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UAE art scene’s “kenza”

May 29, 2010

Even before I went to visit Kenza Art Gallery, I knew I was going to blog about it. Reason being – whilst majority of the Dubai art galleries are based in Al Quoz, this cozy gallery is located in a dainty corner at Souq Madinat Jumeirah surrounded by ‘I Love UAE’ souvenirs and textiles stores.

When researching about Kenza online, the only result I got from the web is Time Out’s review, basically a brief outline – “This little gallery claims its USP is that it is the only place in the world where one can see the works of Sumaira Isaacs. Ms Isaacs has shown work in the prestigious Mina A’ Salam and Grand Hyatt hotels.” []

Even as both the statements are contrasting, it made me frown as the gallery is much more than just that. Surely Kenza’s audience is the touristy collectors, one must appreciate they it also has a different appeal, being in such a location.

During my visit, I came across Airaj Isaacs, son of Sumaira Isaacs, who not only manages the gallery and is the curator of most their art events, but also appreciates art and has a deep understanding of art history, genres and the global art market, growing up in an art house.

Also, as region’s most art galleries concentrate on renting out spaces for emerging artists, which is again commendable for platform – setting, this charming outlet focuses more on the artists and their artworks, explaining the ideology behind it – which to me is, frankly, fascinating.

The reason I say this is because if one ever passes by Kenza, it is not just about stepping into an art gallery, but the entire experience of finding it amidst the little surrounding stores, viewing large contemporary mature artworks in that inviting ambiance and being pleasantly astounded by its simplicity and space.

Honestly, even though it is a petite corner, it surely is a must – visit recommended by theartskitchen; if nothing else but to simply witness a retrospective of Ms Issacs’s largely contrasting profound pieces.

And if you do get a chance to bump into her son, he will unquestionably welcome you, keep you entertained with his in depth art knowledge and, on a passing note, may perhaps mention how the gallery’s name is inspired by his little sister, Kenza Isaacs, who is most likely to become the gallery’s future ‘Treasure’.


The third of The Fridge Concert Series – don’t forget to miss this one!

May 24, 2010

Dubai Chamber Choir

Tonight sees the third week of The Fridge Cencert Series, with Dubai Chamber Choir performing at The Fridge, Al Quoz at 19:30 – again proving to offer something different for the UAE audience.

Bringing together individuals from various walks of life, Dubai Chamber Choir is made up of locally based amateur and semi-professional singers, who under the direction of conductor Stuart Squire, will be performing an evening of choral music seldom heard in the UAE.

The little said about the The Fridge Concert Series is better as the past two weeks saw AFIF and Noush offering something spectacular and completely unique in every sense in terms of lyrics, performance, music styles and genres – surely refreshing for this region’s music lovers.

Don’t forget about the contribution in support to The Fridge : AED 50 per person, free for minus 18.

RSVP is essential:
Location map on
For more info:
Tel: +9714 3477793

Just a matter of time

May 20, 2010

By Mamtu Manghnani

Even though this may not be relevant to arts and culture in the UAE, I thought it to be as significant as bringing an eye opener of a news piece.

Whilst explaining the concept of to several people, which is promoting UAE talent and galleries, not just in terms of listings but better editorial with reviews, interviews and so on (a fairly brand new concept for the UAE), our entire team has often faced the repetitive question: How do you monetize this?

From my academic knowledge and past experience, we have been instilled on the new changing phenomena of everything moving online as well as the strengths of the digital world. For some reason I find, people are still naïve about it, if I have used the right word, especially in this part of the world.

For an online publication to do well in the beginning, thanks to father Google, new media believers like myself, can rely on many revenue generation programs such as Google Ad sense and Amazon Associates as supplementary ways of revenue.

In online publications, blogs, or anything formed within this online sphere, the formula is simple – The more people visit your site/ the more people believe in your concept = the more money you make.

Surely there are many successful stories of the birth of webzines, but the question really is how many people actually believe in it and surely, in this region, not many.

One example that should be given is a blog called, which was started by some guy, sitting somewhere in the West just posting information on technology, health, environment and lifestyle. Even as he did make enough revenue to cover his few expenses (through Gogle AdSense and a high number of hits), his blog was eventually spotted and sponsored by Discover Magazine. AND he is and was a full – time blogger.

What I did realize yesterday, it is not about making people visit the website, but it is about making people believe that this online convergence is new media and like any other media field can be highly profitable.

And whilst sites and blogs like Twitter are already proving itself, it really is just a matter of time when big publications make this significant move, and surely some already have; also receiving a commendable response.

Recommended Reading:

Disney’s Prince of Persia – How exciting?

May 18, 2010

By Paul Williams

Like many video gamers I found myself in a joyful mood when the world was told it was to expect a Prince of Persia movie – a game that was released way back in 1989 as a two dimensional side scrolling game and has since evolved into the astounding visual experience.

While I am weary of what the movie will turn out to be, due to the history of movies based on video games (pointedly Alone In The Dark and the cringe worthy sequel), I hoped that with the right actors, script and director, a passable film can be created, but of course this idea went down the drain when I realized Disney was involved.

Being fair, Prince of Persia isn’t exactly known for being one of the gorier games around nor even a violent one at that, as it tends to rely on puzzles as well as fighting enemies to finish the game, but it is as though Disney sucked all the fun out of going to watch this movie by becoming involved.

To tell you the truth I would have preferred Prince of Persia to look like the illegitimate offspring of The Scorpion King and Mortal Kombat rather than the over hyping of Jake Gyllenhaal doing free running in parachute pants, which is what the trailer seems to be making it out to be.

Anyway, enough of my babbling – Prince of Persia is coming out this Thursday, May 20. Be sure that if you watch, leave a comment or send us your views on what is supposed to be one of the summer box office hits.

OR one of our writer’s surely will.

UAE’s first book club? AT LEAST first formed by UAE’s Twitter Community

May 16, 2010

Posted by Mamtu Manghnani (@theartskitchen)

Whilst twitter has already proved to be an exceptional networking tool for organizations, it has allowed individuals with shared interests to form communal groups – such as the Twit Book Club, shaped by a certain group of book lovers from the UAE twitterati community.

Being a newcomer to the club and one of the early ones to attend the Saturday meeting, I didn’t know what to expect from this gathering or meet.

Even though I come from a city like Mumbai, which is ‘seemingly so’ abundant in arts and culture, including the written arts, I’ve never witnessed the formation of a book club or even attended one. But then again, in India, the reading population seems to be decreasing, number of authors increasing and role of the younger generation is increasingly diverting into that of an entrepreneurial one.

Which is why the concept of the Twit Book Club excites me, for not just reasons such as to meet people with similar interests, discuss authors and opinions, have casual debates and conversations, but to also come across individuals from diverse backgrounds who do not pose the usual Dubai-ite question, “So, What do you do for a living?”

However this was the second time in one week, I found someone asking my twitter name before my actual name and this, to me, is intriguing.

It makes late bloomers, like myself, think on how important is your twitter name these days and cleary, in such meetings and social gatherings/ ‘Tweetups’ – very.

Going back to the Twit Book Club – BOTTOM LINE – it’s really just for anyone who has an interest in reading, wants to mingle with literature enthusiasts, doesn’t mind reading a book a month to maintain the opinion flow in the monthly meetings, doesn’t mind sharing an opinion and wants to benefit from the Magrudy’s Loyalty Card (after four purchases, fifth book free) and a 20% off on all monthly book club selections from Jashanmal, who also sponsor the meetings (space & refreshments) at Shelter Dubai.

Call it whatever, maybe just a gut feeling – but this book club can grow into something symbolic, especially for the ‘lit lovers’ in this region, with probably a small contribution, especially monetary, from the members and a slight focus on the region’s non – twitteratis.

Recommended Selections (as voted by the members)
June –
July –

Follow The Twit Book Club – @TBookClub, #TwitBookClub (If I’ve got it right)

The first skateboard art exhibition – FAKIE

May 14, 2010

Posted By Mamtu Manghnani

Being one of the first skateboard art exhibitions in the UAE, FAKIE, curated by Fn Designs, was indeed a commendable demonstration of artworks by thirty artists of different nationalities.

It did not only have the usual creative ignite as many other Fn Designs events such as SKETCH, but in fact much more and broke all barriers in being a networking place of serious artists and art enthusiasts.

The list of participating artists include: List of participating artist : Arya Hawker, Darwin Guevarra, Diya Ajit (Chroma), Emma Pinkerton, Evan Collission, Eyan Lomuntad, Faouzi Khilifi (ElSeed, Fathima Mohideen, Fatima bin Saifan, Hind Mazeina, Janet Bellotto, Joseph Manata (Pinkblot), Joshua Watts, Khalid Mazeina, Kris Balerite (Dozign), Lateefa bint Maktoum AlMaktoum, Mark Ganzon (Cloud88), Mellissa Guevarra, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Nargis Ahsan, Nivedita Saha, Petra Mattar, Rashid Al Mulla, Renata Giovannoni, Robert James Gibbs, Rollan Rodriguez (Evildogboy), Salama Naasib, Sarah Lahti, Vivek Premchandran (UBIK), Wafa Hasher AlMaktoum (Jawa).

The only glitch was finding the place Shelter, which like most other Dubai – based art galleries is based in AL Quoz, but one can easily miss it, if not a smart driver. But then again, with the crowd outside and a map on the Shelter Dubai website, spotting the location is a mere hiccup.

All in all, FAKIE is an eminent display and well curated show by Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum, Founder and Director of Fn Designs – clearly depicting the eclectic mix of nationalities ingrained within the UAE society and a proof of the budding vibrant art culture.

Other Details:
Start Time: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 7:00pm
End Time: Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 10:00pm
Location: Shelter – Rd. 318 – Al Quoz 4 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Laura Bush’s new book: Spoken from The Heart

May 12, 2010

Laura Bush's New Book Posted by Mamtu Manghnani

Sixteen months after leaving the white house, Former First Lady Laura Bush writes from her heart about every “public detail”, controversy and success whilst living in the White House.

She also touches on the September 11 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and the downed plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and what happened in the days, months, and years that followed.

She gives a personal account of her childhood, her teenage years, marriage with Former President George W. Bush, her family, relations between her family and in – laws as well as a human touch to the critical political years in Bush’s office.

Whilst many people may have forgotten how calm she seemed during those difficult years, especially after the attacks, with this book she reminds people of the dignified woman she really is.

She ends the book with this quote, “Sometime during that first spring and summer back in Texas, I began to feel the buoyancy of my own newfound freedom. After nearly eight years of hyper vigilance, of watching for the next danger or tragedy that might be coming, I could at last exhale; I could simply be.”