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Tea with Culture

Podcast featuring discussions and interviews about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Entries in Abu Dhabi (77)


Cinema at The Space - August 2016

This month's edition of Cinema at The Space pays tribute to Abbas Kiarostami who passed away last month. Six of his films are included in this month's line up, amongst other classics. Leviathan and In a Lonely Place are highly recommended too.  This is a great opportunity to watch his films if you've not had a chance before.

The screenings take place at Cinema at The Space in Abu Dhabi (twofour54 Park Rotana Building) and free to attend, but you must RSVP in advance. Click on any of the images below for more details.


Monday, 1st August


Wednesday, 3rd August


Saturday, 6th August


Monday, 8th August


Wednesday, 10th August


Saturday, 13th August


Monday, 15th August


Wednesday, 17th August


Saturday, 20th August


Monday, 22nd August


Wednesday, 24th August



Saturday, 27th August


Monday, 29th August


Wednesday, 31st August


Cinema at the Space - July 2016

Here's the line up of films screening at Cinema at The Space this month. The screenings are free to attend, but you must RSVP in advance.


Saturday, 2nd July 2016


Monday, 4th July 2016


Saturday, 9th July 2016


Monday, 11th July 2016


Wednesday, 13th July 2016


Saturday, 16th July 2016

Monday, 18th July 2016


Wednesday, 20th July 2016


Saturday, 23rd July 2016


Monday, 25th July 2016


Wednesday, 27th July 2016


Saturday, 30th July 2016



La Fête du Cinéma at The Space, Abu Dhabi


The Institut Français in Abu Dhabi is hosting La Fête du Cinéma at The Space between 23rd and 30th June. There will be five French language films with English subtitles screened during that week, all free to attend.

Here's the schedule:

Thursday, 23rd June 2016 at 8.00pm

The 400 Blows
Director: Francois Truffaut
1959 | 99 mins | French | English Subtitles | G

13-year-old Antoine (Jean-Pierre Léaud) can't seem to do anything right. His dysfunctional parents yell at him, his spiteful schoolteacher picks on him and luck just never goes his way. Despite his efforts at patience, one day it all becomes too much and Antoine throws in the towel, choosing to take his chances on the Paris streets. At times joyous and at others bitterly hard, his new life brings a newfound freedom - one that Antoine will follow up to its painful, poignant and beautiful conclusion.

Francois Truffaut's first feature film and arguably the starting point of the Nouvelle Vague, 'The 400 Blows' is a true landmark in French cinema. Raw, honest and intensely emotional, it captures youth in startlingly vivid detail and holds a mesmerising, unflinching mirror up to life itself.


Saturday, 25th June 2016 at 3.00pm

Les parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Director: Jacques Demy
1964 | 92 mins | French | English Subtitles | G

An angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve was launched to stardom by this dazzling musical heart-tugger from Jacques Demy. She plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a handsome garage mechanic, played by Nino Castelnuovo.

When the boy is shipped off to fight in Algeria, the two lovers must grow up quickly. Exquisitely designed in a kaleidoscope of colors, and told entirely through the lilting songs of the great composer Michel Legrand, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the most revered and unorthodox movie musicals of all time.


Saturday, 25th June 2016 at 8.00pm 

Pierrot le Fou
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
1965 | France | 110 mins | French | English Subtitles | 15+

Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Anna Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: genius auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s 10th feature in six years is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, “the last romantic couple.”

With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French New Wave, and was Godard’s last frolic before he moved ever further into radical cinema.



Monday, 27th June 2016 at 8.00pm

Le Havre
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
2011 | 93 mins | French | English Subtitles | G



In this warmhearted comic yarn from Aki Kaurismäki, fate throws the young African refugee Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) into the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a kindly old bohemian who shines shoes for a living in the French harbor city Le Havre.

With inborn optimism and the support of his tight-knit community, Marcel stands up to the officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation. A political fairy tale that exists somewhere between the reality of contemporary France and the classic French cinema of the past, Le Havre is a charming, deadpan delight and one of the Finnish director’s finest films.



Thursday, 30th June 2016 at 8.00pm

La Cérémonie
Directed by Claude Chabrol
1996 | 112 mins | French | English Subtitles | 15+

Adapted from Ruth Rendell's classic best seller, Claude Chabrol earns his 'French Hitchcock' tag with one of his most shocking and unforgettable films. Sophie, an introverted and illiterate young woman, is hired as a maid by the burgeous Lelievre family - Catherine (Jacqueline Bisset), Georges and their children - to work on the manor they live in the contryside of France.

They are generous and kind to Sophie, but their genuine attempts to help her are taken as offensive by the young girl. In the meantime, Sophie befriends the postmistress Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert) who has a disturbed history and manipulates the maid against the Lelievre's.


Cinema at the Space - May 2016

Cinema at The Space continues to screen this month in the same venue, at The Space in Abu Dhabi (twofour54 Park Rotana Building) - contrary to what I wrote last month saying it will move to a new location. The screenings are free to attend, but you must RSVP in advance.

There's a good line up of films this month, a lot of must sees and personal favourites. Click on each image below for more details.



Monday, 2nd May


Wednesday, 4th May


Saturday, 7th May


Monday, 9th May


Wednesday, 11th May


Saturday, 14th May


Monday, 16th May


Wednesday, 18th May


Saturday, 21st May


Monday, 23rd May


Wednesday, 25th May


Saturday, 28th May


Monday, 30th May


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






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.


Cinema at the Space - March 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.

Here's the line up, you can click on the images below to read more/RSVP.

Wednesday, 2nd March

Saturday, 5th March

Monday, 7th March

Wednesday, 9th March

Saturday, 12th March

Monday, 14th March

Wednesday, 16th March

Saturday, 19th March

Monday, 21st March

Wednesday, 23rd March

Saturday, 26th March

Monday, 28th March

Wednesday, 30th March


Warehouse421 - Wednesdays at the Warehouse - March 2016

Here's the line up of events happening this month at Warehouse421. It includes talks and workshops, plus the screening of Theeb. Theeb will also be screening this week at VOX Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi and I strongly recommend you actually watch it in the cinema. It's worth it.



Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

Panel talk: Abu Dhabi Then and Now: Sharing Oral Histories and Photographs
6.30pm - 8.00pm

Abu Dhabi, a small coastal town just fifty years ago, has emerged as a leading global city with remarkable speed.  This phenomenal development is the topic of an insightful conversation among citizens and long-time residences who photographed and remember the transformation. Join us for an evening dedicated to considering Abu Dhabi, then and now. 

Dr. Frauke Heard-Bay, Historian
Nick, Cochrane-Dyet, British Petroleum
Dr. Aisha Bilkhair Abdulla, National Archives
Jack Burlot, Photographer

Moderated by: Dr. Michele Bambling

In collaboration with Lest We Forget



Wednesday, 16th March 2016

Workshop: Sand Formations - Material Casting
5.30pm - 7.30pm

Observing the behavior of materials found in the UAE’s natural environment and how their transformative qualities can be adapted into new forms, participants will be engaged in a process of mold-making and casting, such as turning grains of sand into 3-dimensional surfaces.

Talin Hazbar, Designer 
Alumni, the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship

In collaboration with SEAF



Film screenings - 7.30pm - 9.30pm

The Neighbor

Directed by Nayla Al Khaja
UAE | PG 15 | Drama | 14 minutes | 2014

Sarah moves to Dubai to make a fresh start, leaving behind a tragedy that has scarred her for life. Her interactions with an elderly neighbor force her out of isolation, and she slowly confronts the torment of her past. Little by little, she opens her heart until one careless act threatens to destroy the bond between these two unlikely acquaintances.



Directed by Naji Abu Nawar
Jordan, UAE, UK, Qatar | PG | Drama, Adventure | 100 minutes | 2014

In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.




Photo Review of NYUAD Art Gallery's first Art History Party: THE FACTORY

NYUAD Art Gallery threw its first "Art History Time Machine" party last week. The theme was "The Factory", an ode to Andy Warhol's Factory where he hosted his friends and produced some of most iconic artworks.

Part of the gallery was covered in tin foil paper and we all tried to channel the spirirt of Warhol's Factory at the party. There was a good turnout, mostly NYU Abu Dhabi students and faculty members. I went with a couple of friends and had a good laugh.


We wore silly wigs and posed in front of Polaroid cameras.


Some of the attendees watched Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.


There was music and people were able to record their own "Screen Tests".


We also saw a ladder, Brillo boxes, bananas, lamps, coloured lights and billowing silver curtains.



It was a fun night and looking forward to the next party and theme later this year. 

All photos © Hind Mezaina. 


NYUAD Art Gallery presents The Art History Time Machine: THE FACTORY

NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery announced its first Art History Time Machine party
where visitors get to "reimagine historical art communities around the world, and reflect on the future of our own developing art communities in Abu Dhabi".

The launch event on Tuesday, 2nd February will recreate Andy Warhol’s famous studio "The Factory", a one-night event which will embody the artistic spirit of 1970s New York.

Guests will travel through time at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery into a reimagined version of the world where Warhol produced his iconic artworks.

Nights at The Factory hosted a vibrant community of artists, musicians, actors, and free thinkers whom Warhol called “Superstars” – including stars Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Truman Capote. 

Visitors will have the chance to imagine their own Abu Dhabi version of an art world scene, to create their own “Superstar” character and have their Warhol-inspired Screen Tests taken.


Imagining the Factory in the Gallery (photo: Alaa Edris)

I love the sound of this and can't wait to see it for myself. According to Maya Allison, founding Director of the Art Gallery at New York University Abu Dhabi, and Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi, "The gallery’s public programme aims to bring the university into dialogue with local communities with engaging events that celebrate iconic moments of creativity and cultural development."


The Art History Time Machine: THE FACTORY will take place on Tuesday, 2nd February at NYUAD's Art Gallery. New York style hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, and bananas will be on offer, while Jonny Farrow, an artist and instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi, will provide a time-travelling soundtrack to the party.

RSVP here. Directions to get to NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery can be found here.



NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center - Performances in February 2016 


The NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center was on a break in January, but ready to go in February. Here's the line up of acts coming next month. It's quite a varied mix of acts, 'cinematic pop', hip hop, dance performance and Balkan brass. Should be quite a month.

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Rotana Tarabzouni, a Saudi singer and songwriter currently living in Los Angeles to pursue her music career. Here's a recent interview with her on BBC.


Desert Storm - Featuring Narcy, Sons of Yusuf, Rotana Tarabzouni
When: Wednesday, 3rd February 2016, 8pm
Where: East Plaza, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Desert Storm, curated by Noor al Suwaidi, promotes musical talent from the Middle East who are breaking stereotypes, bridging cultural understanding and empowering men and women from the region.

  • Rotana Tarabzouni, a Los Angeles-based Saudi artist and songwriter, describes her music as alternative/cinematic pop.
  • Sons of Yusuf, featuring Kuwaiti brothers Ya’koob and Humble Abdul, blend hip-hop culture with an Arabic twist.
  • Narcy (aka Yassin Al Salman), born in Dubai to parents from Basra, Iraq, and raised between the UAE and Canada, uses hip-hop to explore issues including history of art, identity, religion, colonialism, and race.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available for online reservation on 20th January 2016 at 3.00pm (UAE time).



Aakash Odera Company - Murmur 2.0 (World Premiere)
When: 10th and 11th February 2016, 8pm
Where: Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi 

The acclaimed UK-based dancer Aakash Odedra explores his own childhood struggles with learning disabilities through a nexus of light, sound, design and movement.

Odedra creates work that is visually beautiful, heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and full of drama and movement. Murmur 2.0 explores Aakash’s battles with dyslexia and how the world around him responded to his perceived disability.

Diagnosed at a young age, Aakash found conventional education at school very challenging. He felt defined by his learning difficulties, but not his abilities. As written language was so alien, dance became his preferred mode of expression. In this groundbreaking piece, he uses his own childhood struggles with learning disabilities as a springboard into a deep and meaningful investigation of warped and exaggerated realities.

Set to an evocative score by Nicki Wells, Murmur 2.0 reveals the tension that exists between the rational world that we live in and the richness of our imagination. This collaboration between Odedra, Australian choreographer Lewis Major, and Ars Electronica Futurelab of Linz, Austria, explores how the misconceptions of dyslexia can be revealed through visual design, light, sound, and movement. 

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available for online reservation here on 27th January at 3 pm (UAE time).



Fanfare Ciocarlia - The World Shaking 20th Anniversary Tour | UAE Debut

When: 28th February 2016, 8pm
Where: East Plaza, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi

Emerging two decades ago from an isolated village in rural Romania, the unstoppable Fanfare Ciocarlia have become a global phenomenon, revolutionizing brass music and influencing artists in genres from world to classical to rock to jazz.

Fanfare Ciocarlia’s unmistakable sound, their unique repertoire and techniques, have enriched the world music scene while also influencing classical music, EDM, rock and jazz.

Why are Fanfare Cicocarlia beloved across the world? Because they never fail to deliver the wildest parties, the phattest Balkan beats and and the deepest Gypsy soul. Making a special stop in Abu Dhabi on the 20th anniversary world tour they’re calling Onward to Mars!, the band’s legendary “wall of sound” will shake the walls of NYU Abu Dhabi and bring the crowd to its feet.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available for online reservation here on 10th February at 3 pm (UAE time).