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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.


Entries in Dubai (372)


Cinema Akil - Outbox Short Film Festival - 16-18 & 20-22 March 2015


The Cinema Akil Outbox Short Film Festival is a collaboration with Beirut-based Outbox International Short Film Festival. The festival will take place during the Dubai Art Week from 16th-18th March and from 20th-22nd March 2015 in Alserkal Avenue. 

The theme of the festival is "Space Under Construction".

The festival will reflect on the ideas of building, construction, reassessment, consideration, intervention and transformation and change – concepts the surrounding space across the MENA region is grappling with.

The theme also reflects the state of Cinema Akil which is still under construction. The film festival will take place in a special pop-up style set up inside the home of Cinema Akil - which I am looking forward to seeing and visiting when ready.  

The screenings are free. Here's the trailer for the festival. Below it is the schedule and list of films, which you can also find on



Program 1: Construction / Space vs Individual
16 + 20 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) & 22 March (1-3pm)

Rhino Full Throttle
Directed by: Erik Schmitt | Year: 2013 | Duration: 15’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: German (English subtitles) | Country of Production: Germany

Tom Thumb (Pollicino)
Directed by: Cristiano Anania | Year: 2011 | Duration: 8’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: none | Country of Production: Italy

Studio Beirut 
Directed by: Mokhtar Beyrouth | Year: 2013 | Duration: 14’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: Arabic (english subtitles) | Country of Production: Lebanon

Dig A Hole in My Soil 
Directed by: Elizabeth Wurst | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Documentary | Language: none | Country of Production: Peru/Germany 

Directed by: Nicolai Troshinsky | Year: 2013 | Duration: 4’ | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Spain

Yala To the Moon (Yala Al Amar)
Directed by: Jackie Salloum & Suhel Nafar | Year: 2012 | Duration: 7’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: Arabic (english subtitles) | Country of Production: Palestine 

Second Wind
Directed by: Sergey Tsyss | Year: 2012 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: none | Country of Production: Russia 

The House 
Directed by: David Buob | Year: 2011 | Duration: 6.5’ | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Germany 

Directed by: Juan Pablo Zaramella | Year: 2011 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Fiction (stop motion) | Language: none | Country of Production: Argentina 

The Solitary Life of Cranes
Directed by: Eva Weber | Year: 2008 | Duration: 27’ | Genre: Documentary (live action) | Language: English | Country of Production: United Kingdom 

Mirrors of Silence (Maraya Al Samt)
Directed by: Nawaf Al Janahi | Year: 2006 | Duration: 20’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: no language | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates


Program 2: Construction / Space for Power
17 + 21 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) & 22 March (3-5pm)

Oru Buros
Directed by: Anton Brand, Guillaume Klein, Charlotte Quillet, Raphaël Théolade | Year: 2012 | Duration: 5' | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: France

Directed by: Pablo Millan | Year: 2010 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Experimental (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Spain

Construction Assault (突击建房 Bauangriff)
Directed by: Laura Engelhardt | Year: 2014 | Duration: 7' | 
Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: German (English SUB) | Country of Production: Germany

Model Village
Directed by: Hayoun Kwon | Year: 2014 | Duration: 10' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: Korean (English SUB) | Country of Production: South Korea

Sleight of Hand
Directed by: Michael Cusack | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9.5' | Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Australia

Directed by: Maureen Zalloum | Year: 2013 | Duration: 8' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: none | Country of Production: United Kingdom

Directed by: Dairo Cervantes | Year: 2013 | Duration: 16' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Colombia

Directed by: Frédéric Doazan | Year: 2013 | Duration: 2'' | 
Genre: Experimental - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: France

The Rope
Directed by: Hiba Tawaji | Year: 2013 | Duration: 20' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: Arabic (English SUB) | Country of Production: Lebanon

Directed by: Ali Mustafa | Year: 2014 | Duration: 14' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: Arabic and English (English SUB) | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates

Reality 2.0
Directed by: Victor Orozco Ramirez | Year: 2013 | Duration: 11' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: Spanish (English SUB) | Country of Production: Mexico/Germany

Directed by: Tien-Yu Miao | Year: 2012 | Duration: 6.5' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: Taiwan

Rather Be A Stranger
Directed by: Ryan Wilson | Year: 2014 | Duration: 7' | 
Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: English | Country of Production: Lebanon

Choir Tour
Directed by: Edmunds Jansons | Year: 2012 | Duration: 5' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: Latvia



Program 3: Construction / Space as Spectacle
18 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) + 22 March (5-7pm & 7-9pm)

Directed by: Rob Carter | Year: 2008 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: United States 

The Tallest
Directed by: Courtesy Rebecca Ann Tess and Figge von Rosen Galerie | Year: 2014 | Duration: 14’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: English | Country of Production: Germany

Night Lights
Directed by: Tatiana Moshkova, Marina Moshkova | Year: 2013 | Duration: 1’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: None | Country of Production: Russia

The Model (Das Modell)
Directed by: Florian Gwinner | Year: 2006 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Germany

Jebel Ali
Directed by: Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton | Year: 2014 | Duration: 11’ | Genre: Documentary - Video Art | Language: none | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates / Germany

Directed by: Jonathan Gales | Year: 2012 | Duration: 4’ | Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: United Kingdom

Directed by: Igor Imhoff | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: none | Country of Production: Italy

Last Day of the Republic (Letzter Tag der Republik)
Directed by: Reynold Reynolds | Year: 2010 | Duration: 8’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: German (English SUB) | Country of Production: Germany

Fog and Smoke
Directed by: Jeamin Cha | Year: 2012 | Duration: 20’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: Korean (English SUB) | Country of Production: South Korea

Nijuman No Borei (200,000 Phantoms)
Directed by: Jean-Gabriel Périot | Year: 2007 | Duration: 10.5’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: English | Country of Production: France

Directed by: TareCk Raffoul | Year: 2013 | Duration: 10’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: Portugese (English SUB) | Country of Production: Portugal

Hanasaari A
Directed by: Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen | Year: 2009 | Duration: 15’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: None | Country of Production: Finland



Event details
Date: 16th - 18th March and 20th - 22nd March 2015
Venue: Warehouse G58, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai 
Free entry. 



Exhibition - Surveillance.02 at East Wing 

Still from Edmund Clark's 'Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann'd'


A new photography exhibition titled Surveillance.02 will open at East Wing on Thursday, 12th Marh 2015 and will go on till Thursday, 30th April 2015.

Curated by Anna Van Lenten and Liza Faktor, the exhibition features work by Massimo BerrutiAdam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Edmund Clark (new work created for Surveillance.02), Yann Mingard, Jenny Odell and Tomas van Houtryve

Surveillance.02, an exhibition of interdisciplinary artists whose practices incorporate camera, satellite, and drone to question corporate and state surveillance, and energy production.

Fueled by curiosity, anger, and humor, these nervy artists are exploring wide-ranging methods and effects of surveillance, and remixing their findings as commentary.

In particular, they are grappling with the human side of the global war on terror, exposing humanity’s permanent wounding of the environment, and engaging with state systems of power and control. At the center of the tensions and anxieties they pursue are the major tangles of convenience and privacy, individual and type, freedom and security.


There will be a talk with the curators on Saturday, 14th March at 2pm, they will discuss their curatorial research and their ongoing discoveries into how artists are using the tools of surveillance technology in their arts practice.  

There will also be a film screening on Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm, World Brain by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon (trailer and synopsis added below). 


I am VERY excited about this. The exhibition features some of my favourite work by some of my favourite photographers (Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin and Yann Mingard) and can't wait to see Edmund Clark's audio visual piece and watch the movie World Brain. 

The theme of the exhibition is very topical and looking forward to seeing work that will engage us and make us pause and  think about the role of surveillance in our everyday lives and what we take for granted. 


Here are some of the works. If you are in Dubai, don't miss this. 


Massimo Berruti - Hidden Wounds 

Massimo Berruti / AgenceVU, from HiddenWounds

Hidden Wounds is an ongoing portrait series of people in North Waziristan who have been affected by drone strike events; some have been injured, others have lost family members. Like a pebble dropped into water, their physical wounds and psychological trauma ripple outward in rings of collateral damage.

Two such effects are the phobias induced by the violence of the attacks, and the drugs some consume in order to balance the strikes' destabilizing aftermath. Access to North Waziristan is forbidden for journalists—especially foreigners—so for victims afraid of being traced by secret services, Berruti photographs in the places he uses for accommodation.


Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin - Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, The Revolutionary, Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen, 2013

To make the portraits in their project, Broomberg & Chanarin co-opted a four-lens, facial recognition camera developed in Russia for public security or border control. The camera “creates” a seamless face out of many discrete takes. The artists’ concern is that people don’t agree to be photographed in the situations the camera is meant for: crowded train stations, demonstrations, stadiums—any public gathering. Thus, the results come off as evasive—potentially as not in compliance with the state-civil contract. Indeed, Russia has green-lighted using such imagery in court as evidence, akin to a fingerprint. 

In choosing their subjects and their approach, Broomberg & Chanarin invoked two streams of inspiration: first, they categorized their sitters according to basic social types that artist August Sander identified in his comprehensive photographic survey of German society over the first half of the 20th Century. Thus, they have a rebel, a baker, a philosopher, among other “types”.

Second, the artists modeled their photos on Helmar Lerski’s non-heroic portraits, also categorized by profession. Like Lerski, they shot multiple views of one face, from different viewpoints, conveying claustrophobia and the impossibility of concluding anything substantial about the individual person under the skin.


Edmund Clark - Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann’d 

Still from Edmund Clark's 'Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann'd'

Virtue Unmann’d is a new work created for Suveillance.02. It is an audiovisual installation piece that explores traditions of virtue and sacrifice in war in the context of a contemporary battlefield: drone strikes on tribal areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan.

Clark bases Virtue UnMann’d on research he conducted in Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. On those trips, Clark collaborated with Pakistani artists, met with people from Waziristan who have been directly affected by drone strikes, sourced and created imagery of drones, and filmed the recitation of an ode written by the ancient Roman poet Horace and translated from Latin into Pashto. 


Yann Mingard - Deposit 


Deposit is a photographic project about western civilization’s preoccupation with conserving and guarding organic and digital elements of its culture. From 2009 to 2013, Mingard documented the physical locations and methods with which we collect and archive data: human DNA in the form of slivers of umbilical cord, dental samples, and sperm; DNA of animals extinct in the wild; the seeds of agricultural plants; and, of course, the vast quantities of digital data that we generate, traveling the pathways of the Internet.

Currently, under governmental and private surveillance, “banks” are being built to house stem cells, and blood, sperm, and umbilical cord samples. The means of conservation and research have evolved tremendously. Mingard identifies computers and the Internet as catalysts for this evolution: because of their ubiquity, they are prompting new levels of secrecy and security. For instance, sensitive files created by governments and multinationals are stored in former military bunkers and watched by private guards. Viewed in this context, Yann’s photos point to a bizarre, theatrical, and at times absurd aspect to all this guarding.


Jenny Odell - Land Marks 

In Land Marks, Jenny Odell illuminates the ways that energy production sites scar and indelibly mark the surfaces of the earth. Comprising satellite images of four production and nuclear waste sites, Land Marks erases "the ground" or the natural settings around what constitutes the site in order to better understand the impact of mining, excavation, plutonium production, waste storage, and fracking. For example, with “Athabasca Oil Sands,” she has removed the boreal forest that surrounds the tailings ponds and excavated areas that make up the mine. In the case of “Fracking Patterns in Central Colorado,” Odell has cleared the wooded area around the trails and open areas that have been dug.

Odell’s aim is to reveal everything that counts as the mine/site—excavated areas, trails, roads, cars, buildings, waste ponds—by removing everything else. In doing so she isolates the structure and makes it more legible as a system. The resulting faint etchings are each an ode to systems, a clearly-distinguished, sprawling circuitry of byways, of bulbed and squared-off cul-de-sacs, of delicate threads akin either to neural ganglia in the brain, or architectural blueprints. One has the impression of deep intelligence and colossal waste at the same time.


Tomas van Houtryve - Blue Sky Days 

To gain insight into how our society increasingly uses drones, van Houtryve attached his camera to a modified unmanned aircraft, and flew it over America's drone heartland. Via the pixelated video feed of a drone ground station, van Houtryve was able to cast his gaze upon people and places as never before. As well as the eerie beauty of landscapes and the visual spoils of previously inaccessible locations, he found jarring echoes of scenarios that U.S. military drones spy on and target for killings.




Film screening on Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm. Free entry, but you need to book, send an email to

World Brain by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon (90 mins)

World Brain is a film and an essay. It takes the viewer through a journey inside the physical places by which the Internet transits: submarine cables, data centers, and satellites. The film adopts the point of view of the data. The audience view the world as if they were information, crossing the planet in an instant, copied in an infinite number of instances or, at the contrary, stored in secret places. Parallel to this exploration is an enquiry on the utopias and the ideologies linked to the emergence of a collective mind and the hypothesis of a global brain.



Exhibition details: 
Thursday, 12th March Opening 7-10pm
Saturday, 14th March - Thursday, 30th April -  Gallery hours: Sat-Thu 10:00am – 3:00pm | 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Saturday, 14th March at 2pm - talk with the curators, Anna Van Lenten and Liza Faktor. Register here.

Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm - film screening World Brain. Register here.

Venue: East Wing, Limestone House # 12, Dubai International Financial Centre (Ritz Carlton Annex), Dubai (location map)  



InVisible - AFAC's Public Art Commission in Dubai 

AFAC’s Public Art Commission “InVisible” was unveiled on November 29th, 2014 in the Shindagha Heritage Village in Dubai featuring work by five visual artists from across the Middle East region. The work will be on display till the end of March 2015. 

Curated by Amanda Abi Khalil, founder of Temporary Art Platform, InVisible questions the "meaning of public art in relation to the Gulf cities in general and to Dubai in particular and invites the public to "intriguing perspectives on the themes of monumentality, permanence, transience and urbanization". 

We came up with the theme “InVisible” given the intangibility, and yet, the omnipresence, of culture. As we are constantly trying to make the case for the importance of arts and culture in today’s Arab society, we often find ourselves straining to articulate the impact of culture upon our lives. 
It seems to be invisible, and yet, many of the important and critical aspects of society are omnipresent, everywhere, in our thoughts, imagery and references. We came to wonder, how is it that the visible cannot be seen? And how come we have to plead for the recognition of the invisible value of art? How can the visible and the invisible be represented together, at play with each other, in a public space that will allow for this tenuousness and ambiguity? 

Inspired by the fleeting nature of culture materiality, which fades, disappears, loses its original meaning, or gets replaced by something new, we had to ask, how can public art offer a space for what is lost and what will remain? And how do these questions pertain to a city as vibrant as Dubai?


Here's a selection of images of the work by each artist that can be found in the Shindagha Heritage Village and after the images you can watch a video featuring the curator and the artists talking about their work. 


Stand Here by Shaikha Al Mazrou (UAE)



Alien Technology by Monira Al-Qadiri (Kuwait)



Deer in the Headlights by Doa Ali (Egypt)



Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust” by Vartan Avakian (Lebanon)



Boulder Plot by Vikram Divecha (UAE)



Video about InVisible



You can read more about this commission and about each work here



[images via]


Exhibition - In the Shadow of the Pyramids by Laura El-Tantawy at Gulf Photo Plus


In the Shadow of the Pyramids by Laura El-Tantawy is the latest exhibition at Gulf Photo Plus, on till Saturday, 4th April 2015.  

Laura El-Tantawy began this series in 2005 when she was compelled to explore the essence of Egyptian identity in the hope of coming to terms with her own. Guided by childhood memories, her photographs are not meant to be objective observations of a nation, but rather personal reflections of Egypt through her own eyes.

In the Shadow of the Pyramids is a first person perspective exploring memory and identity. With images spanning 2005 to 2014, what began as a look in the mirror to understand the essence of Egyptian identity expanded into an exploration of the trials and tribulations of a turbulent nation. The result is dark, sentimental and passionate.


Here's a small selection of images from the exhibition.


The series was published in a book that was released earlier this year. The book can be purchased at Gulf Photo Plus or ordered online.

Juxtaposing the innocence of the past with the obscurity of the present, the book is an experience, edited to look like a one night’s encounter. A peaceful and tranquil day suddenly turns violent and chaotic, it’s claustrophobic, until a new dawn rises and there is hope again. 


Images via Gulf Photo Plus and Laura El-Tantawy. © Laura El-Tantawy


Exhibition details
Dates: 4th March - 4th April 2015
Venue: Gulf Photo Plus, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai (location map)  



Hermigervill and Berndsen live at Bad House Party on 5th March 2015


On Thursday, 5th March 2015, Dubai will get a taste of electro/synth/pop music from Iceland, a double bill no less, featuring Hermigervill and Brendsen, thanks to Bad House Party. If you are familiar with this blog or know my interests, you won’t be surprised to know I almost fainted when I heard the news. Anything Icelandic makes me happy, especially the music.

Bad House Party started in September 2013, a monthly night of indie/punk/electro music put together by a group mostly non-professional DJs and friends who invite their other friends to guest DJ. It’s a night that offers an alternative to the commercial music and DJ nights in the city. 

In the past we've had nights like this come and go (Twisted Melons, Freshly Laced and Loaded to name a few), all ending a few years after starting for various reasons (founders of these events leaving the countries or moving on to do other things).   

Over the past year Bad House Party's following has been increasing, mostly by people who are there for the music. I'm not a regular myself, mainly because I’m not a fan of the venue (Casa Latina at Ibis), the music can be bit of a hit or miss depending on who is DJing and the crowd is slightly on the immature side - or maybe I'm now just too old for nights like this. 

Having said all that, I am EXTREMELY EXCITED about the gig on 5th March which will be Bad House Party's 17th edition and the first live performance night. I like this new direction, and if this night will be a success, we can expect more exciting and edgy bands/DJs (which I hope will also include acts closer to home, including the UAE). 

Hermigervill and Brendsen have collaborated together, but also have their own music projects. A little bit about each one: 


© Hind Mezaina - Hermigervill (Reykjavik, November 2013)

I first watched Hermigervill during an online live stream of a performance that was part of Iceland Airwaves 2012 Off-Venue programme and was smitten. I then saw him live when I first visited Iceland in February 2013 for Sonar Reykjavik and several times in November 2013 at Iceland Airwaves and fell in love with him even more.  

Hermigervill is fun, energetic, dorky and will get you dancing with his theremin, synths and his wild red hair. 

The following is a small selection of his music to give you a taste; the first video will give you an idea of his live performance. Really looking forward to seeing how the Dubai crowd will react to him and his music. 




I have not seen Brendsen live, but I do like his music. A lot.

A man whose love of the 80s is at his very core, David Berndsen is a bearded iconic pop figure in Iceland, famous for his sound and various videos that recreate an era and a distinct moment in time when music (and the costumes and aesthetics) from groups such as Soft Cell, OMD, Yazoo, Visage, the Human League and Ultravox triumphed worldwide.  via

My kind of music. Here's what to expect. 





Music heads of Dubai, DON'T MISS THIS. It will be synthastic.


Event details
Date: Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Location: Casa Latina, Ibis Hotel in Barsha, Dubai (location map). 
Ticket: AED 100
Doors: 9:00 pm to 2:45 am (Resident Bad House Party DJs will be on till around midnight before Hermigervill and Brendsen).



Slidefest #15 - 18th February 2014

Gaar Adams

The 15th edition of Slidefest* organised by Gulf Photo Plus is back this month after a long summer break. The latest edition will take place on Wednesday, 18th February at 7pm in the Knowledge Village Auditorium

Here's the line up of presenters: 


Gaar Adams

Gaar Adams has spent over five years in the Arab world – including extensive time in Yemen – and is co-author of a forthcoming Yemen travel guide. 

Over the past three years, Adams has documented the dying sport of Mallakhamb in Maharasthra, India; the struggling national gymnastics program in Sana’a, Yemen; the thriving Pehlwani wrestling competitions of the South Asian diaspora in Dubai, UAE; and the enduring ritual-performances of Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, and Mohiniyattam, in Kerala, India. The intentions of this ongoing project have been primarily to investigate the nuance between sport and theatrics.


Franck Boutonnet

On Thursday, 5th of December 2013, Jacob Zuma, the South African president, announced Mandela has died, and that he would be given a state funeral. For 10 days, a whole nation paid its last respects to the Father of the Nation.

Franck Boutonnet documented this last journey, from Johannesburg, Pretoria and to Kunu, in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, the ancestral home of Nelson Mandela.


Sarah Dea 

Sarah Dea is a Canadian born, Chinese photographer working from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She is currently a staff photojournalist at an English language newspaper based out of Abu Dhabi.

"Mohammed" is a portrait series of different men from a variety of different backgrounds, bearing the same name.  It is one of the most common given names in the world, yet each Mohammed is unique and has a story to tell.


Saadia Mahmud and Bernard Menettrier de Jolli

Saadia Mahmud is a UAE based travel, street and portrait photographer. After 23 years of working in financial markets, she had a meltdown, quit her day job and now only makes pictures. 

It's a surprise to all who know Bernard Menettrier de Jolli that he is a photographer. Once you get to know him, you realize he’s shortsighted, astigmatic and color-blind. He’s been a corporate guy for the past 30 years and spends most of his weekends prowling the streets. Bernard enjoys portraits and street photography. 

Bernard and Saadia will be presenting a photographic project called Transformation which focuses on the demolition of Dubai's Defence Colony, a housing compound  established in early 1970s next to a large military camp in Dubai, primarily for the UAE’s military families.  


Anna Maria Nielsen 

Anna Marie Nielsen is a Danish photographer based in Dubai. She graduated from a degree in photojournalism in 2012 in the UK and has since divided her time between working on personal projects and commissions for news papers.  Her work focuses on social documentary and often focuses on female protagonists.  

Anna will be presenting a project titled Young British Converts, which follows the lives of three young British women who are all living a new life as Muslim converts in the UK.  Based in the South West of the UK the women are facing the reaction of their conversions from their relatives, friends, colleges and fellow students who all have had a hard time accepting the decision they have made. 


Sreeranj Sreedhar

Sreeranj Sreedhar is a travel, documentary and culture photographer from the state of Kerala in India currently working and residing in Dubai. His passion lies in creating images that communicate a strong sense of place and cultural awareness of the people and the country.

Sreeranj will be presenting a project about the Vedic School of Kerala, India, one of the oldest institutions in India that continues to teach Vedas (ancient Indian scripts).  Located in the heart of Thrissur, Kerala, the research centre is believed to be one of the four Madhas established by Adi Shankara's disciples and is estimated to have been established over 400 years ago.


Larry Towell

Larry Towell is an award winning Magnum photographer who has spent a considerable amount of time living with different communities in order to document a theme he describes as 'landlessness'. In 1996 Towell completed a project based on 10 years of reportage in El Salvador, followed the next year by a book on the Palestinians. His fascination with landlessness also led him to the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico, an 11-year project completed in 2000. 

Originating in Europe in the 16th century, the Mennonites are a Protestant religious sect, related to the Amish. Rather than compromise their way of life, they have continually been forced to migrate around the world to maintain their freedom to live as they choose. The greatest numbers are now found in Mexico, and many live or regularly migrate to work in rural Canada.  The project Larry will be sharing remotely at Slidefest will be his series on Mennonites in Canada. 




* Slidefest is a free community event hosted by Gulf Photo Plus where photographers take the stage to share unique, personal photography projects that run the gamut of genres including landscape and portrait photography, travel and fine art photography and much more. The event also aims to bring photographers (amateurs and pros) and people from the photography community together where people can network, connect and share stories.


Postlude Volume 1: The Post Oriental Odyssey at The Mine

Tareq de Montfort - Ward Suri fe Bayt Ziad | Photography | 75x114cm


Postlude Volume 1: The Post Oriental Odyssey is a group exhibition featuring artists based in Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar and will showcase various installations, works on canvas, new media, photography and performance art. The exhibition will open on Wednesday, 11th February and will till Sunday, 8th March 2015. 

Curated by Mohamed Reda, the exhibition will explore the influence of cultural identity in Middle Eastern contemporary art. 

The artists will research the effect of orientalization, the re-orienting, and the neo-orientalizing framework that dictates the movement of the Middle Eastern art scene.

Whether or not such an effect is a direct or indirect influence on the production and reproduction of their works, ideas, and identities as artists, will be studied in the identification of post-colonialism, the legacy of the orient and the commercial art market’s penchant for oriental exoticism.


Exhibiting artists:
Habeeb Abu Futtaim, Sumayya Abdul Ghani, Dana Al Jouder, Zahra Al Mahdi, Mai Al Moataz, Abdullah Al Othman, Hind Bin Demaithan, Liane Ghusain, Tareq de Montfort, Mariam Haji, Hasan Hujairi, Deena Machina, Khalid Mezaina, Nasir Nasrallah, Othman Khunji, Mohammad Sharaf


Here are some of the works. 

Dana Al Jouder - Blocks | Acrylic, Cardboard, video | 4:3min


Left: Mohammad Sharaf - Allowed – One year later | Silkscreen-printed on craft paper | 50cm x 70cm Right: Deena Machina - I am Human #1 | Mixed media on paper | 33x48cm 

I have mixed feelings about the "post oriental" part of the theme, but I am curious to see what kind of work will be exhibited.




Exhibition details
Date: 11th February - 8th March 2015 (
Venue: The Mine, Street 8a (Opposite Al Serkal Avenue), Warehouse 38, Al Quoz 1 (location map) 



Pop-Up Film Festival - Reel Palestine 2015


Reel Palestine is a pop-up film festival showing a selection of alternative Palestinian films in the UAE. Between 16th and 24th January, there will be a selection of films screening in various venus in Dubai and Sharjah.  

Why Reel Palestine? 

We believe it is important to be able to see Palestinian culture and tenacity through film and submerge ourselves in the beautiful, difficult, emotional, and inspirational moments that occur under occupation.

Stories that sometimes slip under the radar: stories of maqloubeh, giraffes and nostalgia for a better time. We want to tear down the wall (literally) and allow viewers to cinematically travel to our beloved Palestine, sans restrictions. 

The screenings are free. Here's the line up: 

Friday, 16th January, 7.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai

Trip Along the Exodus (dir. Hind Shoufani)


Trip Along Exodus is a feature-length documentary exploring the last 70 years of Palestinian politics seen through the prism of the life of Dr Elias Shoufani, a leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, an academic writer and leftist intellectual who worked with Fateh (but was one of the leaders of the opposition to Arafat) for 20 years. He is also the father of the filmmaker. 


Saturday, 17th January, 6.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai

Series of short films



Sunday, 18th January, 7.00pm at Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah

Suspended Time (dir. Asma Ghanem, Mahdi Fleifel, Ayman Azraq, Tarzan and Arab Nasser, Amin Nayef, Alaa Al Ali, Muhannad Salahat, Assem Nasser, Yazan Khalili)

In 2013, Palestinian production house Idioms Film issued an open call inviting Palestinian filmmakers to propose films reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Suspended Time compiles the nine short pieces commissioned for production. Collectively, these richly-varying works “stitch together a contemporary filmic commentary on the Oslo Accords as perceived, sensed and lived by nine filmmakers and artists.” 

Individual titles in sequence: Long War by Asma Ghanem; Twenty Handshakes for Peace by Mahdi Fleifel; Oslo Syndrome by Ayman Azraq; Apartment 10/14 by Tarzan and Arab Nasser; Interference by Amin Nayef; Journey of a Sofa by Alaa Al Ali; Message to Obama by Muhannad Salahat; From Ramallah by Assem Nasser; and Leaving Oslo by Yazan Khalili.


Monday, 19th January, 7.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai

Giraffada (dir. Rani Massalha) 


A family-friendly drama inspired by real events. Ten-year-old Ziad and his zoo veterinarian father embark on a bold journey to save the West Bank’s only giraffe. 

Yacine (Saleh Bakri) is a veterinarian at Qalqilya Zoo, the last remaining zoo in the West Bank. His son Ziad (Ahmad Bayatra) is especially fond of the zoo’s pair of giraffes, with whom he finds a rare calm away from the weight of the occupation. When the male giraffe dies due to an airstrike on the city, his mate Rita grows frail and withdrawn. In order to find her a new partner, father and son will have to spirit a giraffe out of an Israeli safari park and safely back into the West Bank


Tuesday, 20th January, 7.00pm at A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (dir. Mais Darwazah)


How do you return to a place that only exists in your mind?’ This poetic documentary chronicles the director’s first journey back to her homeland, Palestine. 

Award-winning director Mais Darwazah (Take Me Home, 2008; The Dinner, 2012) leaves a secluded life in Amman, journeying to Palestine to seek out a lover she’s never met – the late Palestinian artist Hasan Hourani. Darwazah’s travelogue mixes fairytale with reality and romance as she traces the fractured geographies and uncertain dreams of a Palestinian nation. The result is a highly original road-trip into an elusive homeland. 


Saturday, 24th January, 8.30pm, Mirage Cinema, Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah

Encounter with a Lost Land (Maryse Gargour) 


French citizens who lived in Palestine from the 1920s recall life before 1948 through previously unseen personal and diplomatic archives. 

Drawing on private and consular correspondences, rare audio-visual records, newspapers, diaries, and first-hand testimonies, Maryse Gargour (The Land Speaks Arabic, 2007) delivers a rich portrait of the cultural and social life of Mandate Palestine as experienced by French nationals – the sons and daughters of diplomats, priests, surgeons, and traders who lived in Palestine between the 1920s and 1950s. These rarely heard testimonies provide a unique perspective on cosmopolitan life in the wealthy urban centres of Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem during the colonial era. 


Sunday, 25th January, 7.00pm at A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Open Bethlehem (Leila Sansour)


There will be a Q&A after the film with Executive Producer Wael Kabbani and actress Carol Sansour Dabdoub. 

Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. She never wanted to return but this time she is making an exception.

She intends her film to be a tribute to her late father, founder of Bethlehem University, and a man regarded as a hero by his town's folk. As Bethlehem approaches ruin her decision to flee this sleepy town, taken much to her father's regret, comes to haunt her.

Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.



Event page on Facebook



Cinema Akil at Market OTB 2015 

Cinema Akil is a platform aiming to bring films from across the world to Dubai - an alternative to the commercial cinemas we have here. Although Cinema Akil has not opened its doors, the team behind it is organising pop up screenings across the city. 

Last summer we had screenings at The Third Line gallery and between 16th-24th January there will be screenings at Market OTB (Market Outisde the Box, an outdoor pop up market that includes recycled cargo containers as retail spaces promoting local brands, cafes and food kiosks). 


16th-19th January at 7:30PM 

Björk: Biophilia Live 
Director: Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton 
Duration: 97 min | Genre: Documentary / Music | Language: English | 2014

‘Biophilia Live’ is a concert film directed by Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton and produced by Jacqui Edenbrow that captures the human element of Björk’s multi-disciplinary multimedia project: Biophilia.

Recorded live at Björk’s show at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2013, the film features Björk and her band performing every song on ‘Biophilia’ and more using a broad variety of instruments – some digital, some traditional, and some completely unclassifiable.

The film has already been hailed as “a captivating record of an artist in full command of her idiosyncratic powers” (Variety) and “an imaginative stand-alone artwork” (Hollywood Reporter) and is a vital piece of the grand mosaic that is ‘Biophilia.’


21st-24th January at 7:30PM 

The Wild Blue Yonder
Director: Werner Herzog
Duration: 80 min | Genre: Sci-Fi | Language: English | 2005 

An alien narrates the story of his dying planet, his and his people's visits to Earth and Earth's man-made demise, while human astronauts attempt to find an alternate planet for surviving humans to live on.

The film follows a hypothetical proposition: a group of astronauts are circling the earth in a spacecraft, but they cannot return, as our planet has become uninhabitable. The cause of this remains open; all-out war, outbreak of a new disease beyond control, radiation after the complete disappearance of the ozone layer, or whatever.

The crew of the spacecraft has to find a more hospitable place out there in space, and releases a probe from their cargo bay, Galileo. But Galileo -- after sending back very disquieting data -- has to be sent on a suicide mission. 'The Wild Blue Yonder' won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival. 

I never had a chance to attend Market OTB last year, so I'm looking forward to hanging out there this year. Here's a video from last year, looks like a fun space.
(But I do find the this comment in the video silly, "You don't feel like you're in Dubai, I think that's the nicest thing…although you have a great view of the Burj...and you obviously have the sunshine. But it's nice to get away from the malls and the beach and sit in a space where you don't quite feel like you're in Dubai." Not sure what part of shopping stalls and food kiosks by Burj Khalifa doesn't make it feel like you're in Dubai.)





Event details
Dates: Film screenings from 16th-24th January at 7.30pm (Market OTB 15th-24th January Sun-Thu: 4-10PM and Fri-Sat: 10AM-10PM)
Venue: Southridge Park, Downtown Dubai (location map)
Free entry. 
Event on Facebook. 
Market OTB 2015  



Camille Zakharia - Out, Then at Cuadro Gallery 


Camille Zakharia's Out, Then is a new photography exhibition at Cuadro that will open on Thursday, 14th January and go on till 3rd March 2015.

Zakharia uses his camera to document the journey taken since his departure from Lebanon. Through photo-montage, collage and print he both reveals and reconstructs his encounters with people and places, exteriors and interiors.

Within this process is an exploration of home, identity and belonging in the context of a globalized condition. A particular source of fascination is urban landscape and what is represented socially and culturally by changes in the shape and size of cities. 


Camille Zakharia - Billboard IX

Camille Zakharia - Billboard VII 

About Camille Zakharia:

Camille Zakharia was born in Lebanon in 1962 and left during the Civil War in 1985. Since the, he has spent time living in the USA, Greece, Turkey and Canada before moving to Bahrain in 1999. Zakharia graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design), Halifax, Canada in 1997 and a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University in Beirut in 1985. 

Zakharia has received numerous accolades for his work including the first place prize in the International Photography Awards in 2006 and 2007, and shortlisted for the Jameel Prize in 2009. Zakharia has exhibited and collected prolifically across North America, Europe and the Middle East, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Canadian Museum of Civilizations in Quebec, National Art Gallery in Bangladesh, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and the Sharjah Biennale in Sharjah, Appleton Museum of Art in Florida, Bin Matar House in Muharraq, National Museum King Abdul Aziz in Riyadh, Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat, Loutro ton Aeridon in Athens, Saba Cultural and Artistic Institute in Tehran, Acte 2 Gallery in Paris, FotoFest in Houston, and Multicultural Arts Center in Halifax. Zakharia’s Coastal Promenade series were exhibited in the Bahrain Pavilion in the 2012 Venice Architectural Biennale. This entry went on to win a Golden Lion for best national pavilion. Zakharia was also invited to participate in the 2013 Venice Arts Biennale on behalf of the Kingdom of Bahrain.  



Exhibition details
Date: 14th January - 3rd March 2015
Venue: Cuadro, DIFC, Dubai (location map)  

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