Photo Essay: Mentally Disabled People in Afghanistan
Many people are suffering from psychological disorders in Afghanistan, a country blighted by decades of war. The mentally disabled face discrimination here, leaving their loved ones to bear much of the burden. Insights by Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Photo Essay: Mentally Disabled People in Afghanistan

Many people are suffering from psychological disorders in Afghanistan, a country blighted by decades of war. The mentally disabled face discrimination here, leaving their loved ones to bear much of the burden. Insights by Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi

Jameel Prize 3

Dice Kayek has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize 3 for Istanbul Contrast, a collection of garments that evoke Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. The judges felt that Dice Kayek’s work demonstrates how vibrant and creative Islamic traditions continue to be today. Their translation of architectural ideas into fashion shows how Islamic traditions can still transfer from one art form to another, as they did in the past. Ece and Ayşe Ege were presented with the prize by Martin Roth, Director of the V&A and Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) at an awards ceremony at the V&A on Tuesday 10 December.

(Image Credits: ‘Istanbul Contrast’, Dice Kayek, 2010/Jameel Prize 3 Exhibition view, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London )

MSF Syrian blogs are now live and feature Charlotte, an MSF psychologist, who brings to life what it’s like to work during this ongoing conflict.

MSF Syrian blogs are now live and feature Charlotte, an MSF psychologist, who brings to life what it’s like to work during this ongoing conflict.

THE SURGE 
IN 1988 THERE WERE 350,000 CASES OF POLIO WORLDWIDE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 223. BUT GETTING ALL THE WAY TO ZERO WILL MEAN SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, PENETRATING THE MOST REMOTE REGIONS OF THE GLOBE, AND FACING DOWN TALIBAN MILITANTS TO GET TO THE LAST UNPROTECTED CHILDREN ON EARTH.

THE SURGE

IN 1988 THERE WERE 350,000 CASES OF POLIO WORLDWIDE. LAST YEAR THERE WERE 223. BUT GETTING ALL THE WAY TO ZERO WILL MEAN SPENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, PENETRATING THE MOST REMOTE REGIONS OF THE GLOBE, AND FACING DOWN TALIBAN MILITANTS TO GET TO THE LAST UNPROTECTED CHILDREN ON EARTH.

Drone art: Death on a canvas

A generation of Pakistani artists focuses on expressing life under daily violence. 

Karachi, Pakistan - Violence is part of daily life in Pakistan, where TV stations regularly ambush viewers with news on the latest bombings, and where sirens and screeching ambulances are often heard racing through the streets after attacks. These things no longer surprise anyone, nor does the constant sight of flashing television bulletins reporting how many have died after the latest drone strike. This is not to say that Pakistan’s 192 million people are apathetic - but most have found ways to block out the violence. Yet some Pakistani artists have not been able to tune out the din of drone-strike deaths, and have instead chosen to address the issue head-on in their work. This art has urgency, a sense of purpose with specific intent: To be part of the dialogue on national identity and the future of the country. Al Jazeera spoke with four prominent artists whose work chronicles drone attacks and the effects of violence on the Pakistani psyche.

(Images: The Streets are Rising by Naiza Khan/In This Landscape There is No Certainty by Naiza Khan)

From Inside: A Diary of Syria

It’s been almost three years of a most shocking mixture of pain and hope in Syria. While the pain manifests itself with bombardments and continuous detentions, hope manifests itself with the outburst of new creative talents.

Extraordinary young photographers and filmmakers have emerged through the professional training programme TAKWEEN: a project initiated by DOX BOX Int’l Documentary Film Festival (Syria) and the Prince Claus Fund (the Netherlands).

In order to share these unique perspectives with the rest of the world, DOX BOX and the Prince Claus Fund have created From Inside: A Diary of Syria, a photography and video blog showcasing the work of three young Syrian photographers each month. Through the ‘diary entries’, photographers and filmmakers (ages 18-25) from across Syria share their everyday lives through their words and outstanding photos.

(Photo Credits: Abd Doumany Douma – 7 November 2012/Abd Doumany Cradle of Revolution Near Damascus – 22 May 2013/Bury the Martyrs by Bassam Al-Hakeem Damascus Barzah – 12 May 2013)

SYRI-ARTS: 101 WORKS OF ART 
Syri-Arts, organized by the NGO Kayany, a Lebanese non-profit organization, which is inviting artists to donate a work of art which will be exhibited and auctioned to raise funds for the Syrian children who are the first victims of the unbearable tragedy of the war in Syria. The response has been great, from the Middle East and beyond. Artists and galleries have responded with great enthusiasm to Syri-Arts’ invitation with an exquisite array of works.
(Image Credit: “Dreamland II, Upekkha series” by Nermine Hammam)

SYRI-ARTS: 101 WORKS OF ART

Syri-Arts, organized by the NGO Kayany, a Lebanese non-profit organization, which is inviting artists to donate a work of art which will be exhibited and auctioned to raise funds for the Syrian children who are the first victims of the unbearable tragedy of the war in Syria. The response has been great, from the Middle East and beyond. Artists and galleries have responded with great enthusiasm to Syri-Arts’ invitation with an exquisite array of works.

(Image Credit: “Dreamland II, Upekkha series” by Nermine Hammam)

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr 
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr

In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.

Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

OUT OF ARABIA: LANDSCAPE THROUGHOUT THE ARABIAN PENINSULA
25 November - 29 November 2013
After a year of exciting events at The Arab British Centre, we are proud to be working with the British Council on our final exhibition of 2013, Out of Arabia: Landscape throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This showcase will bring together nine artists, seven born in Saudi Arabia, one in Egypt and one in the USA, all of whom had participated in the Out of Arabia online art competition organised by the British Council in 2012.

OUT OF ARABIA: LANDSCAPE THROUGHOUT THE ARABIAN PENINSULA

25 November - 29 November 2013

After a year of exciting events at The Arab British Centre, we are proud to be working with the British Council on our final exhibition of 2013, Out of Arabia: Landscape throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This showcase will bring together nine artists, seven born in Saudi Arabia, one in Egypt and one in the USA, all of whom had participated in the Out of Arabia online art competition organised by the British Council in 2012.

CREATIVE DISSENT: ARTS OF THE ARAB WORLD UPRISINGS

This exhibit explores the visual arts and other expressive media of the recent Arab World Uprisings.

Images are often used as communicative devices to present politicized messages. During the recent Arab World uprisings, demonstrators created images to express opposition to incumbent governments and members of the ruling elite. Over and again, activists, protesters, artists, and other individuals adopted the expressive media—including videos, photographs, painted and digital images, as well as slogans, music, and even puppets—to create visualized and performed modes of dissent within public space, both in the streets and online.

Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings will be on display at the Arab American National Museum, November 8, 2013 - February 9, 2014. Lower Level Gallery, free with Museum admission.

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World
Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, spanning more than ten centuries and including ancient artworks and objects from throughout the Islamic world. The exhibition will be on display in Seville from October before travelling to the Dallas Museum of Art (USA) in Spring 2014.
Featuring 150 objects from public and private collections in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the use and meaning of light in Islamic art and science, and demonstrates how light is a unifying motif in Islamic civilizations worldwide. The exhibition, directed and curated by Islamic art and culture expert Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, includes numerous unprecedented objects that have never been displayed in public, from gold and silver inlaid metalwork through to anatomical illustrations.
The Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World exhibition will be housed at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation’s headquarters in the historic 17th century building, the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, from 25 October 2013 to 9 February 2014. It will subsequently travel to the United States and be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, from 30 March 2014 to 29 June 2014. Deriving its title from the Arabic word for light in both the physical and metaphysical sense, 

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, spanning more than ten centuries and including ancient artworks and objects from throughout the Islamic world. The exhibition will be on display in Seville from October before travelling to the Dallas Museum of Art (USA) in Spring 2014.

Featuring 150 objects from public and private collections in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the use and meaning of light in Islamic art and science, and demonstrates how light is a unifying motif in Islamic civilizations worldwide. The exhibition, directed and curated by Islamic art and culture expert Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, includes numerous unprecedented objects that have never been displayed in public, from gold and silver inlaid metalwork through to anatomical illustrations.

The Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World exhibition will be housed at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation’s headquarters in the historic 17th century building, the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes, from 25 October 2013 to 9 February 2014. It will subsequently travel to the United States and be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, from 30 March 2014 to 29 June 2014. Deriving its title from the Arabic word for light in both the physical and metaphysical sense, 

HORSES OF GOD
In Sidi Moumen, a slum district of Casablanca, two brothers grow up in a golden world of football, close friendship and hard knocks. But as they approach adulthood, the dreams of youth give way to the realities of poverty and violence. With an energy and realism that surpasses Fernando Meirelles’ City Of God, this provocative and dazzlingly-shot film casts a compassionate eye over the sources of extremism that fuelled the 2003 terrorist attacks in Morocco. 

HORSES OF GOD

In Sidi Moumen, a slum district of Casablanca, two brothers grow up in a golden world of football, close friendship and hard knocks. But as they approach adulthood, the dreams of youth give way to the realities of poverty and violence. With an energy and realism that surpasses Fernando Meirelles’ City Of God, this provocative and dazzlingly-shot film casts a compassionate eye over the sources of extremism that fuelled the 2003 terrorist attacks in Morocco. 

ARAB WOMEN’S TECH ADVANTAGE

MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES SENT TWO ALL-FEMALE TEAMS TO MICROSOFT’S IMAGINE CUP THIS YEAR. THAT’S NOT AS SURPRISING AS IT SOUNDS.

Asya AlJabri’s first steps toward app building started with dyslexia: not her own, but her 9-year-old cousin’s. AlJabri was trying to teach him the alphabet, but he wasn’t learning, and she kept scolding him for not paying attention. “I won’t forget what he said,” recalls the 22-year-old computer science student from Muscat, Oman. He really was trying, her cousin pleaded. He just couldn’t understand why everything felt so hard to grasp. His speech moved her to tears—and to action. She took her cousin to get tested for dyslexia and then started thinking about how she herself could help.

THE GULF STATES ARE “THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD I KNOW OF WHERE WOMEN OUTPERFORM MEN” IN SCIENCE AND TECH, SAYS COLEMAN, AUTHOR OF AN UPCOMING BOOK ON THE MIDDLE EAST.

AlJabri rounded up two of her fellow students and together they created an app called ReadX, which helps dyslexic children learn and lets parents keep track of their progress. The app was good enough to win a national Imagine Cup, a Microsoft-sponsored student competition; that earned AlJabri and her friends—Marwa AlHabsi and Safa Almukhaini, both 22—a spot representing Oman in the international Imagine Cup, July 8 to July 11 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

BY: GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON

Meet Saudi Arabia’s leading artist, soldier, and ‘rock star’
Imagine a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi Arabian army. Now imagine a conceptual artist from the same country. Put them together and you get Abdulnasser Gharem, who has his first big show in London.
Described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “rock star” of Saudi art, Abdulnasser Gharem has his first major solo show, perhaps not surprisingly, not in the Gulf state but in London at the Edge of Arabia gallery.
(Image: IN TRANSIT (I-II) From the Series Restored Behaviour Industrial lacquer paint on rubber stamps on 9mm plywood H160 x W200cm 2010)

Meet Saudi Arabia’s leading artist, soldier, and ‘rock star’

Imagine a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi Arabian army. Now imagine a conceptual artist from the same country. Put them together and you get Abdulnasser Gharem, who has his first big show in London.

Described by Rolling Stone magazine as the “rock star” of Saudi art, Abdulnasser Gharem has his first major solo show, perhaps not surprisingly, not in the Gulf state but in London at the Edge of Arabia gallery.

(Image: IN TRANSIT (I-II) From the Series Restored Behaviour Industrial lacquer paint on rubber stamps on 9mm plywood H160 x W200cm 2010)

Infiltrators Directed by Khaled Jarrar
Shot hand-held, often covertly and at some personal risk, Infiltrators draws audiences into a high stakes “game” of cat and mouse, chronicling the travails of Palestinians seeking routes through, under, around and over a bewildering matrix of barriers in the West Bank. Jarrar’s doc swept the board at last year’s Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, and the International Critics Prize.

Infiltrators Directed by Khaled Jarrar

Shot hand-held, often covertly and at some personal risk, Infiltrators draws audiences into a high stakes “game” of cat and mouse, chronicling the travails of Palestinians seeking routes through, under, around and over a bewildering matrix of barriers in the West Bank. Jarrar’s doc swept the board at last year’s Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, and the International Critics Prize.