Himat Ali…An Artist Who Speaks Through Colors

The Eiffel Tower and La Defense business district are seen during traditional Bastille Day in Paris

Paris- The Kurdish referendum has made headlines in northern Iraq, however, the Iraqi-Kurdish Artist Himat Mohammed Ali has different interests. He is speaking to the world through colors instead of words. Even his name has been shortened to four letters. With these few letters, he built a wide celebrity and wandered many cities with his paintings; from Manama to Tokyo, to Paris where he settled. He was lucky to stay at a home dedicated to artists. It was built of iron bars, which were used by Gustave Eiffel, who engineered the famous Parisian tower, in constructing a suite at the universal exhibition held in the French capital in 1900.

“La Roche”, which means the beehive, is the name of this building surrounded by perennial trees and located in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. It currently houses 60 painting ateliers occupied by painters and sculptors of different nationalities. In the backyard opened on a narrow alleyway, brightly-colored paintings lure pedestrians and visitors. It is the nature with all its details, beauties, and suns, give up to Himat’s pencil willingly, as if the painter is taking us to the northern Iraqi plains embroidered with anemones and chamomiles. Did he mean it or his eyes were just washed with the greenery of nature in every place he visited? Something of the cherry tree buds on the Japanese islands must have fallen into his pockets. Therefore, before hanging the paintings on the gallery’s walls, he took them and placed them on the dense trees of La Roche’s garden at the home of artists, where they harmonized with the surrounding.

The exhibition features rectangular and round paintings that look like carpets in fancy houses. When approaching them, visitors discover amazing details and try to catch the secret behind the light emerging from them. The drawings were shining; they emit warmth and have the magic of a bright sun or a full moon. There are butterflies flying in the exhibition’s space. The exhibition also featured some folded paintings that resemble an old manuscript known as “Sheherazade Letters”. How beautiful was to see young visitors, art students, and other elderly people. A lady and her companion, with smiles on their faces, were looking for the artist, but they met a shy man with a sharp mustache, who greeted them by shaking his head. Ali seemed muted by the events taking place in his homeland, so he used the pencil instead of his voice to draw beauty, in order to beat ugliness.

Himat was born in Kirkuk in 1960 and had organized 25 exhibitions, in Japan and Arab and European capitals. French writer and critic Bernard Noel, together with the Iraqi poet and critic Farouk Yousef, published a book entitled “The Amulets of Solitude” on the Iraqi artist.

The latter has great relations with poets. He contributed to joint exhibitions and volumes with the Syrian Adonis, French André Velter, Japanese Kutaro Ganzoumi, Bahraini Qassem Haddad, Iraqi Saadi Youssef and Moroccan Mohamed Bennis.

Two Egyptian Artists Hold Graffiti Exhibition in Amsterdam


Cairo- The “Tugela” hall for culture and arts in Amsterdam is hosting an exceptional exhibition for two Egyptian artists Ismat Dawstashi and Shawky Ezzat dubbed as “Thing from my world, and thing from our world”. The exhibition has kicked off earlier this month, and is set to be featured in several other galleries in the city.

The exhibition embraces about 20 black and white paintings for Dawstashi, one of the most eminent Egyptian painters, who lives a new artistic experience in a joint workshop with other Egyptian artist Shawky Ezzat. Through this experience, Dawstashi has enriched his long career, which debuted in 1962, and saw over 160 individual and collective exhibitions.

Talking to «Asharq Al-Awsat», Dawstashi said: «This exhibition is a new artistic experience which I decided to go into and dive in the wide world of graphic through the « silk screen » technique.

The exhibition kicked off with two paintings: the “popular proverbs” by the Flemish artist Pieter Breugel (1569 – 1530), and the “consort” painting by the Egyptian artist Effat Nagy (1905 – 1994), where I and my partner both worked on the research and figuration.

He said: “the artist by nature can practice any type of art, but there are other types such as graphics that need specialized workshops, which unfortunately do not exist in Egypt. However, here in the Netherlands, the exhibition comes as a joint workshop that takes a full year of preparations. This workshop’s content is related to my previous work inspired by the Egyptian rich popular heritage that still has much more to offer.”

Dawstashi also talked about “Al-Mustanir Dada”, a famous collection in which he introduced Egyptian historic and folkloric symbols with a contemporary spirit.

In the exhibition’s paintings, people will feel the spirit of the popular Egyptian proverbs and the cultural heritage but in a vital and contemporary aspect that harmonizes with any environment, to take viewers back to old eras, and at the same time, reminds them that the future extends from the past.

It is Dawstashi’s philosophy in bringing times, cultures, and civilizations together by focusing on the human and psychological depth.

Commenting on choosing the Flemish artist Pieter Breugel, and whether he sees similarities between their experiences, he said: “Breugel was inspired by the controversies of the world at his time. He expressed these controversies in his painting as an artistic expression. His paintings gave me an emotional push that came mixed with my artistic experience in this exhibition.”

In this exhibition, Dawstashi puts all his artistic impressions and his influence by art museums in Amsterdam, so his paintings reflect a unique combination of Egyptian-European art.

‘HORECA’ to Host 25 Experts in Beirut

Beirut- The Lebanese capital is set to host the 24th edition of HORECA exhibition specialized in hospitality and food services. The exhibition, which is organized by “Hospitality Services Company” will host 25 international experts and chefs, in addition to experts in olive oil and fruit cocktails.

German Chef Thomas Boehner, holder of three stars awarded by Michelin Guide, will be the star of this year’s HORECA, which will also host Guillaume Gomez, the Elysee chef, and Thierry Bamas, a renowned French pastry cook, and Chef Fabrice Danniel, assistant culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu, France.

In cooperation with the restaurant owners syndicate in Lebanon, HORECA 2017 plans to honor eight luxurious Lebanese restaurants for their positive contributions in this sector.

In a press conference held at the Phoenicia Hotel, the HORECA 2017’s schedule themed “from Lebanon to the world” was launched, aiming to praise this sector that led Beirut to top the list of better world culinary cities; the conference was attended by the Lebanese Minister of Tourism Avedis Guidanian and many attendees from the industrial and commercial sectors.

Talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Joumana Dammous Salame, director general of the event’s organizing company “Hospitality Services”, asserted that the 24th edition of this exhibition covers all news and developments in the sector of hospitality and food services.

She also said that the exhibition will be held on the 15,000 square meters of the BIEL hall, as it is expected to see a remarkable participation from Lebanese, Arab, and foreign exhibitors.

Dammous added that this year, the exhibition has expanded by 10 percent compared to last year’s edition.

The event will be opened by Lebanese creative chefs known worldwide, she noted, saying that the exhibition will host international chefs who visit Lebanon for the first time to present live shows, recipes, and advices.

HORECA 2017 will feature daily activities including workshops, cooking shows, competitions, and discussion sessions that focus on motivating cooking fans on recognizing the Lebanese cuisine.

Nouhad Dammous, the founder of Hospitality Services, said that the exhibition certainly contributed to converging different viewpoints among tourism, industry, and trade institutions.

Rabat: Regional Situation Tops Moroccan-Jordan Kings’ Talks


Rabat- Moroccan King Mohammed VI has held talks with Jordan King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein in the Royal Cabinet in Rabat – these talks fall under the official visit of Jordan’s king to Morocco.

The visit embodies the deep-rooted bilateral relations based on solid and permanent partnership.

No details were provided on the discussions’ content between the kings but diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the situation in the Middle East was on top of the list as the Arab Summit date approaches – sources added that King Mohammed VI accepted the invitation to attend the summit scheduled on 28-29 March.

Jordan King commenced his official visit to Morocco on Wednesday. Same day, both kings held a meeting in the Royal Cabinet accompanied with Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad Bin Talal, Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs.

King Mohammed VI and King Abdullah II have also inaugurated the cultural and artistic event “Africa in Capital” at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat on Thursday 23.

The occasion was initiated by the National Foundation for Museums in collaboration with several Moroccan cultural and institutional activists. This major event will continue to be hosted in Rabat “City of Light, Moroccan Capital of Culture” until April 28, and is in line with efforts made by the King to make culture a real lever for development, an engine for bringing people closer and a mean to promote the values of tolerance, openness and sharing.

On this occasion, the King and his guest visited three exhibitions held under this event, namely “Contemporary Look into African Art”, “Joint Presence” and “Memorial.”

The “Africa in Capital” will be marked by intense cultural activities as 36 events in 18 sites, movie screening, music concerts, and conferences are scheduled to take place.

At the end of the visit, the Jordanian King signed the visitors’ book of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Riyadh to Host Exhibition on Afghan Heritage

Riyadh- History, heritage, and culture enthusiasts in Riyadh will have the opportunity to learn about the cultural and human aspects of Kabul, and its contribution to Islamic history.

They can also enjoy watching samples of gemstones, Afghan carpets, saffron, and some old Afghan books. All these can be found at an Afghan exhibition themed “Afghan Cultural Historic Exhibition – Road of Silk”, which is set to be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday.

On this occasion, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia Sayed Jalal Karim told Asharq Al-Awsat that this exhibition aims to highlight aspects of the Afghan culture and art, and its Islamic heritage in addition to Afghan scientists’ contribution to the region’s Islamic history.

Karim said the exhibition will be opened by the Afghan Finance Minister and head of the Afghan-Saudi Committee, who will chair the 56-member delegation that will attend the opening.

The diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the exhibition will feature historic Afghan monuments with Islamic and cultural prints. It will also witness activities that shed light on historic aspects of Afghanistan’s culture, people, and heritage.

Ghazni province, capital of Islamic culture 2013, and Farah province known with its prestigious history and culture, are set to partake in the exhibition.

Karim noted that the exhibition aims to send a message to the whole world that Afghanistan will overcome all challenges, combat terrorism, and will not save efforts to maintain political stability and security.

He added that his country will never allow terrorists to deprive it from its history, art, and Islamic heritage.

Afghanistan has always been a country of security, safety, and culture and one of the Islamic heritages’ treasures, and will have a great future in combating terrorism and restoring calm, and confronting intellectual extremism, he concluded.

London Exhibition Charts 500 Years of Evolution of Robots

London- When you step into a huge robots’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London, you feel like it’s a pure technical exhibition that deals with innovations. However, this impression changes once you find out it’s about a “500-year quest to make machines human.”

The “Robots” exhibition will feature over 100 models in what the museum calls the most significant collection of humanoid robots ever displayed.

The exhibition starts with the sample of a new-born child that moves his hands and makes voices. It is among the new possessions of the exhibition and stimulates the emotions of visitors with some programmed movements like moving hands, breathing and sneezing.

This robot is usually used in movies instead of real children as it looks like a real human being.

The exhibition is composed of five pavilions with one of them featuring how robots were created based on religious beliefs; this pavilion exhibits an automaton monk made in 1560 that hides its hands under its robe, while showing simple movements of hands and lips in sign of prayer.

Among the most amazing pieces at the London show is a mechanical silver swan on loan from the Bowes Museum that will remain part of the exhibition until March 23. The wind-up bird dates back to around 1773 and performs a 37-second routine to music in which it preens its own neck before plucking a fish from a flowing filigree stream and swallowing it.

A pavilion at the museum was dedicated for dreams and future predictions in the field of robots which usually appear in movies. Ben Russell, the lead curator of the exhibition, said that robots have always been present in the popular culture since people used the term “robot” in 1920. The exhibition also shows the T-Terminator Robot used in “Terminator Salvation” starred by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Visitors can also meet the first robot developed in the UK known as “Erik.”

Saudi Arabia Set to Host Global Exhibition on Combating Cyber Crimes

Saudi Arabia

Jeddah – Saudi Arabia will host the Global Internet Forum and Exhibition, which highlights the Saudi government’s efforts in dealing with cybercrimes, the e-government and its mechanism concerning the 2030 Vision; the event will be held with the participation of experts, authorities, and companies specialized in the field of internet and communication from across the world.

Khalid Naqro, supervisor of the exhibition said that this event will be held for the first time in the Middle East and is considered one of the most prominent events called for – by the Kingdom – amid international growth of use and demand on the internet; forecasts have showed that users who benefit from the internet service around the world have reached 3.2 billion, which represents around half of the world’s population.

Naqro added that the exhibition, which targets governmental entities, the private sector, organizations of civil society and companies of e-commerce, in addition to research and e-banking centers, will showcase many projects, services, and apps; the event will also embrace special initiatives on the Arabic content, projects, and new ideas aiming at attracting international apps, exchanging expertise. The event will also focus on highlighting Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the field of information technology (IT) and on providing many chances of partnership between the private and governmental sector.

The exhibition will discuss 20 different topics by featuring global speakers; topics are expected to include services provided by global companies for the Arabian customer, innovations, successes of websites and apps, and how these apps contributed in developing the community, in addition to themes like internet and the family, globalization and intellectual invasion, entertainment, and internet as a bullying platform.

The event will also showcase many global experiences on the role of educational entities and institutions in stimulating efforts of students to enrich the Arabic content, reasons behind this latter’s weakness, experiences of the Global Arab Network (GAN) and news of the internet.

It’s worth mentioning that official figures have showed that internet users in Saudi Arabia reached around 21.6 million by the end of 2015 representing 68.5% of citizens and residents, which shows the leap of internet growth over the past years; users of Twitter in the Kingdom exceeded three million who post more than 1.5 million tweets daily; as per Facebook, its users in Saudi Arabia have reached six millions while a million people use LinkdIn, YouTube, and different mobile apps.

First Saudi-Egyptian Cartoon Exhibition to Open on Sunday

Cairo-The Egyptian Center for International Cultural Cooperation in Cairo will host the opening of a special art exhibition “Caricature from Saudi Arabia and Egypt” with the participation of 22 artists and the attendance of the two renowned Saudi caricaturists, Abdullah Sayel and Fahd Al-Khamisi.

Fawzi Morsi, the general coordinator of the exhibition, told Asharq Al-Awsat that this event is unprecedented in terms of a joint cartoon exhibition for Saudi and Egyptian caricaturists. He said it would be a great opportunity to deepen cultural and artistic ties between the two countries.

Morsi, who takes part in the exhibition with a cartoon on ISIS, said that the event will witness the participation of 22 cartoonists – 14 from Egypt and eight from Saudi Arabia. It will include 100 works featuring current problems mainly terrorism, pollution, soaring prices and harassment.

During the event, Saudi artist Fahd Al-Khamisi will show a painting featuring ISIS as an animal controlled by the devil waiting for its directions and orders to move. Other paintings for other cartoonists will feature different problems like the people’s obsession with technology and mobile phones and wars that target the innocence of children.

The exhibition will open on Sunday with the attendance of Ayman Abdul-Hadi, head of the Foreign Cultural Relations Sector and many other figures.

The event, which will last till October 22, is organized by the Egyptian Association of Caricature in cooperation with the Sector of Foreign Cultural Relations, the Egyptian General Authority for Cultural Palaces, and the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information.