by two of its most important architects.

Masterminded by Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley, two of the great creative powerhouses of Funk, this explosive multi-media performance tells the story of how Funk has impacted music and culture in its 50 years of life.

Ellis and Wesley are cornerstones of the genre (Pee Wee as one its creators with James Brown himself in the late 1960s, and Fred carrying the torch on through the era of Bootsy Collins and George Clinton) and represent some of the deepest roots of the Funk Family Tree.  

FUNK: Evolution of a Revolution brings together a world-class group of musicians to chart the path of the music from its birth in 1965 to the present and into the future, from jazz to hip hop, New York to New Orleans, London to Lagos, Benin to Brazil and beyond.

 

 

Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble
When: 24th and 25th April at 8.00pm | 26th April at 10.00am (family matinee)
Where: Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Meredith Monk’s visionary fusion of sound and movement is as daring now as it was when she debuted five decades ago.

Her influence on musicians both in and beyond the world of classical composition can be felt in the work of artists as varied as pop icon Björk, jazz experimentalist John Zorn, and innovative electronic composer DJ Spooky.

This historic concert will include selections from several of Monk’s most recent works — On Behalf of Nature, impermanence, and mercy — alongside classics from earlier decades, offering an expansive view of Monk’s 50 years of making music.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of her first performances in New York City, this concert focuses on her unique contribution to vocal music. It traces the evolution from the pioneering solo works she created for her own performance, to some of her landmark creations for the Vocal Ensemble she founded in 1978, and ultimately to excerpts from several of her elaborate large-scale music theater works for multiple voices and instruments. 

 

 

 

Aizuri Quartet - Beethoven and Beyond
When: 26th April at 8.00pm
Where: The Arts Center Lobby at NYU Abu Dhabi 

Beethoven and Beyond: Beethoven’s amazing String Quartet No. 13, Opus 130 and his forward looking Grande Fugue paired with works by NYUAD composers.

The Aizuri are rising stars in the classical music scene. Amazing players individually, they are impressive collectively as well. As the graduate string Quartet in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, they are just the second group to hold this prestigious position.

 

 

Joey Alexander Trio
When: 27th April at 8.00pm
Where:
Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Since Joey Alexander first encountered the piano at the age of six, his musical intuition has flourished alongside a love of jazz. His talent has taken the world by storm, stunning audiences from New York City to Copenhagen.

Last year, at the age of 12, Joey released his debut album ‘My Favourite Things’ to great acclaim. The Indonesian jazz prodigy has become one of the youngest musicians ever to be nominated for a Grammy award; and not in one, but two categories– ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ and ‘Best Jazz Instrumental Album’.

Join the Joey Alexander Trio for a soulful and joyful musical adventure and witness the magic of this budding young leader, performer and composer as he presents an evening of beloved jazz standards and original compositions.

 

 

Alfredo Rodriguez Trio
When: 28th April at 8.00pm
Where:
Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Grammy nominated artist, Alfredo Rodríguez reflects the talents of legendary jazz pianists Keith Jarrett and Thelonious Monk. Schooled in the classical conservatories of Havana, Rodríguez’s artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Cuban and jazz roots.

Discovered at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival by Quincy Jones, Rodríguez has distinguished himself as the definition of jazz and improvisation without boundaries. 

 

 

Amir ElSaffar | Rivers of Sound Large Ensemble
When: 30th April at 8.00pm
Where:
East Plaza, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

The Rivers of Sound Large Ensemble is deeply rooted in musical forms of Iraq and nearby regions but still speaks the language of swing, improvisation and group interaction, resulting in a sound distinct from other contemporary cross-cultural musical fusions.

The group embraces a broad spectrum of traditions, from Iraqi maqam to American jazz, on a range of instruments including the Middle Eastern oud, buzuq, santur (hammered dulcimer), jowza (spike fiddle), and percussion, arrayed with the piano, bass and drums of jazz, along with trumpet, saxophones, oboe, strings, and voice. Rivers of Sound combines the modal language of the maqam with the aesthetics of contemporary music and jazz to create a new musical vocabulary.

 

 

Amir ElSaffar | Alwan Ensemble / Ashwaaq Ensemble
When: 3rd Mat at 8.00pm
Where:
Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Amir ElSaffar's Alwan Ensemble delivers a lively and transporting performance of well-loved folk, popular, and art music of the Arab world, highlighting styles and repertoire from Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Egypt. Built around mesmerizing textures of rhythmic and improvisational intensity, the music is based on the maqam modal system, with great emphasis on poetry and highly intricate, interwoven melodies sung by a soloist or chorus, accompanied by the rich bed of sound created by the combination of Middle Eastern instruments.

The Alwan Ensemble’s performance evokes ambiances of Cairo, Baghdad, al-Quds and Aleppo – each cities with great legacies in art and culture, and characteristic and distinct musical repertories – while reflecting the richness and cultural vibrancy of contemporary New York.

 

 

www.nyuad-artscenter.org

 

Thursday
Mar312016

Film and TV Viewing Log - March 2016

Dust in the Wind

Night of the Hunter

Rosemary's Baby

Possession

 

My major film highlight this month was watching films by Hou Hsiao-hsien in Singapore (you can read all about it here).

Another highlight is I finally got to see Night of the Hunter starring Robert Mitchum, and an impromptu double bill at home with Rosemary's Baby and Possession.

Very Big Shot, a film from Lebanon by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya was a great discovery and a suprise and I urge you to seek this film out. I wrote some thoughts about it here. Was also glad to re-watch Theeb at the cinema when it was re-released to celebrate its Oscar Best Foreign Film nomination. 

 

Here's the complete list:

 

Hou Hsiao-hsien films (read more about it here)
A Time to Live, A Time to Die (1985) ★★★★★
Dust in the Wind (1986) ★★★★★
The Puppetmaster (1993) ★★★★★
Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996) ★★★★★
Millennium Mambo (2001) ★★★★★
Café Lumière (2003) ★★★★
Three Times (2005) ★★★★★

 

Agnès Varda films:
Du côté de la côte (1958) ★★★★
Jane B. by Agnès V. (1987) ★★★
Ydessa, the bears and etc. (2004) ★★★★

 


★★★★★

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

 

★★★★

Rosemary's Baby (Dir. Roman Polanski, 1968)

Autumn Sonata (Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1978)

Possession (Dir. Andrzej Żuławski, 1981)

Theeb (Dir. Naji Abu Nowar, 2014)

Very Big Shot (Dir. Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, 2015)  (My thoughts about it here.)

 

 

★★★

Trumbo (Jay Roach, 2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (Dir. Francis Lawrence, 2015)

Steve Jobs (Dir. Danny Boyle, 2015)

Anomalisa (Dir. Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, 2015)

The Mermaid (Dir. Stephen Chow, 2016)


Cannibal Holocaust (Dir. Ruggero Deodato, 1980)


 

TV
Survivor (Season 32) - Episodes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


 

Film log - January 2016
Film log - February 2016

 

Monday
Mar282016

Singapore Diary - Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien



My last Singapore Diary is about the Hou Hsiao-hsien film retrospective that made me travel to Singapore earlier this month.

I was first introduced to Hou Hsiao-hsien's films  last October in London, the same retrospective was running at the BFI.

The screenings were held in National Museum of Singapore's cinematheque (annoyingly, the link to the Hou Hsiao-hsien screenings is no longer available on the museum's website). The retrospective started on 26th February and ended on 20th March 2016. I only caught a weekend and a half worth of film screenings (11th-13th March and 19th March), so I still have a lot more of his films I'd like to see.

All the films were screened on 35mm and I was so happy to lose myself in Hou Hsiao-hsien's films which are about life, memory and time. Deeply touching films we can all relate to. Kevin Lee describes it best in this Sense of Cinema piece,

To watch a Hou movie is to be confronted with one’s abilities to bear witness to one’s memories, not merely as a distant object to be contemplated or commemorated, but as a past life relived with present day immediacy.

 

 

Here's what I watched:

 

A Time to Live, A Time to Die / Tong nien wang shi
Taiwan, 1985 |  137 min


I was deeply moved by this film. There are so many universal truths in it about family. One particular scene featuring the family's mourning of the father's death just shattered me and anyone who has lost a parent will relate to it.

This quote from Eric Hynes's review of the film in Reverse Shot eloquently sums up the film,

For what passes also remains, changed but still real, and that what seems present and alive is already, slowly and quickly, witnessed or ignored, passing away.

 


Dust in the Wind / Lian lian feng chen
Taiwan, 1986 | 107 min 


A film about love, loss, heartbreak and change. The opening train scene is beautiful and seeing more of Hou Hsiao-hsien's I really want to visit Taiwan and travel across the country by train. I was also quite taken by these scenes.



The Puppetmaster / Xi meng ren sheng
Taiwan, 1993 | 142 min 

A film about Taiwanese puppet master Li Tien-lu, spanning his childhood to early adulthood between 1908 and 1945. Li Tien-lu appears as a narrator in this film, and as much as it is his personal history, the film is also a look at Taiwan's history during those years. This line by Li Tien-lu about life, "the hardest things are separation and death" stayed with me.

 

Café Lumière / Kohi Jikou / Kafei Shiguang
Japan, 2003 | 103 min 

This was my second viewing of Café Lumière, Hsiao-hsien's Japanese language film and an homage to Yasujiro Ozu commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Trains play a role in this film too. This is the last shot of the film, and don't worry, it's not a spoiler in my opinion. I never think of  Hou Hsiao-hsien's endings as actual endings, they are scenes that stay with you and makes you think of what could or will happen next.

The closing soundtrack is sung by the Hitoto Yō who also stars in this film. A song that makes me sway.

 


Three Times / Zuihao de Shiguang
Taiwan-France, 2005 | 116 min 


This too was a second viewing for me, and it was so rewarding. Three different love stories, set in three different periods (1966, 1911 and 2005) featuring the same lead actors Shu Qi and Chang Chen in all three, who are are absolutely mesmerising in it.

 

Goodbye South, Goodbye / Nan guo zai jan, nan guo
Taiwan, 1996 | 116 min 


Quite a melancholic film about gangsters and probably the most mundane film about gangsters I've seen. There are so many great eating scenes in Goodbye South, Goodbye, the most I've seen out of the Hsiao-hsien films I've watched so far.

Trains make an appearance too, but also cars and this wonderful motor bike scene. Turn up the sound and watch this.

 

 

Millennium Mambo / Qianxi Manbo
Taiwan-France, 2001 | 105 min


This last film I caught at this retrospective was Millennium Mambo. It was my second screening (it was the first Hou Hsiao-Hsien film I watched in London in October). It mesmerised me then, and I was even more mesmerised with the second viewing.

A film that makes me want to go dancing in Taipei and walking in Yubari, Japan. I shared this before and will share again. One in my list of the best opening scene in a film. The track is "A Pure Person" by Lim Giong.

 

 

I leave you with this video featuring Richard I. Suchenski, organiser of this film retrospective and editor of the book Hou Hsiao-hsien. It gives you an insight into Hsiao-hsien's films and I hope it encourages you to seek out his films if you've never watched them before. If there's ever a screening of Hou Hsiao-hsien films at a cinema near you, drop everything you're doing and go.

 

 


Hou Hsiao-Hsien on IMDB and Wikipedia.

www.bard.edu/cmia/publications