Mounir Fatmi’s Inside the Fire Circle uses art to reinforce lessons of history. Jump leads spill from typewriters and photos reveal John Howard Griffin’s ‘colour change’. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist
Mounir Fatmi’s Inside the Fire Circle uses art to reinforce lessons of history. Jump leads spill from typewriters and photos reveal John Howard Griffin’s ‘colour change’. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and tShow more

Lessons of history come full circle in Mounir Fatmi’s exhibition



The central installation of Mounir Fatmi's new exhibition gives the show its name. Inside the Fire Circle features a row of old-fashioned typewriters on an iron frame. From these obsolete objects, black and red jump leads spill out, the ends clipped to a page of plain, white paper.

Initially this might seem to question the transfer of information and provide a visual representation of the development of digital and future technologies – but it is also about the past.

“With this installation, I want people to remember history,” says Fatmi, a French-Moroccan artist, of his first solo show in Dubai. “Unfortunately people have a short-term memory these days.”

Fatmi describes the work as an aesthetic trap that draws viewers in but throws them into a circular motion of repetition.

“All these materials are going to disappear, so they are historical, but there is the notion of archive, which is constantly present,” he says. “We see history repeating itself over and over again, like a palimpsest.”

Palimpsest is a word for a manuscript or other writing surface that has been reused or altered but which still has visible traces of its original form.

This installation then, reflects the artist’s preoccupation with the circle, a recurring symbol throughout his practice.

On the wall are several pieces made with coaxial antennae cables – another largely obsolete object – arranged and fixed in partly-circular and geometric patterns, encased in glass boxes.

Again, they draw the viewer in to the idea of repetition and infinity but also pick up the theme of physical material that is now part of history, soon to be discarded from use and, perhaps, even from memory.

By using such objects, Fatmi raises the question of whether when something is forgotten, does it mean it never existed? Why do we often fail to learn the lessons of history? If an incident falls out of the reaches of archive or memory, it can happen again, and we risk making the same mistakes.

This idea is highlighted in the story of John Howard Griffin, the subject of several pieces of work in the exhibition. Griffin was an American journalist and author from Texas. He was white but in the racially-segregated United States of 1959, he took medication and subjected his skin to ultraviolet rays to make himself appear black. He then went on a tour of the country’s Deep South.

“I discovered the history of this amazing person who completed this experiment and I realised that many people hadn’t heard of him so I decided to use his story to show others,” says Fatmi.

A series of 10 photographs, titled As A Black Man, shows the gradation of Griffin's skin from white to grey to black. Another set, this time in black and white, show his legs crossing a white line in the street – which has several metaphorical and symbolic connotations.

“This story is especially relevant because of what is happening in the United States now,” says Fatmi. “People forget the original American dream was in fact, the immigrant’s dream. You can’t imagine America as it is today without immigrants.

“So, I want to show people that back then, there was a white, educated person who was willing to literally burn his skin because he wanted to understand ‘the other’. If people were to think like him now, it would help a lot.”

Fatmi’s interest in forgotten stories, and in inspiring his audience to think for themselves, comes from a childhood spent in an impoverished Moroccan village where access to information was scarce.

He remembers there was only one dictionary in the village and he had to search it out. When he began creating art in an age of information saturation, Fatmi never forgot the importance of memory, and he hopes to harness the power of art to make a difference.

“Art changed my life,” he says. “I try to understand life, history and everything with art – it is the key. And yes, it is a romantic idea but I do have a hope to be able to change something with my art.”

• Inside the Fire Circle is at Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Alserkal Avneue, Dubai, until May 15. www.lawrieshabibi.com

aseaman@thenational.ae

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Four-day collections of TOH

Day             Indian Rs (Dh)        

Thursday    500.75 million (25.23m)

Friday         280.25m (14.12m)

Saturday     220.75m (11.21m)

Sunday       170.25m (8.58m)

Total            1.19bn (59.15m)

(Figures in millions, approximate)

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 680hp
Torque: 1,020Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh530,000 (estimate)

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

How champions are made

Diet
7am - Protein shake with oats and fruits
10am - 5-6 egg whites
1pm - White rice or chapati (Indian bread) with chicken
4pm - Dry fruits
7.30pm - Pre workout meal – grilled fish or chicken with veggies and fruits
8.30pm to midnight workout
12.30am – Protein shake
Total intake: 4000-4500 calories
Saidu’s weight: 110 kg
Stats: Biceps 19 inches. Forearms 18 inches

THE SPECS

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 275hp at 6,600rpm

Torque: 353Nm from 1,450-4,700rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Top speed: 250kph

Fuel consumption: 6.8L/100km

On sale: Now

Price: Dh146,999

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

OIL PLEDGE

At the start of Russia's invasion, IEA member countries held 1.5 billion barrels in public reserves and about 575 million barrels under obligations with industry, according to the agency's website. The two collective actions of the IEA this year of 62.7 million barrels, which was agreed on March 1, and this week's 120 million barrels amount to 9 per cent of total emergency reserves, it added.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Indoor cricket World Cup:
Insportz, Dubai, September 16-23

UAE fixtures:
Men

Saturday, September 16 – 1.45pm, v New Zealand
Sunday, September 17 – 10.30am, v Australia; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Monday, September 18 – 2pm, v England; 7.15pm, v India
Tuesday, September 19 – 12.15pm, v Singapore; 5.30pm, v Sri Lanka
Thursday, September 21 – 2pm v Malaysia
Friday, September 22 – 3.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 3pm, grand final

Women
Saturday, September 16 – 5.15pm, v Australia
Sunday, September 17 – 2pm, v South Africa; 7.15pm, v New Zealand
Monday, September 18 – 5.30pm, v England
Tuesday, September 19 – 10.30am, v New Zealand; 3.45pm, v South Africa
Thursday, September 21 – 12.15pm, v Australia
Friday, September 22 – 1.30pm, semi-final
Saturday, September 23 – 1pm, grand final

Mental health support in the UAE

● Estijaba helpline: 8001717
● UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention hotline: 045192519
● UAE Mental health support line: 800 4673 (Hope)
More information at hope.hw.gov.ae

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

TEACHERS' PAY - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

- at the other end of the market, teachers in some Indian schools, where fees are lower and competition among applicants is intense, can be paid as low as Dh3,000 per month

- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

Company profile

Date started: December 24, 2018

Founders: Omer Gurel, chief executive and co-founder and Edebali Sener, co-founder and chief technology officer

Based: Dubai Media City

Number of employees: 42 (34 in Dubai and a tech team of eight in Ankara, Turkey)

Sector: ConsumerTech and FinTech

Cashflow: Almost $1 million a year

Funding: Series A funding of $2.5m with Series B plans for May 2020

More from Armen Sarkissian
About Housecall

Date started: July 2020

Founders: Omar and Humaid Alzaabi

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: HealthTech

# of staff: 10

Funding to date: Self-funded

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.
The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8

Power: 611bhp

Torque: 620Nm

Transmission: seven-speed automatic

Price: upon application

On sale: now

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Clinicy
Started: 2017
Founders: Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman, Abdullah bin Sulaiman Alobaid and Saud bin Sulaiman Alobaid
Based: Riyadh
Number of staff: 25
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding raised: More than $10 million
Investors: Middle East Venture Partners, Gate Capital, Kafou Group and Fadeed Investment

RESULTS

9pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Mubhir Al Ain, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Ahmed Al Mehairbi (trainer)
9.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Exciting Days, Oscar Chavez, Doug Watson
10pm: Al Ain Cup – Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Suny Du Loup, Marcelino Rodrigues, Hamad Al Marar
10.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,800m
Winner: Jafar Des Arnets, Oscar Chavez, Ahmed Al Mehairbi
11pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Taj Al Izz, Richard Mullen, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami
11.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Majdy, Antonio Fresu, Jean de Roualle
12am: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Hamloola, Sam Hitchcott, Salem Al Ketbi

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

THURSDAY'S ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court

Starting at 10am:

Lucrezia Stefanini v Elena Rybakina (6)

Aryna Sabalenka (4) v Polona Hercog

Sofia Kenin (1) v Zhaoxuan Yan

Kristina Mladenovic v Garbine Muguruza (5)

Sorana Cirstea v Karolina Pliskova (3)

Jessica Pegula v Elina Svitolina (2)

Court 1

Starting at 10am:

Sara Sorribes Tormo v Nadia Podoroska

Marketa Vondrousova v Su-Wei Hsieh

Elise Mertens (7) v Alize Cornet

Tamara Zidansek v Jennifer Brady (11)

Heather Watson v Jodie Burrage

Vera Zvonareva v Amandine Hesse

Court 2

Starting at 10am:

Arantxa Rus v Xiyu Wang

Maria Kostyuk v Lucie Hradecka

Karolina Muchova v Danka Kovinic

Cori Gauff v Ulrikke Eikeri

Mona Barthel v Anastasia Gasanova

Court 3

Starting at 10am:

Kateryna Bondarenko v Yafan Wang

Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Anna Bondar

Bianca Turati v Yaroslava Shvedova

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5