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Dubai 1984 by Ahmed Nasser Al Suwaidi


Here's a video showing Dubai in the summer of 1984. Not sure what it was filmed with and why, but I always enjoy seeing old footage of Dubai. I started my teenage years then, so I definitely remember lots of these scenes. The scenes around the creek are my favourite, it has and always be my favourite part of the city.

Ahmed Nasser Al Suwaidi, whoever you are, thank you. 




Metropolis 2.0 - City Life in the Urban Age at The Empty Quarter

Workers Emirates © Philippe ChancelWorkers Emirates © Philippe Chancel





Metropolis 2.0 - City Life in the Urban Age is the latest exhibition at The Empty Quarter in Dubai. It's been on since 19th October and ends on 30th November. It features work by 35 photographers and is probably one of the biggest shows at The Empty Quarter has ever had. If you've not been to it, I strongly recommend you don't miss it.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than half of the world's population are living in cities. Metropolis:­ City Life in the Urban Age shows the many faces of the modern city.

Never in history has the number of people living in cities grown faster than in recent decades. This has enhanced the role of the city as a cultural, economic and social nerve centre. The city is the birthplace for a culture and morality that extends far beyond its boundaries.

In photography of diverse sorts – documentary and constructed – Metropolis literally leads you through a city of images. In the gallery, a city will arise, consisting of high buildings, streets and squares where you can walk around and appreciate the images.  

Metropolis 2.0 is co-produced together with Noorderlicht Photography.


Next Level - Dubai 2007, from Arabian Prospects III © Frederic Lezmi



Beirut, Martyr Square 1977-2004 © Paul Gofferjé


Kolkata © Tiane Doan na ChampassakTokyo Compression © Michael Wolf 

Photographers taking part in this exhibition:

Abir Abdullah - Andreas Meichsner - Andreas Mueller-Pohle - Antje Hanebeck - Ashley Gilbertson - Bas Princen - Bonadies & Olavarría - Carlos Cazalis - Cedric Delsaux - Christoph Gielen - Corinne Vionnet - Carlos & Jason Sanchez -  Dennis Rito - Dhruv Dhawan - Edith Roux  - Frederic Lezmi - Jian Jiang - Ikuru Kuwajima - Kai Uwe Gundlach
 - Katrin Greiling Martin Becka - Martin Roemers - Michael Wolf - Nadine Stijns - Nina Berman - Paul Gofferjé - Peter Bialobrzeski - Philippe Chancel - Rasel Chowdhury - Richard Allenby-Pratt - Sayed Asif Mahmud - Tiane Doan na Champassak - Virgilio Ferreira - Will Steacy - Yang Yongliang


National Centre for Documentation and Research


I found out about the National Centre for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi a couple of years ago and I've been meaning to knock on their doors and ask if I can spend some time to browse around. I had no idea the centre was established in 1968. I imagine there's some great archival material related to the UAE that can be found there. 

The National Centre for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi showcases a wealth of historical materials that sheds light on the life in UAE and the Arabian Peninsula dating back to the 16th century.

Check out this interview with Dr Abdullah Al Reyes, the Director of the National Centre for Documentation and Research. He explains how the centre was set up and talks about what can be found there.


I need to stop procrastinating and schedule to contact them soon.

[via Gulf News]


A Boatmaker's Tale

Here's a short video featuring Ali Mattar Humaid Al Shamsi talking about the craft of boat building and sailing. He's from a time that no longer exists, and today these slick wooden boats are confined to boat racing and no longer face the rough seas for fishing and travelling.  But I'm glad these boats still exist and hope they never go away.




[via Gulf News]



Tiger Translate Dubai presents Universe

Global art, design and music showcase Tiger Translate is coming to Dubai on Wednesday, 23rd November - hosting a event with the theme of Universe at the Royal Majlis (Emirates Golf Club).

Tiger Translate Middle East promises to be a multi-sensory art celebration and will feature some of the best regional talent in the digital art community, where both international and local artists will create ideas and designs which reflect their interpretation of the theme of ‘Universe’ in the context of modern Asia and the Gulf region.

Tiger Translate is fronted by a collective of both emerging Asian and established international artists, known as Asian Kinetic Artists (AKA). Tiger’s AKAs form a community of Asia’s most creative minds in art, design, photography and music. Hand-selected by a global panel of experts, the AKAs will collaborate with local artists to merge their skills and creativity to create a unique artistic experience for guests and audiences.

The AKAs at the Dubai event include a trio of acclaimed digital artists from Bangkok called B.O.R.E.D. (Band of Radical Experiment Design), who will lead a series of workshops for local artists and design students in the days leading up to the event.



Three Dubai-based artists, Liz Ramos-Prado, Victoria Viray and Hani Alireza (from Peru, Philippines and Saudi Arabia respectively) have been selected from Dubai’s design industry based upon their skills and how their styles match the artists from Bangkok.

Victoria Viray - Isabela and Cristina

All the artists will be involved in a collaborative cross-border design exchange called ‘Ping Pong’ in the run up to the event, where a work of digital art will be passed back and forth between the artist pairings to produce a unique piece of Tiger Translate digital art, with finishing touches to be made live on 23rd November.

In addition to Ping Pong, there will be a photography-based creative process called ‘Double Vision’, which will involve images by yours truly that will be treated by the digital artists, with their interpretations revealed on canvas at the event. I will only find out the results on the night, so I'm looking forward to the final outcome.

The night will include live art and alternative live music, featuring
- Break DJ Lobito

- VJ Cold Fusion
- An experimental music collaboration with leading local musicians including
Hamdan Al-Abri, Noush Like Sploosh & Gayathri.

The evening will be hosted by TV and Radion presenter Simone Heng. Added bonus, there will be Far Eastern food and refreshments served throughout the night. This one-off night sounds like it will be a blast. Hope you can make it.

Event details:
Date and time: Wednesday, 23rd November from 7.00pm - 1.00am
Venue: Royal Majlis at Emirates Golf Club (location map)
Free entry.


Film Screening - Sea Shadows

Sea Shadows premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last month, it's the second feature film after The Circle (2009) by its director Nawaf Al Janahi. Produced by Abu Dhabi's Image Nation, it was heavily promoted leading to its premiere and it just got released in cinemas across the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and will released across the Gulf over the next two weeks.

It's always great news that a film from the United Arab Emirates gets a wide release in our cinemas, because most of the time you only get to see them at film festivals. The Emirati film industry has been plodding away for the past decade, but over the past couple of years it's slowly coming of age and my only hope is that over the next few years we see it mature and recognised in the international film industry.

Set in a small seaside neighbourhood in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, Sea Shadow follows teenagers Mansoor and Kaltham as they struggle with tradition and convention in their journey towards adulthood. Bound by family and deeply-rooted values, the pair must find the courage to forge their own paths.


I strongly recommend you to take a break from Hollywood blockbusters playing at our cinemas and go watch Sea Shadows. The movie has English sub-titles, so it isn't restricted to an Arab speaking audience.

Screenings schedules can be found here.


Société Perrier Dubai

Ahem...ahem... I have a small announcement to make. Société Perrier invited me to be one of their Luminaries for the new Société Perrier Dubai website.

"Société Perrier is the global enthusiast's source for engaging content and great events. Curating the best in nightlife, art, music, fashion, travel, mixology and cocktail culture, Sociéte Perrier is the trusted arbiter of what's hot around the world. When you see the Sociéte Perrier seal, you know you are in the right place."

The Luminaries from the different cities represented on the website are "chosen from a select group of top influencers and culture tastemakers and represent the Société Perrier lifestyle both in their work and everyday lives."

So needless to say, I feel very honoured to be selected and my role as a "luminary" will be to work closely with the Société Perrier editors in shaping the content on So look out for my posts there (and lots of photos of me with Perrier bottles ...  just kidding).

Please do visit the site for updates on events in Dubai and for interviews with some interesting people in the fashion, nightlife, arts and culture scene.

Here's a screenhsot from the Luminaries section in Société Perrier Dubai, I'm the one with the lights on my face. [Note to self, must get a professional portrait.]


Design Road at Tashkeel


Design Road is a journey undertaken by international designers and creative professionals from various disciplines to exchange experiences with local creative people and innovators. Activities during Design Road include seminars, workshops and an exhibition. All the workshops are in collaboration with Elisava, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering and Kingston University London.

The Spanish Designer Josep Basora designed the image of Design Road Dubai 2011. “We wanted an image that symbolizes the meeting, dialogue, brotherhood. We believe that tea time met all of these concepts into one, and a teapot was the perfect synthesis for this moment. We draw the teapot using the same modules that make up the identity of Design Road.”
Design Road will be visiting Dubai next month conducting seven workshops at Tashkeel in Nad Al Sheba. It's a great opportunity to interact with some of the leading designers/creative professionals in their fields.

Workshop details
are added below. Instructor credentials and application forms can be downloaded from here

The deadline for receiving all applications is 28th November 2011. So hurry up and register.


Coolhunting Design / Urban Immersion by Jorge Rodriguez
Practical training on finding and understanding local and global trends as inspiration for human based or user oriented creation. Urban immersion, urban photography and video, lifestyle analysis, information analysis techniques, key-wording, tag-clouding, trend-boarding.

Cost: AED 500
Dates: 1st-5th December 2011, 2.30-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Requirement: Digital photo camera or video camera, laptop.
Suitable for: All creative professionals, Architects, Graphic Designers, Interior Designers, Fashion Designers and Visual Artists.

2. Exhibition Design by Rosa Roca Pera
Tools and training on exhibition projects management. From concept to society. Working on contemporary art practices involving context and participation.

Cost: AED 500
Dates: 1st-5th December, 2.30- 6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Requirement: Digital photo camera or video camera, laptop.
Suitable for: Students and young professionals of Curating, Design, Culture Management, Communication, Fine Arts, Architecture, Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, Designers, Fashion Designers and Visual Artists.  

3. Retail Design / Tectonic Pattern by Carmelo Zappulla
The workshop aims to train students to recognize pattern and its potential aspects in design. ‘TECTONIC PATTERN’ is a research project that aims to recollect pattern that discovers the geometries of matter, its properties, effects and qualities.

Cost: AED 500
Dates: 1st-5th December 2011, 2.30-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
: Material for physical models, laptop.
Suitable for
Architects, Product Designers, Interior Designers, graduates of Architecture or Engineering, students of Architecture, Graphic Designers and Mathematicians.

4. Event Design / Creative Dialogue by Samer Yamani
Practical training on designing an event from brain storming till a press campaign. Cultural Event / to focus on cultural sector and needs in your city in order to create and design a necessary cultural event related to it.

Cost:AED 500
Dates: 3rd-5th December 2011, 11.30am-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Requirement: Digital photo camera or video camera, laptop.
Suitable for: All creative professionals, Architects, Graphic Designers, Interior Designers, Fashion Designers and Visual Artists.

5. Motion Graphics Design / The brand management in television by Antoni Colomer Campos
The workshop aims to give students the basic keys to manage the brand on television, an introduction to the concept of Motion Graphics Design, the conceptualized process of a brand in television. How a brand package works and which applications of it are necessary to communicate with the audience; logos, colors, typography, effects, mesh, etc.

 Cost: AED 500
Dates: 3rd-5th December 2011, 11.30am-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Requirement: Laptop, After effects, Photoshop, Illustrator.
Suitable for: Graphic Designers, Motion graphics/animators, Art Directors and Producers.

6. Urban Design / Maps of extensive and intensive urban public space by Christoph Lueder
Aims to produce a collective map of a selected local urban space, re-envisioning prior loca spatial and social knowledge of students as well as immediate experience through new methodologies and expanded frames of reference.

Cost:AED 500
Dates: 3 days - 03rd-5th December 2011, 11.30am-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Requirement: Equipment for drawing by hand and/or digitally, photo / video tools, laptop.
Suitable for: Students and young professionals of Architecture, Urban Design, Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Sociology, Anthropology and Geography.

7. Curating Contemporary Design by Gillian Russell
Introduction to the main challenges and aims of curating exhibitions in a variety of settings; from galleries to museums, pop-ups and festivals. Training on the development of a curatorial proposal and selection of participating designers.

Cost: AED 500
Dates: 3rd-5th December 2011, 11.30am-6.30pm (Total Hours: 20)
Suitable for
Curators, Creative Practitioners, Designers, Arts Professionals, Visual Artists and Architects.


Applications forms  can be downloaded from here.
Completed forms should be sent to:
Registration deadline: 28th November 2011
For more information, contact Tashkeel: + 971 4 336 3313


Unplugged by Souk Madinat Jumeirah presents Kate Nash


Once in a while Dubai will host small and intimate concerts with talented young artists. On 2nd December, Kate Nash, the Platinium selling and Brit award winning artist will hit our shores, bringing along her guitar and piano for an acoustic set at The Amphitheatre in Souk Madinat Jumeriah.

She will be supported by the multi-instrumentalist Tim Hassall and Caitlin Murphy who has been making waves in the underground music scene across Dubai with her original and covered melancholy sounds.

If you live in Dubai and miss small live gigs, this one is for you.

Here are a couple of clips to give you a taste of what to expect.


Event Details

Date: Friday, 2nd December (doors open at 6pm and performance starts at 7pm)
Advance Tickets: AED 150 (from Virgin Megastores, Time Out Tickets, Madinat Theatre Box Office, Ohm Records)
At the door: AED 180.00



Emirates Winter by Lewis de Mesa


The United Arab Emirates will turn 40 in two weeks and there are big celebrations and activities across the country leading to 2nd December. To be part of the celebrations, I will post stories related to the UAE past, present and future over the next two weeks.

I will start with a video I found a few days ago called Emirates Winter by Lewis de Mesa. It's a time lapse video shot across the country between January and May of this year.

A project that started in January 2011 and completed May 2011. My goal was simply to look for interesting and unique sceneries around the United Arab Emirates, and capture its beauty by using the technique of MoCo (Motion Control) Time-lapse photography. Winter season plays a big part of my journey, as it's the best time to chase visible fluffy clouds with a true blue sky that only exist to the human eye at this time of the year.

I have traveled approximately 4000kms going around in and out the cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.  Lewis de Mesa

Personally, this video makes me want to go on a road trip. Lewis de Mesa has included all the co-ordinates on his website, so check it out if you want to visit any the spots you see here.