Culture

A unique perspective on the rich arts and cultural scene in the Middle East.



Shehrayar Shaderan
Written by :
on : Tuesday, 8 Apr, 2014

Reading Ferdowsi in Tehran

Despite numerous changes over the years, classical texts have remained the basis for Persian literature studies in Iranian schools, from the old madrasas to the present day. This has led to endless heated debates over what to include and what to leave out of the school syllabus. Like other countries, children in Iran do not read as much as they should, and so for many young people school is their first exposure to influential classical works. Consequently, for years Persian literature stu...

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Juliet Highet
Written by :
on : Saturday, 1 Feb, 2014

A Theater of Limitless Possibilities

In the video Nature Morte (Dead Nature), 2009, by artist Akram Zaatari, two men silently prepare for military action in the cold light of dawn. The older man, in reality a former member of the Lebanese resistance, had featured in an earlier video by Zaatari ironically titled All is Well on the Border, 1997. While the older man prepares a bomb, the younger one carefully mends his jacket. At the end, the older man leaves with his weapon, the younger one stays behind. Zaatari says of the fi...

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Mina Al-Droubi
Written by :
on : Monday, 27 Jan, 2014

Past meets Present in Egypt

They say that history repeats itself. Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was hailed as a hero after he headed the coup d’état that deposed King Farouk in 1952....

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Amy Assad
Written by :
on : Friday, 13 Dec, 2013

Capturing the Human Story

Saddam Hussein’s scorched-earth policy in Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War resulted in an environmental catastrophe. On assignment at the time to document the ongoing devastat...

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Nicholas Birch
Written by :
on : Sunday, 1 Dec, 2013

Poetry Leads the Turkish Republic

Turkey’s prime minister has a poetry obsession. Barely a speech of his goes by without him quoting some. Back in his conservative democratic days, his favorite political ...

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Noel Brehony
Written by :
on : Thursday, 7 Nov, 2013

Learning from Past Mistakes

Jason Pack has assembled articles by both new and well-known experts on Libya to produce a book of consistently high quality, which is not all that common in edited works. Both tim...

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Tara Aghdashloo
Written by :
on : Friday, 25 Oct, 2013

The Messenger

Abdulnasser Gharem is the highest-selling artist in the Arab world. Let us get that out of the way, because as important as it sounds, it really is irrelevant to the value of h...

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Juliet Highet
Written by :
on : Friday, 18 Oct, 2013

A Power Façade

An intriguingly titled exhibition, Sultans Are No Sultans, inaugurated the Nour Festival of Arts. Although it is the first solo show in London by Tunisian artist Mourad Salem, hi...

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Caryle Murphy
Written by :
on : Friday, 11 Oct, 2013

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Wadjda is an adventurous pre-teen with a simple enough request: she wants a bicycle. But in Saudi Arabia, bicycles are only for boys. Girls are not supposed to exert themselves...

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Amy Assad
Written by :
on : Tuesday, 1 Oct, 2013

Pearls of Wisdom

A large, seventeenth-century painting of a French noblewoman decorates the entrance of the London Victoria and Albert Museum's latest exhibition. Though a fine portrait, there is n...

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