In case you are looking for the WEP post, click here.
|is not a letter|
Psst...did you know? P doesn't exist in Arabic? Yup, no P. Many uneducated Arabs substitute P with B which are both bilabial consonants (need both lips to be pronounced, in plainspeak), and say Bebsi for Pepsi.
|No P in Arabic. Arab decorator overcompensating! :) Spotted |
many of these on the Ring Road, Cairo. Egypt.
Arabs are forever being made the butt of jokes because of this...Have you heard that one about the guy who wanted to 'find a blace to bark his car because he wanted to bray?' Yeah me too, about five million times, it kind of goes flat after the first. Let's turn the tobic to more
Pitbull featured in this Cheb Khaled number
For a culture that is supposed to shun image-making as close to being idolatrous, the Arabs churn out pretty large piles of photographs! Click here to find a small selection of them and the kind of work they do.
Also, just a wee mention of the Arab Image Foundation, set up in 1997 in Beirut. It collects photographs from the Arab countries and diaspora, and preserves the history of photography in the region. They have a collection of 600,000 photographs till date.
However, today I want to talk about just one particular photographer - Mosa’ab El Shamy, who is a young Egyptian, self-taught, freelance photojournalist. He started off by documenting the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and went on to follow those events through the years. His photographs are powerful, yet intimate, sometimes heart-wrenching, at others heart-warming, at times both. Strangely compelling. Go to his Flicker stream to see more. A word of warning though - some of them are graphic! so not for the queasy or the softhearted. Read his interview in the WSJ and on Time here, both interviews carry his images too.
Protesters clash with police in Cairo after the events at Port Said.© Mosa’ab El Shamy
|The lion on Qasr el Nil bridge after many protesters were shot in the eye. |
© Mosa’ab El Shamy
|Protests in Cairo on Armed Forces Day, 6th October|
© Mosa’ab El Shamy
If there is a biochemical that controls human affinity to paints/colours and the facility with a brush, then the Arabs seem to have an unfairly large dollop of it in their genes!
I don’t have any statistics to prove it, of course, but I am sure that artist per capita population in the Arab world must be one of the highest! I don’t know what it is- this intense sunlight – does that bring a unique clarity not possible elsewhere? Or is it the forbidding, stark beauty of the desert landscape that underpins a unique perspective? Whatever it is, it makes for a profusion of artworks.
|Painting exhibition at the Atelier, Downtown, Cairo.|
Anyways, I digress. Like Mosa’ab, I wanted to tell you about one particular Bahraini artist – Abdul Wahab Al Kooheji, an architect by training, he has spent his entire career archiving the old architecture of Bahrain through his paintings. The kind of dwelling spaces that have mostly been lost now in the rush of modernity. See more of his work by clicking this link.
There is a common Perception that Arabs are an angry, violent race, but this is largely untrue. Given the constraints they operate under, the young people are extremely well-behaved, Polished and Patient. Of course, as I said before, there are a few rotten apples everywhere. But all things considered, the majority are Paragons if you ask for my free and frank.