The Arts Edit: culture from the Middle East and North Africa.
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Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of The Arts Edit, a weekly newsletter from The National's Abu Dhabi newsroom rounding up this week's most noteworthy arts and culture stories.

IN FOCUS

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature has returned for its 15th event, with another packed line-up of guests from across the world. This year, the festival is being held at two locations — the InterContinental Dubai Festival City and, for the first time, the stunning Mohammed bin Rashid Library.

Emirates Literature Foundation chief executive Isobel Abulhoul speaks on the festival's first day. The National

On Wednesday, the festival announced a series of partnerships — with the library, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and Expo City Dubai — to collaborate on sustainable projects in the lead-up to Cop28.

Maan Jalal has written a guide to some of this year’s must-see sessions, which includes talks with acclaimed Succession actor Brian Cox, The Last White Man author Mohsin Hamid, Emirati diplomat and author Omar Saif Ghobash and more.

Hareth Al Bustani
Arts & Culture Editor


 

EXHIBITIONS

It’s also a busy time for art lovers, with plenty of exhibitions to explore. Razmig Bedirian spoke to Ghanaian artist Larry Amponsah about his first UAE solo show, running at Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai until February 17.

The exhibition includes several large-scale paintings brimming with mixed imagery collated like collages, which reflect contemporary black culture and identity with an awareness of global interconnectivity.

Daniel Canogar at Galloire gallery. The National

Maan also spoke with Daniel Canogar about his first regional solo show, Loose Threads, which is running at Galloire in City Walk until February 24. Canogar, who produced a memorable generative installation for the Spanish Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, this time presents a series of fascinating works exploring our relationships with data, technology and news.


 

FROM K-POP TO ALGERIAN FOLK

Last weekend was a colossal one for music, with Hans Zimmer performing a pair of concerts in Dubai, and both Sting and everyone’s favourite K-pop girl group Blackpink entertaining Abu Dhabi. Evelyn Lau spoke with some of the UAE’s male K-pop fans and asked them what it is they love so much about the genre.

Blackpink in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Live Nation Entertainment

This week, we’re looking forward to Barzakh Festival at NYU Abu Dhabi, where musicians from across the world will converge for a truly global concert. Saeed Saeed spoke to the lead singer of Algerian female collective Lemma ahead of the event.

Saeed also interviewed legendary Egyptian composer Omar Khairat, ahead of his shows at Dubai Opera tomorrow and on Saturday. Khairat spoke of his love of performing live: “To see people’s faces each night, face to face on stage, is something that inspires me."


 


 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

  • Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival — February 3 to 28
  • Sharjah Biennial — February 7 to June 11
  • Notations of Time at Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai — Until May 20

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Story Image Former Al Saqi employee has vision for a new Arabic bookshop
Story Image How to watch films nominated for Oscars 2023 in the UAE
Story Image Dubai's architectural heritage goes beyond the wind tower