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Tea with Culture

A podcast about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Film Screening: Art:Interrupted 

is a documentary by Hattie Bowering that was filmed before and during India's first contemporary art biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012. It's a behind the scenes look at how a new biennale is set up in a city that doesn't have the infrastructure for a biennale and the challenges faced by its founders and artists. 

The film was first screened in the UAE last November at the Sharjah Art Foundation and will be screened in Dubai on Thursday, 22nd September at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue

Art:Interrupted gives you an insight into how the city handled its first biennale which was also the antithesis of biennales and art fairs around the world, the reaction of the people of Kochi and the challenges faced by everyone involved. Over a span of few months, many in Kochi who weren't familiar with what a biennale is had a sense of pride their city hosted India's first contemporary art biennale, welcoming visitors from India and abroad, but most importantly, enjoying and engaging with a contemporary art event that was made for them.

The film is endearing and funny, everyone in it believe in the biennale and the positive effect it can have on the city. (Disclosure, I was one of supporters of the crowdfunding campaign to raise money for this film). 

Here's the trailer, and if you are in Dubai, I strongly recommend you go watch this film. I do hope it gets to be screened in more cities.  

Shot in 2012, Art: Interrupted goes behind the scenes as India prepared to host its first contemporary art biennale in the historic port town of Fort Kochi, Kerala. From the frontline of art, the film followed Indian and international artists as they created new and ambitious works in beautiful but derelict colonial spaces. 

It is a very entertaining film set in a part of the world that is colourful, vibrant and loud and presents a picture of India and its cultural connections that everybody can respond to.

Overcoming limited resources, errant labour unions, equatorial heat and swarms of mosquitos, the artists, the organisers and the local community managed – against the odds – to pull off an event that drew over 400,000 visitors and found a new and appreciative audience for contemporary art.

Event details
Date and time: Thursday, 22nd September at 7.00pm (the film is 51 minutes long)
Venue: A4 Space, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (location map)
Free entry  `


NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center - Performances in September 2016

Zahed Sultan

A new season of performances at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center is back after a summer break. The season started with Nik Bärtsch's Mobile, a 27 hour performance that started on 1st September and ended at 10pm on 2nd September. I attended approximately 10 hours of the performance during the two days. It was amazing, felt like a rhythmic rituals slumber party. 

Below is the line up for the rest of the month (click on each title for more information) and I will share with you the list of all the performances every month for the rest of this season.

Going by the previous season, expect an eclectic line up of performances that engages with the community. All the events are free to attend, but you must book tickets online in advance. 


When: 7th September at 4.00pm (Family Matinee), 8th September at 8.00pm, 9th September at 5.00pm 
Where: Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi 


Badke is not a search for a long-lost authenticity, but rather a nuanced expression of both a sense of belonging and a desire to be part of the wider world. But behind the relentless energy and joy also lie darker moments, alluding to life under occupation and violence. This other reality seeps into the celebratory surface of Badke. The dancers push themselves to new extremes, driven by Nasser Al-Faris’ infectious score. But in the end, however, one thought prevails: We will dance until we collapse.


Zahed Sultan and DJ Dolores
When: 21st and 22nd September at 8.00pm
Where: Black Box, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi   


Resonance is an evolving audio-visual project by Kuwaiti multimedia artist Zahed Sultan. Requiring sensory participation from an audience, Resonance blurs the boundaries of what is real and what is perceived, in an immersive live performance integrating music, visuals, and light.


Breakbeats and dub meet the sounds of Brazil’s Northeast in the this special musical hybrid from producer, bandleader and musician DJ Dolores, which reunites his original band Orchestra Santa Massa in a blind date with his newest project, Frevotron.


Summer Series - Sunny, Salty Memories by Olympia Kappou

This is the last post in my Summer Series. It encapsulates what an ideal summer holiday would be for me. If you didn't go on a summer vacation like me, hope you were able to dream of a summer holiday through my posts, or made you think of planning a quick summer getaway soon before the weather changes.


Summer Series - Zanzibar from Above by Mathias Arvedsen

21 days on Zanzibar with unforgettable moments. Stone Town, Jambiani, Paje, Matemwe, Kizimkazi and Makunduchi is some of the places featured in this film. Beautiful nature, delicious fruit and smiling openminded people is three of many reasons to go there.

Did you know the shortest war ever recorded by man is the Anglo-Zanzibar War where the British bombarded the Beit al Hukum Palace and after 38 minutes, a ceasefire was called.


Summer Series - Reverie of Vietnam by Oliver Astrologo

Set off on a 1650Km north to south journey: capturing the best wonders of Vietnam: Hanoi ancient quarter, the breathtaking Halong Bay, the claustrophobic caves in Trang An, the glamorous fabric merchants in Hoi An, the secret temples inside the marble mountain in Da Nang, the historical old capital Hue, the wet and tropical mekong delta and the white sandy beaches at Phu Quoc.

Trip date 29 Mar - 15 Apr 2015.


Summer Series - Watchtowers of Turkey by Leonardo Dalessandri

This video went viral a couple of years ago, but it is always worth revisiting.

Over than 3500 km traveled in 20 days, capturing landscapes from the bluish tones of Pamukkale to the warm ones of Cappadocia, the all passing by a great variation of colors, lights and weathers through six other cities. 

I've crossed Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Istanbul, Konya; and tasted baklava, kunefe, doner, the turkish tea; and got the chance to meet the soul of Turkey, its people.. and got their smiles and their hospitality.

This is Turkey lived by me from north to south, and I hope you enjoy it. 


Summer Series - Sri Lanka

Everyone I know that have been to Sri Lanka say how beautiful it is and how friendly the people are. Considering how close it is to Dubai, I have not yet visited, but hope to do so in the near future.


Summer Series - Sicily 

If I ever go to Sicily, think I will just swim, eat, sleep. Repeat. 


Summer Series - Taiwan: You Can’t Go Home Again

“How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves. So far, so much between, you can never go home again. You can go home, it's good to go home, but you never really get all the way home again in your life. " -Thomas Wolfe


Summer Series - Summer Clouds over Tokyo

I've been to Tokyo twice, but never really experienced the views you see in this video. How nice it must be to stare into the sky and watch the day pass by.