(Interview) Yazan Halwani: Uniting The City.

middle east revised

action_shot_yazan_halwani/Photos: Yazan Halwani (private album)/

Although he’s only in his twenties, Yazan Halwani is a name you will hear a lot in Beirut. For the last couple of years his work is among the most notable ones when it comes to Arab street art. Halwani has adorned walls of Beirut (and cities all over the world) with portraits of the writer Khalil Gibran and legendary singers Fairuz and Sabah, as well as everyday local heroes like Ali Abdullah, a homeless man who died one winter’s night in 2013 and Fares, a 12-year-old flower seller from Hamra street.

I meet Halwani in a quiet cafe in Gemmayzeh, a vibrant area of cafes and small shops in downtown Beirut. He’s relaxed and easygoing, with a big smile on his face, and remains of paint on his fingers. We move from topic to topic, he speeks with ease and eloquence. We talk about…

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ART OF RESISTANCE, PALESTINE, SYRIA Ghayath Almadhoun: The Details.

Art by Safwan Dahoul/ Ghayath Almadhoun is a Palestinian poet born in Damascus, Syria, in 1979, and living in Stockholm since 2008. With the Syrian poet Lukman Derky, he founded Bayt al-Qasid (Hou…

Source: Ghayath Almadhoun: The Details.


The Art Of Mohammad Khayata.

middle east revised

khayataweb/Walking on Thread, photo via Mohammad Khayata website/

I was first introduced to Mohammad Khayata’s work while I was strolling down the streets of Beirut last November. On of his works (Walking on Thread) was exhibited in a gallery I passed by and it caught my eye immediately. I told myself I should remember his name and investigate more about his art when I come back home.

Khayata is a painter and a photographer, born in Damascus in 1985. His first solo exhibition was organized in Lebanon, three years ago.

mohamad kh

Khayata’s work is beautiful – it’s sensitive, powerful, thoughtful. In Bits and Pieces, he portrays symbols of what went on in Syria, combining stories and memories like a patched work stitched and tied to a canvas.

The images capture real life grief – from the portrait of a man wrapped in a patched quilt made of memories to…

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Exhibition “In Search of Lost Time” at SOAS

Arab Hyphen

The exhibition In Search of Lost Time (not the Proust novel), which runs at the Brunei Gallery, in the School of Oriental & African Studies until the 19th of March, “presents work by 13 artists who seek to reframe conventional interpretations of time in the Gulf.” The  Arabic title of the exhibition, Urgent Memory is apt, as the exhibition

explores the complex relationship between image, speed and time in the Gulf, questioning the chronological and territorial notion of the region and the paradigms of its underlying identity.”

In part, the exhibition examines  the tensions between nostalgia and notions of tradition and authenticity and narratives of utopia, prosperity and the construction of a Gulf modernity.

Sophia Al Maria, coined the term “Gulf futurism,” which

has since been used as a byword for the way that a generation, forced indoors thanks to the intense heat, developed a view of the future informed almost exclusively…

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Loud Art and Nuqat: ‘Executing Culture Shock’

Arab Hyphen


Saudi initiative LOUD Art has partenered with Nuqat, a platform for connecting artists in the the Middle East, to put on an exhibition with the title ‘Executing Culture Shock’.  Apparently the initiative is “aimed at challenging and examining the experience of cultural change and its effect on artists and designers.” The exhibition will be on until June 7 in Khobar.

Arabnews reports that the project featured a total of 37 collaborating artists. In the past, LOUD art exhibitions have featured artists such as:

The artists showcased work which “reflected their ideas of the concept of culture shock in a wittingly, humorous, satirical, and positive attitude.”  I haven’t been able to find a complete list of the artists in this exhibition but apparently some…

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Al Hangar and the New Generation of Saudi Artists

Arab Hyphen

d7hftxdivxxvm.cloudfront.netMyrna Award writes about  Al Hangar (The Warehouse) an initiative by young Saudi artists, who describe it as a cultural movement which aims to “ignite a sense of community.”

Artists are individually invited to show work at Al Hangar, similarly to a biennial. And so far, they’ve been inundated with requests to participate, an indication of both the buzz around the alternative space, and the growing energy around Saudi’s art scene.

The initiative is led by Ramy Alquthamy and Nasser Al Salem who hope to provide this sense of community for emerging Saudi artists, the “generation in waiting” as they were referred to in Edge of Arabia’s exhibition from a couple of years ago, Rhizoma, which aimed:

to provide a clear vision of the radical transformation in Saudi art, which is now more affiliated with its roots, to the real culture represented by the awareness of the different living conditions in…

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During the Anjundan period Nizari Imams took on Sufi names

Interesting facts about History of the Middle East.


The post-Alamut period in Nizari Ismaili history comprises the first two centuries after the fall of Alamut (1090-1256) and the Anjundan revival from the mid-fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

After the fall of Alamut, the Imams remained in hiding for almost two centuries in order to avoid persecution and to safeguard the community; only a handful of trusted da’is had physical contact with the Imams. Imam Sham al-Din Muhammad for instance, was concealed under the nickname ‘Zarduz’ (embroiderer).*

Illuminated pages from Diwan of Hafiz, late 18th century. produced for the 44th Imam Sayyid Abu'l Hasan. (Image: The Ismailis: An Illustrated History) Illuminated pages from Diwan of Hafiz, late 18th century. produced for the 44th Imam Sayyid Abu’l Hasan. (Image: The Ismailis: An Illustrated History)

The Nizari communities scattered over a wide region from Syria and Persia, Central and South Asia, developing locally and in isolation from one another. The Imams and the community disguised themselves under the mantle of Sufism that was spreading widely in Persia, appearing as a Sufi tariqa, using…

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