Monday, April 23, 2007

A Cultural Island of Happiness

As the art and culture are further looked at theArts Center investment opportunity in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi has put its wheels in motions and has commissioned leading architects to create "Saadiyat Island" - meaning the island of happiness. This will be a leading cultural hub that will host the infamous names of museums such as the Guggenheim and the Louvre. Architects include Frank Ghery, Zaha Hadid, Tado Ando, and Jean Nouvel - my favorite.

Photos include model of Hadid's Performing Arts Centre and Nouvel's Classical Museum.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Emirates Palace

Abu Dhabi is located next to the emirate of Dubai and is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. What makes the city on an island different, compared to Dubai, is a more laid back atmosphere and the traffic is not excruciating. Many people opt for taking taxis as you can get to about anywhere for less than 10 dhs (dirhams: $1 US=3.66 AED).

Driving along the corniche, soothing turquoise water hugs the shore on one side as a handful of 4 and 5 star hotels, which also house some great restaurants, sit on the other. Further along is the ultimate 5-star hotel (which is more like a 7-star), Emirates Palace, made for the ultimate fairytale experience.

As you drive through the gates of Emirates Palace, you may think you are entering the Sheikh's palace, which is actually located nearby. The experience will blow you away as you wander through the Arabian style, majestic palace constructed with 1 grand and 114 smaller domes, adorned with gold, silver and marble. You can spend hours lounging around the main floor, but for an incomparable experience order the Emirate Palace cappuccino, a delicious cup of espresso, steamed milk and perfect froth sprinkled with gold leaf. Now that’s Majestic!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Torrential Rains in Dubai

Not a common occurence in April, Dubai has been experiencing the occasional downpour. Temperatures are now rising to 30 degrees C, and the nights are also comfortably warm.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Sharjah Biennial 8 Opening

The Arts Area in Sharjah was a buzz with artists, curators, art afficionados and delegates who were enjoying the opening reception of "Still Life". The Sharjah Museum seemed to be a never-ending maze of artworks, as the contemporary museum consists of two adjoining buildings with a coinciding exhibition by the Emirates Fine Art Society.

A Gala dinner continued across the street, which served some delicious dishes including lobster bisque and some rare fruits. Speeches included the award announcement The party continued in Dubai at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club hosted by The Third Line gallery and Bidoun. The music was booming inside (which left something to be desired) but the waterfront terrace was missing a bit of ambience for the guests looking to dance under the stars. But it was the intermingling that connected Cairo, Istanbul, New York, Toronto and other cities that kept people from leaving.

Photo: His Highness speaking with Italian artist Claudia Losi; far left biennial curator Mohammed Kazem; far right background SB8 artistic director Jack Persekian.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sharjah Biennial 8

Off to Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, the place where you may encounter bears (so the myth goes), or spend 2 hours driving around in circles (which do not exist) trying to get out of the Emirate and only 15km away to Dubai. This was the experience last night as I dropped Fred Eversley off to his host's home and drove Yvonne Lammerich and I back to Dubai.

Here is a sneak preview of works unfolding in "Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change" curated by Mohammed Kazem, Eva Scharrer, and Jonathan Watkins.

The Sharjah Biennal 8 opens tonight April 4 at 5pm. The biennial runs until June 4, 2007.

More to come....