Hetty Feather Review at DUCTAC

Lately, I’ve been getting an insatiable hankering for a bit of culture.

I had heard rave reviews about the play Hetty Feather and so I spontaneously decided to catch the matinee show on the very LAST day at DUCTAC.

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Hetty Feather is based on the book by renowned English writer Jacqueline Wilson, whose books are world famous with over 30 million copies being sold in the UK alone.

As soon as the play started, I felt completely engaged in the plot and the creative and highly personal way it was narrated.

Set in the Victorian era, the story centers around feisty headstrong redhead, Hetty Feather who was abandoned by her mother and given up to the Foundling Hospital as a baby. The plot highlights her ongoing quest to find her biological mother as well as her relationships and experiences along the way.

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There was a very small but solid cast, with some actors playing multiple roles. This could have been confusing, but the context was made very obvious due to the fact that the actors were incredibly talented, versatile and highly multi-faceted.

The sets and scenery were simple and improv was highly relied on. This is not a disadvantage and it was still captivating because it encouraged the audience to use the art of pretend, making it even more magical. The circus scenes were particularly entrancing.

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There was an emotional roller-coaster element portrayed throughout. It had the perfect balance of pulling at your heart strings, yet not being too overwhelmingly heavy or depressing.

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Although essentially a children’s story, the content was relatable to everyone.

All humans crave their own idealistic interpretation of “happily ever after.”

Like Hetty, we go from hurdle to hurdle and just when we think we have sussed it, we get smacked unexpectedly with a cold hard dose of reality.
The play deals with this theme this beautifully, but illustrates that despite it all, everything isn’t always doom and gloom. Life has an imperfect beauty and the random nature of it should be embraced, cherished and celebrated.

It also highlights the compassion in human nature and that the pursuit of happiness is an adventure within itself. .

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Exceptional acting with a compelling, charming story.

Needless to say my thirst for culture was, indeed, quenched.

Fashion Forward Frolics – Part 1

Fashion is the art
Designers are the gods
Models play the part of angels in the dark
Which one of you would ever dare to go against
That beauty is a trade and everyone is paid

Season 3 of Fashion Forward finally kicked off today at Madinat Jumeirah for press and public.

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Outfit of the day - Dee by Dalia skirt paired with a Versace belt and quirky telephone bag

Outfit of the day – Dee by Dalia skirt paired with a Versace belt and quirky telephone bag

It was all very rock n’ roll chic at the Kage show with wild teased hair, dark lips, Bardot necklines and the odd flash of metallic. It definitely had a young, vibrant and vivacious feel.

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Intriguingly, the collection took inspiration from a specific time and event – New Years Eve, 1983 to be exact! What I really loved was the general grungy-ness broken up with baby blues, gorgeous geometric details and metallic accents.

My favorite were these two outfits. I just love the rich, opulent, oriental print and how the fabric is repeated in the peter pan collars – great sense of continuity! I like how they are edgy yet pulled together!

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Emperor 1688 featured a tasteful and sophisticated collection. I loved their interpretation of classic English tailoring and contemporary take on Scottish tweed, wool and tartan.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

I was particularly captivated by the fur capes and the belted trench coats in this unique, rich buttery shade.

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I also liked the idea of leather harnesses over floaty ethereal dresses. It’s the perfect balance of androgynous yet feminine.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

The combination of prim bow ties, textures and their very British/Burberry-esque aesthetic – it kind of had a sexy Sherlock Holmes vibe goin’ on! Don’t you agree?

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Fictional ice queen Miranda Priestly was famously quoted for her bitchy dig in “Devils Wears Prada” where she says sarcastically says “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking (!)”

Well, I’m certain Jean Louis Sabaji’s innovative treatment of florals would make even Miranda Priestly sit up and take notice, for their collection proved that flowers CAN be inventive as well as fresh.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Bursting with skill, handcrafted techniques were used to mimic foilage, organic textures and petals in bloom.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Very magical. Very mythical. Very “Midsummer Nights Dream.”

I liked the ombre effects on the gowns in particular and the voluminous blush-pink rose gown was definitely a favorite of mine.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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Finally, day one closed with the Ezra Couture show. His designs are known for their buoyant, diaphanous and exquisite edge. The designer is even getting popular in Hollywood, with celebrities frequently wearing his stunning designs on the red carpet.

Starting off with soft alluring pastel hues, his collection gradually got bolder, featuring shades of sapphire with statement armour inspired pieces that sparkled in the light.

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty images

The chiffon had such an amazing drape and the fabric was so light and airy that it almost seemed to DANCE behind the models mischievously and seductively like the flicker of a flame.

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Everyone was totally spellbound, enjoying the show – and JUST when we thought it couldn’t get any more spectacular …

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It snowed.

It was SO magnificent and the bridal wear looked so poetic and pure. We found ourselves in a winter wonderland in the middle of April.

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I watched, amazed and astounded … like a dreamer in a dream.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Christie’s n’ Cartier. Ice Ice baby.

Lights, camera…diamond.

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That was pretty much my sequence of actions as I excitedly browsed through the much anticipated “Important Watches” exhibition at Christies in Emirates Tower Hotel.

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The exhibition showcased designs by Chopard, Cartier, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe, and Roger Dubuis to name a few.

I don’t know a girl who doesn’t gush and get giddy over the thought of diamonds. I am no exception.

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As I walked around admiring the the flawless glimmer of the jewels set in vintage limited edition pieces, I learnt a bit more about the rare materials available.

Featuring enamel, emeralds and plenty of intricately cut baguette diamonds .. these encrusted watches oozed top notch finery, decadence and indulgence. Here’s a few photos of what I saw that day …

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This rare 18K gold bangle watch incorporates a panther’s head in the design, complete with emerald set eyes. Priced between 15,000 – 25,000 USD.

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This design by Roger Dubuis has 28 jewels, a mother of pearl dial, aperture for date complete with a stainless steel Roger Dubuis deployant clasp and case. Valued between 28,000 – 40,000 USD

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This impressive watch is set with 32 baguette cut diamonds, weighing at 6.04 carats and has 1047 brilliant cut diamonds weighing at 15.23 carats. That’s a whole lotta bling!!!!

Priced at around 100,000 – 150,000 USD.

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vintage art deco diamond watches circa 1930

Can’t you just imagine the Crawley sisters from Downton Abbey wearing these?

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A stunning piece by Bovet valued at 70,000 – 90,000 USD

This Patek Philippe watch is probably the most sought after piece at the exhibition. It is double sealed to protect it and has a cloisonne enamel dial.

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Making dials such as these is highly complex and requires great skill from dedicated artisans. A rare treasure, this model is now discontinued and no longer listed in the Patek Philippe catalogue.

Price between 120,000 – 160, 000 USD

Here are some other jewellery sets that dazzle and seduce!! Although not part of the exhibition, they certainly deserve some time in the spotlight too ….

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Over at Art Dubai, The FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain & Cartier presents two imaginary cities contrasted with beauty and global diversity which depicts “L’Odyssée de Cartier” collection

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Created by the artist in 2000, following his first exhibition at the FondationCartier pour l’art
contemporain in 1995, this colourful model-like megacity architectural piece is the product of the
African artist’s inexhaustible imagination, made of salvage, cardboard and fragile materials, where
he builds a large number of buildings which he arranges into cities, thus creating a totally imaginary
urban space.

I loved the way the space was decorated. It’s so pristine and pure with the all white colour scheme and using famous buildings representing to each continent. Take a look …

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For this new show, Cartier and the FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain strived to find the
perfect balance of opposites, with Bodys Isek Kingelez’s extrême maquette (extreme model)
“Maman Isek Mabo Bendele” a colourful and imaginary city, juxtaposed with the white city created by Cartier, enfolding the world of “L’Odyssée de Cartier” Collection.

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L’Odyssée de Cartier, Parcours d’un style (journey of style) Collection, is a voyage through a world in perpetual motion offering an unexpected trip of discovery.

Peter Pan Show – YAK Events

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There’s something about watching a musical live that makes me so feel so elated. The costumes, the lighting … the way everyone just spontaneously burst into a synchronised dance. (I wish life could be like that!!!)

I’m a huuuuge theatre buff so every time I go to London, I make it a point to see atleast one play. You name it I’ve seen it. Grease, Jersey Boys, Top Hat, Singing in the Rain, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver Twist, Sister Act… (and that’s just the tip of he iceberg!)

Regarding theatre/musicals, this is something I always felt Dubai lacks to a certain extent, and it’s a shame because when there IS a show on, it does so well over here and is frequently fully booked! I went to see Chicago years ago in Dubai and although it was good, personally I felt like it just didn’t do it for me. It did not have that spark .. that “je ne sais quoi” compared to the West End.

I had resigned myself to the idea that musicals in Dubai just are never going to be up to scratch … UNTIL I saw Peter Pan at Trade Center a couple of weeks ago. That show was a game changer for me.

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For starters, the special effects were INCREDIBLE and the show was visually stunning. Unlike traditional musical sets, this stage had a state of the art digitally projected backdrop that the actors would be against. This screen was constantly animated and in moments, it would transform from an atmospheric wintery London scene to pirate ship sailing choppy seas. As well as this, there were 3D elements to add even more realism, like a big grand chandelier, or a ship sailing across the sky, or a menacing 3D crocodile creeping from the corner.

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It was also very innovative how they gave the illusion of Peter Pan flying, using an I-Fly like apparatus and suspended invisible wires against a “starlit” stage. The actors were not only skilled at singing and dancing, but with their constant seemingly effortless flips, cartwheels and somersaults they proved to be incredibly agile acrobats too!

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Tinkerbell was portrayed very creatively using a mixture of glow lights and a couple of spontaneous cleverly aimed fireworks. Genius! I only wish I could have seen superstar Myriam Fares play the role, but she was only performing for one show. For those unfamiliar with her, she’s kind of like … the Lebanese equivalent of Taylor Swift.

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The music was very enjoyable, and the songs were all familiar as they were all world famous songs. Such a variety too – from Moulin Rouge’s “One Day I’ll Fly Away” to Rasmus’ “In the Shadows”. The actors all had superb voices. I was particularly impressed with Peter and Wendy’s duet, and Hook’s aria. He sung “Nessun Dorma” with such character. As far as villans go, I found him quite likeable.

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My favorite part of the play was the way they portrayed the mermaid – she was sooo MYTHICAL with her cascades of long waves and long sequin encrusted tail glimmering in the dark. Absolutely breathtaking costumes. Some of the BEST I’ve EVER seen.

Lastly, the “I believe in fairies” scene made the children feel like they were participating in the play and as a result they were completely engaged. I really liked how this scene made the audience interact, rather than just feel like spectators.

Peter Pan really was truly successful in bringing childlike magic back to Dubai. Best play of the year for sure!

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Imran Qureshi exhibition at Salsali Private Museum

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Hailed as Deutsche Bank’s artist of the year of 2013, Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi is creating waves in Pakistan’s contemporary art genre and is the pioneer of neo-contemporary miniature painting. He has received international acclaim for his intense and highly unique style.

commissioned paintings on the roof of The Met

commissioned paintings on the roof of The Met

As soon as I saw his famous roof garden commission he created for The Met in New York, I was spellbound by the artist’s intricate and powerful work. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out THE Imran Qureshi was having a solo show here in Dubai at Salsali Private Museum, Al Serkal.

Qureshi’s themes center around social, political and ideological issues. He is primarily influenced by terrorism and corruption in Pakistan, although, he acknowledges that violence is a pressing issue everywhere, not just in Pakistan and therefore his work is relevant globally.

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As I walked into the gallery I was startled by seeing the artist’s signature style in person.

It’s a very raw, blood-splattered illusion but when you look closer it resembles a cluster of beautiful delicate chrysanthemums rendered in shades of crimson. This reiterates his themes of beauty being born amongst destruction.

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I love how he utilizes an ancient style of Mugal-era miniatures but incorporates it in a contemporary way to speak about present issues – juxtaposing the country’s past and present. The way he combines traditional fine art with installation is fascinating too.

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I pondered why he chose to repeatedly use a gold background on the canvases. Was it purely for aesthetics or was it deliberately chosen to convey the stark contrast in social classes within Pakistan, highlighting overt flamboyance with suffering?

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His installation in particular was remarkable. I am at loss for words for this one. See it for yourself!

"And They Still Seek The Traces Of Blood" by Imran Qureshi.  mounds and mounds of "blood" stained papers/floral motifs.

“And They Still Seek The Traces Of Blood” by Imran Qureshi.
mounds and mounds of “blood” stained papers/floral motifs.

Same installation shown in Berlin

Same installation shown in Berlin

The artist draws from personal experience as he has witnessed the turmoil his native country has endured over the years with tragic and deadly bombings, rise of sectarian extremism and frequent suicide bombings and shootings.

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Although his work is about creating awareness of violence and extremism, interestingly, his overall tone is not entirely negative or cynical. In fact, his pieces evoke a sense of hope in humanity.

He states that there is a certain correlation between destruction and beauty; it forms an existential cycle that not only makes us despair but also gives us hope. I agree wholeheartedly with the artist on his views.

It’s a poignant fact that when shrouded in calamity, injustice and natural disasters, that is when, simultaneously, tenderness and compassion is demonstrated and therefore humanity is restored.

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Live drawing for Dune London event at Meydan Beach

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Shoes and the beach. My two most favorite things! Any event that combines these is good in my book. And that’s precisely what Apparel Group did on the 28th of Jan, when they hosted an exclusive launch event for Dune shoes London at the luxurious Meydan Beach in JBR. Just look at all those gorgeous shoes and handbags! Mon Dieu!!! C’est magnifique, n’est pas?

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I was there to do some live sketching of all the guests’ sophisticated and colourful outfits. The weather was glorious with the sunlight flooding the room through the large glass windows. Check out that splendid view of the beach!

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You’d think it would make sense to dress in something breezy and summery … but you know how I abhor being predictable! 🙂 Since I was feeling quite Mary Quant that day, I went for a Missoni-esque print minidress in mossy, rusted Autumn hues and some high-heeled boots to finish off that 60s leggy Twiggy vibe I was trying to channel!

Gettin Twiggy with it. Na-na-na-na-na-nana

Gettin Twiggy with it. Na-na-na-na-na-nana

Time was not my friend that day. I only had a couple of precious minutes to paint out each outfit and there were close to fifty guests in total! Fortunately though, I had the figures photocopied in advance which were bare and bald, so I could just concentrate on the outfits and hair on the day itself. Pretty organized eh?! Just like Neil Buchanan’s trademark phrase from Art Attack – “Here’s something I made earlier!”

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Surprisingly, it was not as stressful as I thought it would be. The weather and beachy air was so relaxing so it really put me in a great mood as I sketched away busily in the corner!

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Here are some happy customers!

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One lady had a cute idea of wanting an illustration with her baby. This is how it turned out!

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Apparel Group also wanted a souvenir of the whole team in a group illustration.

TA DAH!

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On a separate note, today is Valentine’s day! Now, SOME people complain that Valentine’s day is commercial. Riiiight. As if the rest of the holidays like Christmas and Easter are COMPLETELY commercial free, consumer free AND 100% authentic (?) hmm…*skeptical eyebrow raise*

This may be a very controversial statement to make but – In my opinion and in my experience… guys who complain about V-day are often the “Cheap Charlies” who are reluctant to splurge for their love ones!!! So, cmon fellas. Show your lady what you are made of!!!! Give into it.

As for those ladies who single … then it’s even MORE important to celebrate it! You can either choose to wallow in self-pity by watching Jerry Maguire’s “you complete me” scene for the umpteenth time with your cats and Ben and Jerrys, or you can round up your other single girls and drive to Jabel Hafeet for a spa weekend. As an empowered single girl myself, guess which option I will be doing? 😉

Single or taken, here’s wishing everyone a very blissful, happy and magical Valentine’s day!

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My entry for the Van Cleef/Tashkeel Middle East Emergent Prize

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A while ago, I posted details about the press conference I went to where I learnt that Van Cleef was holding an annual competition with Tashkeel for emerging artists.

I knew as soon as I went to the event that I really wanted to participate.

After all, the stakes couldn’t be higher – the winner will have the opportunity to travel to Paris to attend courses at L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels. With such an attractive and tempting prospect, I knew I had to crack a shot at it! I set about thinking of ways to interpret the theme. As I said before, the theme of the contest is called “Turning point” which is all about when an artist reaches a state of inspiration and the work comes together.

This is what I sent in to explain my artwork –

As an artist, I have noticed that while painting, there’s a moment in time – a “turning point” where the rest of the world appears to dissolve and melt away and the elements of your piece start to synchronize together. An unfinished painting that is JUST starting to come alive seduces you and leads you to a sense of addiction. All background white noise transitions to uniformed murmured hums and ceases to be a distraction anymore.

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I wanted to convey this magical metamorphosis to artistic zen in a visual way. My concept was to create an illustrated mural of myself painting abstract lines and paint splashes. I wanted to create random explosions of colours, which gradually turn into exotic birds flying away, thus conveying the painting literally coming alive. By playing around with space and dimension, my aim was to reiterate the idea of artwork coming alive by having it literally come off the paper– the paper being concept or imagination and turning into reality by reaching out from the dimensions and invading the viewers “space.”

And here are some photographs to document the stages of the artwork. The first hurdle was getting the portrait to resemble me. I do a lot of portraits for clients, but I must say, it’s very challenging to draw myself. I tried not to let my vanity get the best of me by chopping and changing too many things as I didn’t want to faff about for too long. I worked from this reference photo taken at the Thrive event I drew live for –

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The beginning of the mural - the initial portrait

The beginning of the mural – the initial portrait

Once I was happy with that I proceeded to draw the rest of my body. It had to be done in a convincing way where it looked like I was painting. I naturally drew myself in a blazer, since that’s my wardrobe staple! I can’t get enough blazers, y’know!

painting in the rest of the body in acrylics

painting in the rest of the body in acrylics

Then came the fun part. The random splashes of paint. I used bright inks and watered down paints and dropped them onto the mural. I let them merge together and bleed for a little while, then I blew around the paint with a straw creating spontaneous bright splashes. Although I wanted it to look impulsive, I still had to plan the right colours at the right areas because the splashes would be turning into parrots so the right combinations were very important.

Joining the splashes into the birds

Joining the splashes into the birds

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After I painted a few birds, I needed to make some extra wings which will protrude out from the board. I did this by cutting them out of cardboard and mixing it with emulsion and a little cement from a hardware store. This quick drying mixture gives the wings a little bit of strength so they won’t be floppy.

Cutting out the wings from cardboard

Cutting out the wings from cardboard

Applying a paste with emulsion and cement on the wings.

Applying a paste with emulsion and cement on the wings.

After that, I painted the rest of the birds and added a few more random drips, splashes of paints and lines to make the painting look more connected as a whole.

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I noticed my hand was looking really off too, so I fixed it. This is what the final piece looked like!

I’m pretty chuffed with it! Fingers crossed!!!! 🙂

Final piece

Final piece

Art Nights at DIFC – November

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If you are an art fanatic like me, the idea of waiting all year for Art Dubai to arrive to get your art fix can be disheartening and tedious. Cue …ART NIGHTS! Various “art nights” are held at Dubai’s art hubs, DIFC and Al Serkhal, particularly in the winter. This is where the galleries sync up for an evening and show their latest pieces to the public accompanied with some great little snacks and scintillating live music. They frequently hire live artists to lend some youthful energy to the night. There’s nothing quite like being amongst the exciting buzz and meandering through the newest gallery exhibitions with a toasty amuse bouche in hand. If you haven’t been yet, (uhh…why?!) I highly recommend it.

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I popped in for a little while this evening to have a browse at some of the latest pieces on display this month. First I made a beeline for The Opera Gallery, which had some stunning giant portraits by Spanish painter Lita Cabellut. I found these really fascinating and I was drawn to the unique surface of these works which is her signature style of layering plastic over a painterly ground. This results in a texturally rich surface which is cracked in parts of the painting, exposing certain areas yet glassy-coated and laminated in others – almost like something preserved which is naturally ageing.
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Another favorite artist from this gallery is Roc Roussey’s work, whose paintings I have noticed and had my eye on for some time now. I love how evocative and haunting his imagery is, his strong oriental themes and how there’s such a sense of vibrance and movement. He appeals to me because of his strong illustration background which really shows through his work.

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Moving along to Caudro Gallery – this was one I was most excited about stopping by at because of a special photography exhibition Harper’s Bazaar was hosting. These images were portraits of women representing Middle Eastern Aristocracy and the photographs were taken by artist Ayaad Damouni. I love the high fashion imagery juxtaposed with opulent colours, patterns and prints. The look was completed with the odd splash of luxurious furs thrown in for that “old money” look. Luxury at it’s finest!

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I was very intrigued by the mysterious and sombre paintings of Aidan Salakhova. Her work spoke to me and hit me on a personal level as her subject matter often deals with gender themes and women’s sexuality in the context of religion regarding matters of prohibition and the different ideas of beauty. This is a subject I am often in conflict with, myself and find it difficult to broach due to its delicate and taboo nature so I’m impressed with painters that can explore these themes successfully in their very own visual language. There’s something about her work that reminds me of Salvador Dali a little. Take a look –
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Over at Art Sawa, Rafael Burrios solo show – Unfathomable was taking place. Venezuelan artist Burrios concept is based on the alteration of our perceptive mental state and he manipulates and challenges traditional ideas of vision and perception through his colourful geometric sculptures. I liked the art exhibition at the gallery, however, to get the true effect of his sculptures you really must see his huge installations set in real cityscape atmospheres which I have been looking at online.

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Ayyam gallery featured Syrian artist Mouteea Murad’s work. He is inspired by cubism, geometric abstraction and Kandinsky. Due to the delicate political state that is happening now in his native country, the artist yearns for a sense of balance, nostalgia and happiness. These wistful sentiments are conveyed through his large bright canvases. These are engaging, decorative and appealing to the eye and I loved the sense of harmony and attractive saturated colours depicted throughout.

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And now for something completely different! I really loved these artistic cushion and stationary designs by Rana Salam. They were fun, cheerful kitsch and a bit retro. Check them out!

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Great night out! Now, roll on Quoz Happens!

Rami Kadi’s new collection – Le gala des mysteres

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I did a double take. My pulse quickened. I felt giddy. No joke, that was exactly my sequence of emotions when I saw the new Rami Kadi collection entitled Le Gala des Mysteres. The Lebanese designer has been one of my favorites for quite some time and I was both enchanted and spellbound with his new collection – absolutely breathtaking.

I instantly felt an ATTACK of inspiration and just HAD to draw it immediately because it inspired me so! The collection has such a wonderful dark fairytale element just seething with drama and flair. A tiny bit gothic too, with the baroque-style details and dark bejewelled tones. P.S – just look at those gorgeous fine details on the back – Mamma mia!

What I like about it is the immaculate sense of taste executed throughout. I find alot of Arab designers go OTT on the bling and crystal work, but this is a perfect example of how to layer and use a tonne of embellishment in the right way and knowing when to stop. This results in gowns that glisten irresistibly, like a seductive wink from a mysterious beautiful woman leaving you wanting more.

It’s sophisticated, beautiful with a brothers Grimm appeal and truly the stuff dreams are made of. Bravo!

Check out my illustrations and some photos of the collection.

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Gianvito Rossi Event

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They say a woman can conquer the world – provided she’s wearing the right shoes!

I, (along with most women I suspect) am guilty of being somewhat of a high-heel hoarder. You know The Little Mermaid and her 20 thingamambobs? Yeah … I can relate!

Anyhoo …so when I found out that famous Italian shoe designer Gianvito Rossi was coming to Dubai as part of the Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Week line up, I was just a tad ecstatic!! Even more so when I was asked to illustrate live at the in-store after party event at Harvey Nichols Dubai.

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To start off the evening, Gianvito Rossi was first interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia editor-in-chief Louise Nichol on stage at Mall of Emirates in front of an audience. He spoke a little bit about his experiences in Dubai, what his thoughts were of the glamour of Middle Eastern women and a bit about his new collection. His designs are known to be sleek and contemporary yet feminine and functional.

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His signature speciality are the patent leather and perspex heels (also known as the plexi pump) which are the most sought-after design from his collections. It’s very cleverly designed so it highlights part of the arch of the foot in a sexy flattering way, giving the illusion of elongated legs – just perfect for the days where you yearn to stroll around in your skinnies feeling like Gisele Bundchen! Mr Rossi had mentioned that he had designed a selection of 3 perspex heels in metallic shades exclusively for Dubai, which is what the in-store event was all about.

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I was told to illustrate the event as it was happening and basically capture the general ambience. It was a glamorous exclusive affair, with the glitterati of Dubai stopping by to nibble on canapes whilst having an impromptu chat with the man of the hour himself.

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I was inspired by, not just the shoes, but the beautiful outfits the immaculately polished guests were wearing. The party was sprinkled with women in metallic knits to high low pleated skirts to peplums – decisions decisions! I had to work very fast as there was only an hour and a half to draw, so I went for a more abstract illustration, with washes of colour and finally, inked in with a dark pen.

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Here’s the finished illustration!

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During the event, one of the guests won a personalised illustration of herself by me as a prize. Here’s how it turned out!

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My illustration is still displayed at Harvey Nichols’ shoe department where you can see it just chillin’ on an easel.

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Personally, I have been coveting Aennis Eunis shoes for a while, but after seeing Gianvito’s super-sleek black plexi pump, I’ve discovered I have a brand new shoe crush!!! Hey! No judging my extravagant vice!! Atleast they’re cheaper than diamonds…

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