Monkith Saaid (1958-2008) was a distinct presence among Arab sculptors of his generation. His artistic experience combined creativity, an intensity of ideas, talent, innovation and a humanist tendency which left him completely open to the dynamics of life in this world. During his lifetime, Saaid was renowned for his spontaneous, joyful laughter. He was not at all afraid of death, yet his love of life truly astounded us.
George Tarabishi is a noted Syrian author and translator of many books that enriched the Arabic language library during the past three decades. Tarabishi, who currently resides in Paris, has been the subject of much debate and discussion after his book “Nakd Nakd Al 'Akl Al Arabi, Nazariyyat Al 'Akl [Critique of the Critique of Arab Reason, Theory of Reason].” “Theory of Reason” is part of a trilogy, the remaining two parts of which are to be published in the coming years.
Helen Karam is a prominent Lebanese artist known for her magical canvases of colors defying all categorization and for her bold human and social statements. Having become more and more prominent in the Lebanese art scene in recent years, her works have also become recognized internationally, in London, Paris, Kuwait, to and most recently Davidson College in the U.S., (February 2010), where her artwork and presence were an integral part of a festival celebrating the experience of women in the Middle East.
Syrian artist Walid Agha is well-known for his paintings, which draw upon the rich cultural traditions of his country. In October 2008, Rebecca Joubin interviewed him in his art studio in Sahnayah, Damascus. Here he talks about the sources of his inspiration as well as future plans.
Writer Ahdaf Soueif was in Washington for three weeks in March to participate in an unprecedented festival of Arab arts and culture hosted by the Kennedy Center that involved 800 artists from 22 countries. Soueif worked as a consultant on “Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World,” introducing curator Alicia Adams to various artists and acting as a sounding board for ideas as the festival took shape.
You were born and raised in Karbala, a city revered by Shiite Muslims. Can you recall the first moment theater touched your life as a child?
Houston-based physician Fady Joudah is also a noted poet and translator of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry. In a recent conversation, we discussed how his experiences as a doctor have infused his poetry and writing.
Randa is a friend. A real friend, someone who you are certain will be with you when you need her, someone who will surprise you by her attentions, her consistency, and her own way of making sure people she cares for are fine. But Randa’s priority is being a mother for the three wonderful children who surround her. Her daughter, Nour, studies art and lives in the same building; her eldest son, Pierre, studies in London; and her youngest, Ulysse, remains with her, at home, attending a middle school nearby.
You are considered one of Iraq’s most beloved novelists and your career spans more than half a century. At the same time, you served as a judge for 37 years. How exactly did you balance these two fundamentally different experiences?
So spoke the police officer overseeing the retrieval of my debit card from an ATM machine in Cairo. We had five hours to kill before the process would be successful, so I decided to interview him in his office about his reaction to “The Yacoubian Building.” He gladly obliged me. His comment above was in response to my question about the police brutality in the film version – actually a scene where a young political protester was tortured in a prison, with Mubarak’s picture in the background. “It’s the system that is corrupt. You have power according to how much money you have.