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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.


DIFF at The Pavilion - From Book To Screen

Still from Submarine 

The fourth edition of Dubai International Film Festival's monthly film screenings at The Pavilion will focus on films based on novels.

It's a very good line up this month, I'e watched all three films before and really like each one, s
o I strongly recommend you don't miss this month's screenings. 

Here's the line up: 


Monday, 26th October - Submarine (2010)


Directed by British writer, actor, director and comedian Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), the offbeat Submarine is based on the acclaimed coming of age novel by Joe Dunthorne, but is also exquisitely crafted for film buffs–15-year old Oliver Tate narrates his agonizingly self-conscious antics complete with camera angles.

But the film is far from precious, taking viewers along with the precocious Oliver as he attempts to save his parents’ marriage and lose his virginity, preferably both before his next birthday.


Tuesday, 27th October - Project Nim (2011)


Project Nim is a fascinating documentary based on the biography of a chimpanzee, Nim Chimpsky, who was adopted by a human family in the 1970′s to determine if he could communicate with researchers if he were raised like a human child.

After his wild nature endangered the children of his first human family, Nim was moved to a series of research facilities, touching the lives of all he came across. His journey is a revealing look at both human and chimpanzee society.


Wednesday, 28th October - We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)


Scottish director Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher) crafts an emotional thriller based on the  Orange Prize winning novel by Lionel Shriver. Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (I am Love; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) plays Eva, a career woman turned devoted mother.

Despite disquieting signs throughout their son’s childhood, Eva and her husband Franklin (versatile character actor John C. Reilly of Magnolia and Stepbrothers) find themselves unprepared for a spectacular act of violence he commits as a teenager. As a result, Eva struggles with crippling guilt—could she have foreseen and possibly prevented Kevin’s crime?



Event details
Dates: 26th-28th November at 7.30pm
Venue: The Pavilion Downtown, Dubai Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (location map)
Phone: +971 4 4477025
Free entry and seating is on a first come, first sit basis.   



[image via]


Discover Barcelona on a classic sidecar motorcycle


Barcelona is one of my favourite cities and I just discovered a new and lovely way of discovering it. 

is a company in Barcelona that organises tours around the city in the sidecar of a classic motorcycle.

We're an international set of long time residents, sharing a passion for Barcelona’s lifestyle, heritage and history. Coming from various walks and backgrounds in the city, altogether we’ve earned a legitimate knowledge of what’s really worth your time in Barcelona, what makes it so special, and how to make you fall madly inlove for it, instantly.

So we made it our mission to come up with an original, elegant, comprehensive and truly fun city tour concept – an experience, rather than just a tour. 


I've always wanted to be in a sidecar of a motorcycle and being whisked away on a road trip.  Next time I'm in Barcelona, I'm getting in one of those sidecars. 



Pan Arabia Enquirer 

Pan Arabia Enquirer is a satire news website that's been around since 2010. The site features some very funny articles, which some people fall for thinking it's real, despite the "Mixed News Grill. With Hummous." motto on their site.

It's a much needed site in this part of the world. The humour might not across if you are not from or live in the Middle East, but I guess the site's aim is to connect to people from this region.  

After two years of writing funny articles, Pan Arabia Enquirer has expanded into video format with their own YouTube Channel and they've just released their very first episode. The stories in this episode include: 

  • Saudi Cleric Running Out Of Things To Ban
  • New System For Making Fast Food Orders Via Car Horn
  • World's Most Pointless World Record Broken To Promote Lacklustre Dubai Mall


It is funny. Especially the "Saudi Cleric Running Out Of Things To Ban", which I can't stop laughing at. Watch it now.   



Trailer Tuesday - City of God - 10 Years Later


I found out yesterday it's been 10 years since City of God was released and I thought to myself, "It's been 10 years already?". I also found out yesterday that a documentary called "City of God 10 - Years Later" will be released by the end of this year. 

In 2012 the documentary ‘City of God – 10 Years Later’ by Cavi Borges and Luciano Vidigal shows what has become of the protagonists of the famed movie. The ‘kids’ who portrayed Dadinho, Bené, and Li’l Zé, as well as the actress Alice Braga and musician and actor Seu Jorge talk about how it changed their lives, to the better or not that good, or if it changed anything at all.


Here's an extended trailer and I'm looking forward to watching the whole doumentary when it comes out. 




[Hat tip @simonwparkinson]
[Image via]


Music Monday - PVTLVS

PVTLVS (pronounced as Private Lives) is a band from Los Angeles and currently based in Berlin. PVTLVS consists of Nick Zorn and Vasco Cesaretti have been friends since they took lessons from the same violin teacher at the age of five. 

They've released a song called Last Calls, described as a "synth pop ode to a rough breakup" and will be releasing their debut album (online and as limited press vinyl) this winter.

I came across this song via The Fox Is Black who wrote the song reminds him of a "more exciting version of The xx". I found parts of the song reminds me of The National. Quite a melancholic song. The line "I am only a part of you / If you will let me " is wrought with heartache.   



Buy and download Last Calls from here




QUOZ on 10th November 2012

On Saturday, 10th November, all the galleries situated in Al Quoz (an industrial part of Dubai) will take part in a one day event called QUOZ which invites anyone interested in arts and culture to explore the 30 creative spaces within the area.  

There will be a wide range of free events and activities including talks, panel discussions, guided tours, workshops for adults and children, film screenings and performances. It will take place from 10am till 10pm (galleries will close at 8pm) and everybody is welcome. 

It's an opportunity for the community to meet gallerists, some of their artists and learn about the process behind the art creation and curating.

Al Quoz is a bit of a mystery to people that aren't familiar with the art and culture community in Dubai. I know people who always get lost trying to find their way there, or who think it's full of pretentious art crowd (which on some nights it is). But I hope QUOZ will attract new visitors and dispell the mystery of the place. 

The complete list of galleries, line up of events and map can be found on QUOZ's Facebook page. Don't be fooled by the map though, some of the venues are not within walking distance. There will be an ArtBus doing regular rounds, so you can hop on/off whenever you want. Just make sure you read the details on QUOZ's Facebook page. 

I am really looking forward to this event and here's my list of galleries and events I recommed you don't miss. I just hope there will public seating areas to rest between all the gallery hopping. 


Galleries within Al Serkal Avenue

Iris was a Pupil - James Clar  

Waves by James Clar
James Clar
is a media artist who used to be based in Dubai. He is now living in New York, but he will be in Dubai for his solo exhibition in Carbon 12. Between 3-6pm he will be in the gallery to meet visitors to talk about his work in Iris was a Pupil which is about 'the sensation of visual stimuli, the constant challenge of finding new viewpoints, and the demand to keep seeing things from fresh perspectives'. Read more about the exhibition here


Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, is Purely Coincidental - Zoulikha Bouabdellah 

Zoulikha Bouabdellah's work explores the rift between public and private, the visible and the unspoken. For this show, she reflects on reality through the guise of fiction, with film, works on paper, installation and sculpture. The show is named after the illuminated billboard work that welcomes, warns and appeases the audience upon entry with the words ‘Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, is Purely Coincidental.’ Between 3-6pm, Gallery director Tessa de Caters will walk you through the exhibition and explain the work. Read more about the exhibition here


A Permanent Record For Future Investigation - Nazgol Ansarinia, Talia Chetrit, ImanIssa, Mehreen Murtaza and Hajra Waheed 

Mehreen Murtaza, The Ethopian Emperor arrives in Jerusalem Taken either by the American Colony Photo Department or its successor, the Matson Photo Service, 2012, Hahnemühle Matte Cotton Smooth Inkjet Paper, 15.24 x 20.32 cm

The artists included in this exhibition take on the history of image-making and the notion of the image as historical document. They challenge our understanding of the image as truth through an investigation of form and a conjuring of a variety of historical references. For these artists, the meaning of objects and spaces are dependent on the context in which they exist.

The idea of truth or reality in an image is assumed to be subjective and malleable. The lines between documentation and fiction are blurred; narratives are not linear and archives do not follow rules of logic. Read more about the exhibition here

Between 3-6 pm, there will be a guided tour with gallery director Yasmin Atassi. 


House of Cards – Danilo Correale, Julian Göthe, Niklas Goldbach and Judith Hopf 

The idiomatic phrase 'house of cards' can be traced back to its first use by poet John Milton in 1641, already reflecting on the structural defects within systems built on a shaky foundation and held together only in an insubstantial and fragile manner.

Little has changed in today’s meaning of the metaphor, though within the neoliberal era the complex global interdependence of systems and their balances of power have taken on a new dimension of inherent instability. For what applies to the card game applies even more to the structural and socio-political levels within systems: The taller the house of cards, the bigger the fall.

The exhibition House of Cards aims to explore heterogeneous artistic examinations and gestures towards this given fragility. The selected works by Danilo Correale, Julian Göthe, Niklas Goldbach and Judith Hopf decidedly reflect on current political, economic, cultural or gender-related conditions using various mediums such as sculpture, print, video or photography. 

Read more about the exhibition here


Vivid Dreams and Fragile Machines  - Brooke Shaden 

Each photo in this series of photographs by Brooke Shaden expresses its own narrative, describing a curious world where dreams and nightmares merge.  Each image peers into the lives of characters that the viewer will find both intriguing and bizarre.  

Taking advantage of your imagination, Shaden leads you down a rabbit hole where vast landscapes and rich hues barely contain larger than life protagonists who appear to be both troubled and freed.  

Read more about the exhibition here




Collision - Moataz Nasr 

Moataz Nasr - Merge and Emerge, 2011 Three Video channels 6'25'' ciascuno, loop
Moataz Nasr
's work explores the fragility and complexity of current social, economic and political conditions. Taking as his starting point the surroundings of his native Egypt, he translates his observations into the universal language of human despair and suffering - but also of love and hope.

His art is, on the one hand, lyrical and playful and on the other a daring account of the debilitating suffering of everyday life. Read more about this exhibition here.  


IRAN: RPM Vol. 1  - Ali Bahktiari   

I am looking forward to this the most. There will be talk about IRAN: RPM Vol. I, a book that rescues from obscurity a selection of vinyl covers from the soundtracks of Iranian films, 1965-1974.

The book is compiled by Ali Bakhtiari and focuses on specific vinyl covers that were designed for Iranian movie soundtracks. The talk will take place from 4.30-5.30pm and you could get a signed copy of the book after the talk. I really hope we get to hear some of the music as well. More information about the book can be found here.  


Build Re-Build - Hazem Harb 

Hazem Harb's work deals with a number of core themes including war, loss, trauma, human vulnerability and global instability. 

He continues to explore his own brand of multi-media, conceptual art using all the tools at his disposal. 

Between 3-6pm, you can meet the artist Hazem Harb who will discuss his post-residency exhibition ‘Build Re-Build'.




3 Act CircusAmal   








Dubai International Film Festival will be hosting an exhibition called Inkblot at Shelter and between 5-7pm film, they will screen two films:  

Additionally, there will be a pop up bookshop by Art Dubai and Jashanmal Bookstores featuring a selection of art publications including artist's books, monographs and magazines. 


Beyond Rhythm - Francesca Galliani  

Artist Francesca Galliani will be signing copies of her book ‘The Inside of Angola’ between 2-4pm alongside her exhibition ‘Beyond Rhythm’.  

Here's an interview with the artist about the exhibition





At 7.30pm, The Fridge will host a live musical performance by Tacit, Dubai’s new electronic duo Aeron Kin and Yasser Anderson who will 'break down the conventions of traditional sonic boundaries'.




Galleries around Al Quoz:

Extimacy -  Hayv Kahraman 
Learning by Heart – Arwa Abouon  

Hayv Kahraman, Disembodied 6, 2012, Oil on panel with rawhide inlay and polycarbonate, 244 x 117 cm

Hayv Kahraman's latest exhibition at The Third Line tackles the complex relationships between gender and identity constructs; geopolitical and physiological boundaries; and, the perception of self vis-à-vis the demands of conformity within society. Read more about the exhibition here.

A second exhibition in the same gallery, Learning by Heart by Awra Abouon explores the artist’s own private journey in matters of spirituality, personal dynamics and human nature’s quest towards understanding faith. Read more about the exhibition here.

There will be a guided tour between 3-6 pm for both exhibitions. Hayv Kahraman is one of my favourite artists, so I strongly recommend you check out her latest exhibition.

Arwa Abouon, I'm Sorry / I Forgive You (Diptych), Digital prints and Graphically Ornamented frame, 101.6 x 76.2 inches each 

Graffiti Art from the Streets of San Francisco 

'From the Streets of San Francisco: Graffiti art of the City' is an exhibition depicting the culture of street art. 

The Cartoon Art Gallery will also be hosting a lecture and a workshop from 12-2 pm. Visual FX and Animation instructor Morris Mozingo will present a lecture on the ‘History of Animation’ followed by an animation technique workshop.

pre-titled  - Walid Al Wawi 

Walid Al Wawi is thejamjar's latest artist in residence. He has embraced the space with words, creating an ephemeral experience. Read more about this exhibition here

Additionally, between 10-2 pm, people of all ages are invited to drop by thejamjar and contribute to the creation of ‘Looking Through’, a public art mural.



Carrara and more - Bertram Kober 

J+A Design Gallery will be hosting Bertram Kober's Carrara and more and the photographer, who is also a 2011 Venice Biennial winner will be present between 12-2pm to meet visitors and to talk about his work.


The Courtyard

The Courtyard is the first gallery/community space that opened in Al Quoz in 1998. It's a lovely complex which gets overlooked. Do step inside, and enjoy this quirky pastel coloured building. In addition to a few galleries that can be found there, you can also enjoy the weekly farmer's market between 11am and 1pm organised by Ripe



So there you have it, that's my list. To keep up to date with the latest updates and news, do follow QUOZ on Facebook ( and Twitter (@QUOZhappens). I must say the Twitter account just keeps tweeting the dates and posting images of the map and the programme and not really engaging effectively with its followers. That might change closer to the date, but for now, I find the Facebook account more useful. 


Spread the word and hope to see you at QUOZ. 



[Images and exhibition information via the various gallery websites.]


Happy Halloween

Wisihing you a Happy Halloween. It isn't a holiday I celebrate, but for the first time in my life I came across a carved pumpkin when I was in Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago (expect a blogpost about that trip soon). 

I've always seen carved pumpkins in movies, so I had to pause and photograph it and today's the perfect excuse to share with you.

Monuments by Diego Contreras


Monuments by Diego Contreras is a very short clip of Dubai that was shot in less than 24 hours. 

'Monuments' was shot in Dubai, UAE while on location to produce a commercial for Umbro this past summer. The place is known for its towering monuments in the sand, but its really when you stray away from downtown that you get to absorb the interesting culture and its color.



There are  some scenes that were shot in Abu Dhabi (Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Ferrari World), but the rest of it is in Dubai. It's interesting that Contreras refers to the old central parts of Dubai like Deira and the creek as the part of Dubai that's 'away from downtown'. It makes me wonder if the parts of Dubai with the 'towering monuments' are thought of as 'downtown/central' Dubai by people who are not familiar with the city.

I guess it doesn't help when we have a campaign like Downtown Dubai - The Centre of Now which is currently running on TV and and online. The commercial is promoting some of Emaar's flagship properties which includes Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and The Dubai Fountain and tries to give the impression that this is 'downtown Dubai'. The description on their YouTube channel goes as far as to describe it as 'the new heart of the city'.

With the continuous development and construction happening in this city, I am worried we are being persuaded to forget the old part of the city and its heart and soul. Old is not gold in this part of the world. 



Trailer Tuesday - Jiro Dreams of Sushi


I have been hearing great reviews about Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The trailer makes me hungry, it makes me want to go back to Tokyo. And when I do, I hope to get a chance to visit Sukiyabashi Jiro. 

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and as a loving yet complicated father.



Music Monday - Peter Gabriel 


Peter Gabriel's album So turns 25 this month and on 22nd October a special 25th anniversary remastered version of So was released.  

To join the 25th anniversary celebrations (and feel old at the same time), here are my favourite songs from the album, plus a couple from different albums.



Red Rain  






Don't Give Up  



Big Time  


Mercy Street  


In Your Eyes   




Not from the original So but included in the 2-disc 'Live In Athens 1987':

Solsbury Hill  



Games Without Frontiers*   



* Confession: 30 year old mystery solved. I FINALLY know the lyrics to the chorus in Peter Gabriel's Games Without Frontiers. It's "Jeux sans frontières". All this time I just hummed along because I couldn't figure out the words. Anyone else faced this or am I the only one who didn't know?