Subscribe to The Culturist

Entries in Dubai (323)


The Craig Perry Band at The Fridge


The Craig Perry Band recently won the The Gap Recording Room competition, the prize includes an all expense paid trip including a week of recording at Grouse Lodge residential studios, in Ireland. It's quite an opportunity for a new band, so looking forward to the outcome from the recording session. 

In the meantime, if you are in Dubai, you can see The Craig Perry Band at The Fridge on Monday, 3rd March 2014

Dubai's newest rising star, Craig Perry, performed his first solo gig as part of The Fridge Singer/Songwriter Showcase in June 2013 and has been an unstoppable force ever since.

Chosen as runner-up in the 2013 Rolling Stone ME Street To Stage competition, and having recently released his debut solo EP "Small Steps, Big Shoes", Craig will close The Fridge Concert Series 15th Season backed by a talented group of hand-picked musicians giving a spectacular new scope and depth to his now trademarked brand of heartfelt music.

We invite you to join us as Craig and his band take us through the journey of the evolution of his sound culminating in what is destined to be one of the most memorable closing performances of The Fridge Concert Series yet.



Here are some videos featuring Craig Perry and his band.  




Event details
Date and time: Monday, 3rd March 2014 (doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 8.00pm) 
Venue: The Fridge, Al Quoz, Dubai (location map)
Phone: +9714 3477793 
Tickets: Dhs 50  


Film Screening - No Man's Land 

The Scene Club, the monthly film club will screen award winning film from 2001,  No Man's Land by Danis Tanovic on Wednesday, 5th March December at 8pm. There will be a Q and A session with the film actor Branko Djuric after the film. 

Tickets are complimentary, but you must register in advance and collect your ticket at the venue.


The grim futility of the war between Bosnia and Serbia is reduced to its essence as two enemy soldiers are forced to share a wary trust for one another in this drama.

A group of Bosnian soldiers are advancing upon Serbian territory during a misty night when the fog lifts at daybreak, making them plainly visible to their enemy. Serb forces open fire upon them, and soon only Čiki (Branko Djuric) is still alive, after diving into a trench in no man’s land.

Two Serbian soldiers scouting the area set up a land mine using the body of a Bosnian soldier as ‘bait’; if moved, the mine will jump into the air and explode. Čiki watches as the soldiers set the trap, and furious at the disrespect to his fallen comrades, he kills one of the Serbs and takes the other, Nino (Rene Bitorajac), hostage. With both soldiers alone and equally armed, they find themselves at a stalemate and begin trying to attract help from either side.

Eventually, the two men are found by a squadron of French soldiers attached to a U.N. peacekeeping unit; now held by supposedly neutral forces, Čiki and Nino are with the French troops when it’s discovered that the dead Bosnian soldier isn’t dead after all, though no one is sure how to disarm the mine without killing him in the process.

No Man’s Land was the debut feature of Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic.




No Man's Land won 42 awards, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002, the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay, the European Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay, the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Cesar Award for Best Debut.


Event details
Date: Wednesday, 5th March 2014
Time: 7.00pm – Ticket Collection and Networking | 8.00pm – Film screening | Q&A with actor Branko Djuric
Venue: Knowledge Village Auditorium, Dubai (location map)
Register for your ticket online.    



Slidefest XII - 29th January 2014

© Madeleine Butcher



The twelfth edition of Slidefest organised by Gulf Photo Plus is on this Wednesday, 29th January at 7pm in the Knowledge Village Auditorium

If you are new to Slidefest, it's an event organised by Gulf Photo Plus where photographers present their personal projects, from documentary projects to fine art, still-life and landscape images. 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.


Here's this month's line up of photographers:


Jahanzeb Aamir  

© Jahanzeb Aamir

Originally from Pakistan, Jahanzeb Aamir (aka JZ) has  been in Dubai for nine years working as a Graphic Artist. Arabic calligraphy was a childhood passion that he revisited in adulthood as his new love for photography took hold.

Experiments with light painting offered him the opportunity to combine calligraphy with photography, creating stunning light painted designs within nightscapes all over the city.  Modifying his own handheld LEDs and cathode ray tube lights, JZ practiced endlessly perfecting the craft.  The images he will present are straight out of the camera, with little to no post processing or image flipping.  


Karen Dias  

© Karen Dias

Karen Dias began her photography career in Mumbai before moving to the United Arab Emirates to work as a Staff Photographer for the national daily Gulf News. After four years in the Middle East, she spent 14 months traveling overland through 10 countries in Asia from Turkey to UAE, India, Nepal, Hong Kong, China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar exploring and working on personal photo projects.

Now based in Mumbai once again, Karen's recent Ladies Only photo series was featured in Al Jazeera.  Her story that focuses on the ladies only compartment of the Mumbai trains, containing hundreds of commuters sleeping, eating, chopping vegtables, praying, singing, studying, and even buying items from venders on the train.


Kate Lewis

© Kate Lewis

Originally from Australia, Kate Lewis has recently moved to Dubai and works with ITP as a photographer. Kate will be presenting a photo story titled "Life in the City of Death | Varanasi" exploring the holy city on the banks of the  Ganges river in Northern India.

Varanasi plays an important role in a number of religions including Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Some Hindus believe that dying in the city of Varanasi will bring the deceased eternal salvation. Recently exhibited in Australia, Kate will be presenting her perspective as she aimed to document the life, chaos, and colour of the city.


Madeleine Butcher 

© Madeleine Butcher

A British creative currently based in Dubai, Madeleine Butcher spent six years in the UK and New York working for agencies including McCann and Euro RSCG. Inspired by a mannequin head she discovered in Dragonmart, Madeleine began an Instagram account for "Drusilla Does Dubai", posting images of the curious silhouette in various locations throughout the city.  

In Madeleine's own words, "I can’t tell you what she means. A statement about the overly hygienic aesthetic of marketing Dubai, a  plea for attention, a bald, plastic embodiment of showboating ‘eccentricity’ to others, or a toy I like taking pictures of, but she’s a muse of sorts". 

(I featured Drusilla Does Dubai on this blog last September, you can read the post here.) 

Munsif Molu

© Munsif Molu

Munsif Molu is a Canadian photographer, currently based out of the UAE. His fascination with people and their connections to society, traditions and history is what drives most of his photo stories. Over the course of six months and covering 12 cities across India, Munsif documented street-style fashion, capturing the visual variety represented by both men and women on the streets of India. The story was created for a fashion magazine that aimed to document contemporary street trends in india today.


Paul Macleod 

© Paul Macleod

Originally from Scotland, Paul Macleod has been living and working in Dubai as a professional photographer for a number of years. On a recent visit to India, Paul conceived a project that hopes to create positive social change by collecting  images taken in rural villages, and returning with postcards that locally based individuals can sell. The idea being that the postcards, and perhaps additional printed material, can initiate business start-ups generating employment and income. The project is ongoing.


Yiannis Galanopoulos 

© Yiannis Galanopoulos

Yiannis Galanopoulos has been a practicing visual artist for the past eleven years. Working with both traditional and digital photo processes, his work has been exhibited in Europe, the US and in Japan. He has a BFA in Photography and Audio Visual Arts, a MA in Humanities, and a MFA in Visual Studies.

He is currently a faculty member at the UAEU. Yiannis' photographs isolate and celebrate vibrant color and beautiful geometric shapes that he finds in cityscapes. His minimalist compositions bring your attention to everyday objects you may have otherwise overlooked. 



Event details:
Date: Wednesday, 29th January at 7pm. 
Location: Knowledge Village Auditorium, Dubai (location map)
Free entry. 


Street Night Art in Al Quoz

Tarsila Schubert

Street Night Art is a one-night event taking place on Friday, 24th January in Al Quoz, Dubai. It's part of Al Quoz Beautification Project, which aims to brand Al Quoz as a "unique, artistic district, giving it an identity, making it attractive to the UAE residents and tourists and strengthening community connections". 
The following line appears across their website, 

"We envision a neighborhood where a record of our local and regional artists are permanently marked in the public landscape"

Al Quoz isn't the most attractive looking spot in Dubai, despite the presence of many art galleries in the area. Graffiti is illegal in this country, permission needs to granted from the municipality and the owner of the property. 

So far, graffiti and street art in Dubai have been showcased in organised and heavily sponsored events like club nights and concerts, in controlled environments and normally on fake walls - which goes against the spirit of street art and graffiti. 

Unsurprisingly, a temporary wall will be installed for Street Night Art and the results from the night will be left for several months. I wonder if this event will pave the way for a more natural and organic expansion of street art. Hopefully the results from this night will encourage building owners in the area to allow artists to use their walls to create beautiful work and liven up the look of the area, to be more colourful and inspiring for its residents and visitors.

Street Night Art will include:

  • Live art by local and international artists (here's the full line up)
  • Art pieces, some available for sale from renowned art galleries
  • Air-brush live-painting
  • Break-dance competitions
  • Beat boxing 
  • Open-mic sessions
  • Drum performances


The night promises to be the "largest outdoor gallery" stretching from 4B Street from Time Square mall to 15th Street. Here's a map I found on the Street Night Art site


Event details:
Date and time: Friday, 24th January 2014, from 6.00pm to midnight. 
Venue: Between 4B Street, Al Quoz Industrial 1 (next to Time Square Mall) to 15th Street, Dubai, UAE.
Free entry. 



Film Screening - Metro Manila

The Scene Club
, the monthly film club will screen Metro Manila on Wednesday, 15th January at 8pm.

Metro Manila is a British-Filipino independent film written, produced, directed and shot by Academy Award and Bafta-nominated British director Sean Ellis. It was entirely shot on location in the Philippines with Filipino cast and crew member.

The film received the Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and several other prizes, including Best Film and Best Director at the 2013 British Independent Film Awards and the Hamburg Film Critic Award for Best Film at the 2013 Filmfest Hamburg.

Lead actor Jake Macapagal will be attending the screening for Q&As. Tickets are complimentary, but you must register in advance and collect your ticket at the venue.

Seeking a better life, Oscar Ramirez and his family decide to move from the poverty stricken rice fields of the Northern Philippine mountain ranges and journey towards the capital mega city of Metro Manila.

Upon arriving in the big city, it isn’t long before they fall foul to various city inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival.

Oscar lands a job as a driver for an armored truck company and is befriended by Ong, his senior officer. It soon becomes apparent that Ong has been waiting for the arrival of someone just like Oscar for some time. A few simple acts of kindness from Ong place Oscar in his debt; a debt that leads to blackmail as Ong forces Oscar to help him in a robbery of the company they both work for.



Event details 
Date: Wednesday, 15th January 2014
Time: 7.00pm – Ticket Collection and Networking | 8.00pm – Film screening | 10.00pm Q&A with Jake Macapagal
Language: Tagalog with English subtitles | Duration: 115 minutes | Rating: 18
Venue: Knowledge Village Auditorium, Dubai (location map)
Register for your ticket online.


Michael Rexen at The Fridge


Michael Rexen will be back in Dubai to perform at The Fridge on Wednesday, 8th January 2014. I've seen him perform before at The Fridge two years ago, where he was referred to as Michael Love Rexen, and the year before that with his band A Key is a Key. Both gigs are my top two favourite gigs at The Fridge and hoping this upcoming performance will be my 3rd favourite gig there. 

He does look very different in the image above compared to his last to Dubai, so I am not sure if there's a massive change of direction in his music or he has a new stage persona. Whatever the case, I am really looking forward to this gig. Expect quirky lyrics and experimental music. 

The email invite I received from The Fridge incuded this message, "a short hello from the artist himself, translated across binary from English to Haitian to Chinese and back": 

_Michael was a robust performer Rexen. Between composition and improvisation dancing. In the new world, Jasper offers only two traditional birth of Michael. Expanded, and a wave of new residents invited. Home, you and e-learning Rexen and read the music and songs of paperwork. Interactive Enregistrement knowledge and this is often around the Earth, as well as concerts with him. Most of their two latest video concert minutes on future use._


You can read more about Michael Rexen here. The clip below titled "The Sound of an Orange" features Michael Rexen and Andreas Bennetzen in a 38 minute performance of sound and music using electronic live looping, "the purpose is to sharpen your senses".

Not sure how the gig at The Fridge will compare to this, but guess you will have to go to find out. 



Event details
Date and time: Wednesday, 8th January 2014 (doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 8.00pm) 
Venue: The Fridge, Al Quoz, Dubai (location map)
Phone: +9714 3477793 
Tickets: Dhs 50


Exhibition - Custodian of Vacancy: The Iranian Embassy in the USA by Eric Parnes at Ayyam Gallery

Eric Parnes, Empty Seat at Embassy Row, 2013

Custodian of Vacancy: The Iranian Embassy in the USA by Eric Parnes is a photography exhibition that opened on 16th December at Ayyam Gallery in DIFC

The exhibition includes a series of photos taken by Eric Parnes of the abandoned Iranian Embassy in Washington, DC. The building was officially closed in 1980 and still has a lot of the original furniture, chandeliers, photos and documents. 

I'm so glad we get to see a glimpse of the place through these photos. It's been a while where I've seen a series of photos that taught me something new, where I was fascinated by the subject. I strongly recommend you visit this exhibition and pick up the catalogue which has an intro written by Eric Parnes.  

Below is the exhibition write up, along with some of the photos from the series. I also recommend you listen to Eric Parnes talk about this series when he was recently interviewed by Andrew Hosie on Abu Dhabi Classic FM.


Silent and inaccessible, the Embassy of Iran in Washington, D.C. has been closed since the fall of the Shah and the US Embassy hostage crisis of 1979. In this unprecedented and unique opportunity, Eric Parnes ventures into the calm of this defunct institution, providing a rare glimpse into a world forgotten by history. Once a hub of American celebrity merged with, and immersed in, Persian culture, the Iranian Embassy's current uninhabited status still retains a particular rich aesthetic that captures the exclusive solitary nature of this institution.

Parnes’ photographs uniquely express a historic moment in time, while simultaneously conveying the immediacy in the artistic emotion of seclusion, by bringing the viewer to a magical space that was once celebrated and alive with vibrant festivities.


Eric Parnes, Last Dance, 2013

Though cushioned alongside the active homes of other standing diplomatic missions from countries on Embassy Row, the Iranian Embassy stands as a custodian of vacancy, having sat in forced solitude for the past 12,000 days. Yet crossing through the gates bearing the traditional Persian coat of arms emblem the Lion and Sun, the dust casts a layer of enchantment over this derelict residence. As if peering through a portal to another world, gilded mirrors and stained glass windows reflect a past in which expansive ballrooms echo the laughter and mingling of Hollywood celebrities, tycoons, socialites, diplomats, politicians and artists.


Eric Parnes, Hospitality, 2013 

Decadent soirees held by then-Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi were attended by the Shah and Shahbanu, her glittering tiara matched only by the brilliance of renowned beauties like Elizabeth Taylor. The glamour of Persia, its mysticism and exoticism was a rare world opened to the highest of American society in the 1970s, and just as quickly the doors were flung shut and forgotten.


Eric Parnes, Discarded Importance, 2013 

This Embassy has become figment of the imagination. Its interiors reflecting traditional elements of Persian folklore and design lie unbeknownst to the majority of Americans who live in its vicinity, and a faded memory to those who attended its vast receptions only four decades ago. This dissolution from the American consciousness is evident and palpable in the resulting grain quality of Parnes’ images, which capture the haunting quality and eery silence of each abandoned room.


Eric Parnes, Memory, 2013 

The majestic building of the Iranian Embassy stands today a living testament to what once was, a silent memorial that is neither recognised nor visited. Eric Parnes peers inside this rich by-gone culture and era as an outsider, an apt metaphor for an American-born Iranian reaching into his own dreams. 



To see what the Iranian Embassy looked like during its glory days, I urge you to look at this blogpost by The Polyglot. The Embassy hosted the glamourous and the glitterati, and looked like it was a place to see and be seen in. 



Exhibition details
Date: On till 30th January 2014, 10am-8pm Saturday to Thursday  
Venue: Ayyam Gallery, DIFC, Dubai (location map)
Free entry. 



[images via Ayyam Gallery


Exhibition: Do You See What I See at Cuadro

Michel Le Belhomme - The Blind Beast VI 

Do You See What I See is a new photography exhibition featuring four different series by Ammar Al-Attar, Ayla HibriFarah Al-Qasimi and Michel Le Belhomme. The exhibition is in Cuadro (located in DIFC in Dubai) and is on till 9th January, 2014. 

I visited this exhibition a couple of days ago, and found some of the photos quite striking, some that didn't say much, and a few that left me thinking. I will revisit this exhibition again and write a full review soon. In the meantime, here are some of the photos from the exhibition. If you are in the neighbourhood, do go and check it out. 


Ammar Al-Attar - Sibeel Water Series 

Ammar Al Attar - Sibeel Water VII

Ayla Hibri - Amir Asil Series 

Ayla Hibri - Amir Asil VII

Farah Al-Qasimi - Sunset Circus Series 

Farah Al-Qasimi - Living Room (Orleans, MA)

Michel Le Belhomme - The Blind Beast Series 

Michel Le Belhomme - The Blind Beast II


About the exhibition:

Often times we are unable to see what is in front of us. There are many reasons why we remain blind to our every day realities. Perhaps it is because we move too rapidly and are faced with more visual information than we can assess. Perhaps it is because we assume that through our past experiences we already know the genuine nature of the forms that cross our path.

Regardless of the reasons, our obliviousness towards our daily visual realities remains true. Consequently, contemporary photographic practices have become an essential means through which we explore and understand our surroundings.

A photograph suspends, amplifies, and offers for consideration a visual composition that the purveyor of the camera supposes to be essential. It is a suspended moment that has been removed from a linear context or sequence.

Consider the effect of stopping a film; the still persists until the movie begins again, but that moment is lost to the next as soon as the film begins again.  On the other hand, a photograph has no fear of being consumed by the next moment. It exists in a vacuum, for the long term. It is this sense of permanence that amplifies and aggrandizes the still image, inviting us to deconstruct the tableau presented to better consider the fleeting visual experience.
(via Cuadro)



Exhibition details
Date: On till 9th January 2014. Sunday-Thursday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm | Saturday 12:00 pm-6:00 pm
Venue: Cuadro, DIFC, Dubai (location map
Free entry. 


Film Screening - Trashed

The Scene Club
, the monthly film club will screen the award winning documentary by Candida Brady, Trashed featuring Jeremy Irons this week, on Wednesday, 4th December at 8pm. 

Tickets are complimentary, but you must register in advance and collect your ticket at the venue.


TRASHED takes Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons on a journey from skepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope in a world full of waste, looking at the risks to the food chain and the environment through pollution of our air, land and sea by waste.

The film reveals surprising truths about very immediate and potent dangers to our health. It is a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been fundamentally affected by waste pollution.

Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful, an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope by showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable, non-polluting approaches that provide far more employment than the current standard waste industry methods.


Event details 
Date: Wednesday, 4th December 2013 
Time: 7.00pm – Ticket Collection and Networking | 8.00pm – Film screening 
Venue: Knowledge Village Auditorium, Dubai (location map)
Register for your ticket online. 


Dubai International Film Festival turns 10


On Sunday, 24th November 2013, I went to the Dubai International Film Festival press conference for the reveal of the film line up. 

Dubai International Film Festival turns 10 this year, so this year's edition which is on from 6th-14th December, is quite a milestone, and personally, I'm so happy that the age of cultural event in the UAE of this importance has now gone into two digits. 

DIFF's CEO Abdulhamid Juma looked back at the festival's goal and aims: 

  • Bridging culture
  • Focusing on Arab cinema 
  • Supporting the local film industry to develop and grow 
  • Celebrating Dubai, promoting it as a destination and centre for tourism, trade and culture 

The theme for the 10th edition of DIFF is "A Tribute to Arab Cinema" and will include 70 world premieres, 174 films from 57 countries in 43 languages, with more than 100 Arab films. 

There will be a few firsts this year: 

  • An Arab film will open the film festival, Omar by Hany Abu-Assad. Hany Abu Assad, is the only director to open DIFF on two occasions (his film Paradise Now was the opening film in 2005). 
  • There will be two red carpet gala screenings, compared to one in the previous editions.
  • Free open air screenings at the Burj Khalifa park called Screen on the Green
  • Cinematic Innovation Summit featuring leading names from Hollywood and Silicon Valley. 
  • Celebration of the top 100 Arab Films (based on a recent poll which I was proud to be part of).   
  • Workshops run by the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences
  • Lifetime Achievement Award that will for the first time go to a film critic, Samir Farid
  • The festival is longer this year, will run over nine days instead of the usual seven and will span over two weekends, which I think is a very good move.

I am really looking forward to this year's edition. I've attended each year, and this festival is very close to my heart, so I am happy to be celebrating it's 10th year and cannot wait for my movie marathon sessions between 6-14th December.

I will be sharing my top picks with you soon. Since this is the 10th edition, I will do someting different this year and share multiple lists of recommended films based on themes. So watch this space. 

For now, I leave you with this trailer collage of the films that will be screened at the festival.  

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 33 Next 10 Entries »