Egypt to Reopen Historic Jewish Synagogue Next January

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

 

The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry announced on Friday the reopening of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue next January, which is one of the largest in the Middle East and underwent restoration beginning in 2017.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani went to Alexandria on the same day to tour and inspect the latest developments in restoring the Jewish synagogue and a number of other archaeological sites, including the Greco-Roman Museum, the Alexandria National Museum and jewelry museums.

The statement added that the project of restoration of the Jewish synagogue and the Greco-Roman Museum comes within the interest of the Egyptian government to preserve all its monuments and heritage, whether it is Pharaonic or Jewish or Coptic or Islamic.

Minister Khaled El Anani touring the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

It is also part of the cooperation protocol signed between the ministry of antiquities and the engineering authority of the armed forces in 2017, which aims to develop the Giza Pyramids area, and carry out the restoration of the Alexan Palace in Assiut.

Egyptian Streets

 

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2007 Financial Meltdown and Azerbaijan

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

Globalization is a phenomenon with its own unique benefits and challenges. One of the major challenges that came with globalization is the delicate way the global financial systems were linked. While this was very much advantageous and allowed more stable economies to support the developing world, it also created a system that was very vulnerable to rapid changes. One such change that had long-standing effects came in 2007, which later came to be known as the “Great Recession”.

 

The Great Recession was precipitated with the housing market crash in the united states, when mortgage-backed securities failed, and created a domino effect which resulted in a financial crisis that started in the US but before long, spread to the rest of the world. The causes and the events leading up to the crisis have been extensively documented by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the book “Too Big To Fail”, and by Michael Lewis in his book “The Big Short”. The initial crash of the housing market led to many significant consequences, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a massive bailout by the US Government exceeding $600 Billion and an epidemic of homelessness and joblessness.

 

With US playing a central role in global economy, the effects of this massive disruption were felt everywhere in the world. Despite economic reforms and stringent regulations, the crisis kept spiraling out of control and the financial crisis turned into a major economic crisis by 2011. The closing of Lehman Brothers was just the tip of the iceberg, and many investment agencies, banks and insurance companies collapsed worldwide. The countries in the developing world, with already weak economies, were hit hard.

 

Azerbaijan was not immune to the effects of the global financial crisis. With a predominantly oil-based economy, we suffered the effects, but it is believed that the effects were to a lesser extent than other countries. Various reasons have been put forward to explain that. One of the reasons is that the Azerbaijani banks are not that integrated into the global financial system, which shielded them from the worst.

 

Azerbaijanis strongly believe that Azerbaijan can ride out these crises better than other countries. Despite the way budgetary constraints, taxation and unemployment have been impacted, this belief seems to have been borne out. Azerbaijan is still working fervently to ensure that the economic policies make the country resilient to such crises in the future.

Alakberova Sema-

The author is a student of Western Caspian University, researcher of political sciences and a member of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy.

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MOSQUE, SYNAGOGUE AND CHURCH BEING BUILT TOGETHER IN ABU DHABI

Tensions are still high in the Middle East, but there is hope: Plans have just been unveiled for a new massive interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi, encompassing a mosque, a church and a synagogue.

The facility, to be known as the Abrahamic Family House, will be located on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates' capital city, right next to the new Louvre Abu Dhabi. Abraham of the Old Testament is considered a holy prophet in all three religions.

Abrahamic Family House
Rendering of the external view of the Abrahamic Family House, now under construction in Abu Dhabi ADJAYE ASSOCIATES

The initiative follows Pope Francis's historic trip to the UAE in February, the first time a pontiff has visited the Arabian peninsula. While there, he met with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, to discuss interfaith harmony in the Arab world and across the globe. The duo released "A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together," which urged political leaders and influencers to "work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, commemorated the historic meeting by ordering the construction of a building dedicated to interfaith harmony. "The new landmark will symbolize the state of coexistence and human fraternity experienced by people from various ethnicities, nationalities and beliefs in the UAE," according to statement from the government-run news agency Wam, which praised the center as launching "a new era of rapprochement and amity among the different peoples, communities and religions."

The compound is expected to be completed in 2022. Sheik Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, have already signed the foundation stone.

On September 20, the initial designs for the complex were presented at an event at the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan. British firm Adjaye Associates won the contract to design the center, which will consist of three large buildings arranged around a central garden, under which will sit a museum and education center.

 

Abrahamic Family House
A exterior view of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi ADJAYE ASSOCIATES 


"We were led towards these powerful plutonic forms with a clear geometry, three cubes sitting on a plinth — though not aligned, they each have different orientations," Sir David Adjaye told designboom. Each of the three buildings share a similar silhouette, but the facades have different architectural design and detailing, communicating the shared origins of the three religions, as well as their cultural and historical differences.

Adjaye, who also designed the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the National Museum of African American History in D.C., says he saw the garden, "as a powerful metaphor, this safe space where community, connection and civility combine."






K THOR JENSEN

 

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The collapse of the USSR and the road to independence of Azerbaijan

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

 

Image result for azerbaijan

 

The policy of reconstruction initiated by the USSR Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, resulted in the collapse of the empire, rather than the modernization of the empire. In Russia, some politicians still cannot forgive the fall of the empire, which is considered one of the major geopolitical events of the XX century. It is no accident that in his interview given to the press, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin considered the collapse of the USSR as "a tragedy of the XX century" and it is still indicative of imperial thinking in Russia. No matter what they think or say, the empire is in the archives of history.

The collapse of the USSR had a serious impact on the united states and political processes in the region. In particular, a new economic system could not replace the old one. The decentralization tendencies in the region were intensified and the decisions of the Kremlin began to lose their influence. In short, neither the USSR was ready for democratic changes, nor the ruling party was ready to come to the new system. In this case, the reforms exacerbated the crisis in the empire. In a way, the reforms deepened the crisis of the empire and resulted in its collapse.

In this case, Azerbaijan which was a part of the USSR, could not stay out of the process. The collapse of the USSR created fertile conditions for Azerbaijan who had been in captivity for 70 years and wanted to get rid of the empire. Because the intellectuals thinking about the future of the country, understood that such a course of the USSR would not last long.

Beginning from the end of the 1980s, independence and the idea of ​​independence and sovereignty revitalized the political and social environment of the country and laid the foundations for independent scientific clubs in universities. The main objective was to get serious discussions through these clubs and clarify how the process would end. In addition, clubs have subsequently become the center of the conversations covering national thinking rather than scientific discussions. The aim was to prepare the community for future events, thus enabling society to achieve independence. It is not accidental that the main potential force of the Azerbaijan Popular Front, the vanguard of the Azerbaijan National Liberation Movement, was the activists of such clubs. Simply a spark was needed to generate the potential force.

Such spark, events committed by Armenians in Mountainous Garabagh and the subsequent deportation of Azerbaijani Turks living in West Azerbaijan and, moreover, deforestation of Topkhak forest in Garabagh caused the ignition of the events. It shall be noted that Topkhana forest rallies began to move to the national level when no one expected it.

It is true that opinions on independence cannot be tied to the events of 1988. Still, in 1944 Ismikhan Rahimov, Gulhuseyn Huseynoglu and other intellectuals created an organization called "Lightning" and wanted to promote secretly the independence of Azerbaijan. Their decipherment resulted in the deportation of members of the organization to Siberia. Nevertheless, ideas about independence have been secretly promoted from time to time. Then the re-emergence of the idea of ​​independence of Azerbaijan or the formation of national thought is closely connected with the years of study of the late president, the leader of the national liberation movement Abulfaz Elchibey at Baku State University. At that time Elchibey advocated that Azerbaijan would be an independent state and carried out extensive efforts to promote national thoughts.

“We are all aware that how distressing and difficult trial of the history Azerbaijan had to overcome for its independence. At the same time, Azerbaijan didn’t obtain its independence for free, but at the cost of killing thousands of Azerbaijani sons and daughters. This is one of the honorable dates in the history of Azerbaijan's independence and nobody can deny it. Today Azerbaijan celebrates the 20th anniversary of its independence at a high level and Azerbaijan pursues a successful strategy and implements large projects aimed at strengthening its independence.

Senan

The author is a student of Western Caspian University Azerbaijan. He is currently a researcher of Political Sciences

 

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The Bloodiest chapter of Afghan History

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

The occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union is one of the most important political events of the time. To understand the nature of this occupation and how it developed, we need to consider the political relations between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan and the interests of the Soviets and other powerful states in the region. Also one of the questions that üe met in this regard is why Afghanistan was so important for the Soviet Union.

 Afghanistan has been the easiest way for foreign countries to access India's wealth and Gulf waters in the history of the world. This country was the key to Russia's centuries-old policy of "going down into the hot seas". In the 18th century, Russia had difficulties in the realization of this policy, as it was facing the British Empire, the most powerful country in the region at that time. After World War II, the Soviet Union tried to bring Afghanistan into its sphere of influence. Although the US-Afghan relationship had intensified since World War II, diplomatic misunderstandings led to the breakdown of these relations. The Soviet Union immediately revived its relations with aid to Afghanistan. Until June 1973, it was run as a monarchy without any influence of any state. On July 17, 1973, the army under the leadership of Mohammed Daud made the coup d’etat. Mohammed Zahir Shah was overthrown. Afghanistan was declared a democratic republic. Mohammed Daud began to carry out democratic reforms. The big bourgeoisie was removed from power. The role of the state sector in the economy was expanded. Law on land reform was passed. Close relations with the USSR, Saudi Arabia, and Iran were established in foreign policy. Under the guidance of COMINTERN, the  Marxist and Leninist ideologies were disseminated among the Afghan populous. Since the Marxist-Leninist tenets ran contrary to Afghan culture and religion, this angered the people of Afghanistan. 

Consequently, armed Muslim groups began to rebel against the central government. The first revolt took place in the spring of 1978 in “Nuristan” and spread throughout the rest of the country.

The rebellions widened in a short time and a revolution took place. April 27, 1978, is written as a "saur" revolution in the history of Afghanistan. As a result of this revolution, Nur Mohammed Taraki, Babrak Karmal, and Hafizullah Amin came to power in the country. But the conflicts and disputes between them created a critical situation in the country. In 1978, Nur Mohammed Taraki, the chairman of the Afghan People's Party, was killed by his opponent, Hafizullah Amin. The government moved to the Hezb wing of the ruling party under the leadership of Amin. But Amin's rule didn’t last long and Babrak Karmal came to power with the support of the Soviet Union.

During his reign, the situation in Afghanistan was complicated. Anti-government uprisings broke out in many parts of the country. The failure of the Afghan army to suppress the rebellions led the central government to invite the Soviet troops into the country. 

The International reaction to Soviet intervention was extremely negative. UN General Assembly adopted a resolution requiring the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Many countries boycotted the World Olympics held in Moscow in 1980. America banned the sale of grain to the USSR. In addition, this intervention created a destabilizing influence in the region. Thus, neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and Iran had to face a large influx of migrants.

Soviet troops enter Afghanistan at the request of the local communist government and conduct a 10-year war that kills 1 million Afghans and 15,000 Red Army soldiers. At its height, 100,000 Soviet soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan.This marks one of the bloodiest chapters of afghan history.

 

Shamiyev Qara

The author is a student at Western Caspian University

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Burkina Faso: 'We're raising our daughter as both Christian and Muslim'

Family photo by the gate to the compound

 

Muslim-majority Burkina Faso has been hit by a wave of violence by militant Islamists in recent years. Christmas Eve saw more than 30 people, mostly women, killed in a suspected jihadist attack.

But behind such grim headlines lies a more complex picture. The country has a history of religious tolerance, and it is not uncommon to see families made up of both Muslims and Christians, who make up about 23% of the population.

Journalist Clair MacDougall visited one such family in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Five-year-old Iris Osnia Ouattara is being raised by her parents in Burkina Faso in both the Catholic tradition of her father, Denis Ouattara, and the Muslim tradition of her mother, Afoussatou Sanou.

She is celebrating Christmas but also celebrates the Islamic festival of Eid.

Girl holding up a picture of her with Father Christmas

 

At home in Ouagadougou, one of the photos that is proudly displayed is of Iris meeting Father Christmas when she was a baby. The photograph was taken back in 2015 at an office party at the cement company where Denis works.

While he is passing on a sense of Christian identity to Iris, Afoussatou is teaching her about Islam.

"She accompanies me to the mosque and on Sunday she goes to church with him," Afoussatou says.

Woman praying

Afoussatou prays five times a day at home, but on Fridays she goes to the mosque with Iris.

Her daughter will also often get up with her before sunrise to perform the first prayer of the day.

"Islam is a religion that promotes tolerance and the acceptance of others in their way of seeing things," she says.

Looking through a book

BBC

 

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The Cities Refugees Saved

In Utica, New York, a large Bosnian refugee community has helped reinvigorate the area, arresting the city's population slide and opening businesses like Europa Restaurant, one of the oldest Bosnian-owned businesses in the area. Hans Pennink/AP

In the cities where the most refugees per capita were settled since 2005, the newcomers helped stem or reverse population loss.

Mahira Patkovich was eight years old in 1997 when her family left Bosnia. After a long and complicated war, Muslim families like hers had found themselves without jobs, food, and any semblance of safety. So they sought refuge in America.

The first year in their new home in Utica, New York, Patkovich felt uprooted—torn from her childhood and everything she knew, and thrust into an alien environment. She knew no one and didn’t speak English. But as time went by, she began to acclimate.

“The next thing you know, you’re home,”she says in a recent mini-documentary by New American Economy, a bipartisan immigration reform group, and Off Ramp Films. “This is home.”

Patkovich, the film shows, is now thriving. She works at the office of the Oneida County Executive, owns a small business, and is on her way to a master’s degree. She is also pregnant, and excited to raise her first-born in a community she loves.

Utica—it’s clear—saved Patkovich and her family. But the truth is: They’re helping to save this town as well. Like many Rust Belt cities, Utica suffered enormously in the second part of the 20th century, losing jobs and bleeding out residents as major employers like General Electric and Lockheed Martin shuttered or left the Mohawk Valley.

Adam Bedient, director of photography and editor at Off Ramp Films grew up in the nearby town of Clinton in the 1980s and ’90s. He wasn’t tracking Utica’s trajectory too closely then, in part, because not much was happening there. What he remembers of Utica in that era is a typical fading factory town, a place where shuttered storefronts and exposed bricks belied neglect. “Foundationally, there were beautiful things there, they just didn’t look cared for,” he says.

Now, he’s working on a full-length feature about the refugee communities in Utica, and when he drives through town, he finds it simmering with new life. Old buildings are getting refurbished. Construction cranes bob up and down. And at the center of town is a long-vacant historic Methodist church that has been renovated and converted into a beautiful mosque—a symbol of the new Utica.

CITYLAB/ TANVI MISRA

 

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Pakistani Minimalist Artists & Their Unique Artwork

 

Famous Pakistani Minimalist Artists & Their Unique Artwork f 1

Pakistan is a country, which has produced many hidden talents, especially when it comes to minimalist art. Pakistani minimalist artists have become popular for their beautiful approach to minimalism.

Pakistani minimalist artists come from various parts of the country, with some living overseas. Their beautiful artwork is available for enthusiasts to admire all over the world.

Many famous art galleries display and exhibit the fine work of Pakistani minimalist artists.

These artists present minimalism through various forms. The elements include lines, geometric patterns, grids and even simplistic sculptures and photographs.

 

Anwar Jalal Shemza

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Anwar Jalal Shemza (late) was a Pakistani minimalist artist born in Shimla, India on July 14, 1928. He went to Lahore for further studies.

He studied Persian, Arabic and Philosophy at Punjab University, Lahore in 1943.  The following year he studied at Mayo School of Art, attaining an art diploma in 1947.

Whilst he was in Lahore, he established the Shemza Commercial Art Studio. Shemza then went onto becoming editor for the arts and architecture based magazine, Ehsas.

He also became a leading member of the Lahore Art Circle, a group that supported modernism.

Shemza then obtained a fine art diploma from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. To learn printmaking with Anthony Gross, Shemza acquired a British Council scholarship in 1960.

However, he became well-known for his mesmerizing minimalist artwork.

His inspiration to minimalism sprung from the works of Swiss-German painter Paul Klee who had some exquisite paintings.

Subsequently, Shemza published his Square Composition series in 1963. The series included repetitive, geometric and rhythmic forms of art.

Shemza has several famous pieces of art. In 1967, his piece Meem Two was launched. The piece is on display at Tate Liverpool, which is an international modern and contemporary art museum.

During the 1960s, Shemza also unveiled the Chessmen One (1961), Composition with Number Six (1966) and Forms Emerging (1967). Each of them is unique in their own way, presenting an authentic form of minimalist art.

Shemza and his family eventually moved to England where he became an art teacher. Following his death on January 18, 1985, Shemza’s work was exhibited in London, Oxford, Durham, Lahore and Karachi.

Famous Pakistani Minimalist Artists & Their Unique Artwork - 2.1

Rasheed Araeen

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Well-known Pakistani minimalist artist Rasheed Araeen was born on June 15, 1935, in Karachi, Pakistan. After moving from Pakistan to London in 1964, he began his art career.

Araeen is a painter, writer, conceptual artist and sculpturist. At the beginning of his career, he created minimalistic sculptures, with no training what so ever.

Chakras (1969-1970) and Zero to Infinity (1968-2004) are two of his remarkable sculptures. They are made up of basic shapes and forms such as discs, cubes, and lattice.

In 2019, the Garage Museum in Moscow showcased Araeen’s work, Disco Sailing (1970-1974). This idea consisting of a floating sculpture and dance was recognizable globally.

Furthermore, Araeen’s sculptures have been showcased at many exhibitions in Dubai.

They have also been presented at Regent’s Park (London), Aga Khan Centre (London), Aicon Gallery (New York) and Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven)

In addition, Araeen also has a collection called Opus (2016), which revolves around the idea of basic symmetry. This represents ideas that are conceptual where the paintings present a diagonal grid pattern.

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Lala Rukh

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Lala Rukh (late) was born on June 29, 1948, in Lahore, Pakistan. Rukh was a famous Pakistani minimalist artist and women’s rights activist.

Her work included political posters, collages and artistic drawings. Rukh’s photography and drawings are very simplistic, yet they carry deeper meanings and ideologies.

After studying Fine Art at Punjab University, Lahore, her drawings and paintings began to expand into an interdisciplinary practice.

It was during that period in her artistic life where she discovered the linguistic, social, intellectual and music character of drawing.

These artistic elements were shown through her Hieroglyphics III (Roshnion ka Shehr-1) piece in 2005.

Nature was also a core focus for Rukh when drawing and photographing. Her piece River in an Ocean: 4 in 1992 is an example of this.

Rukh’s vision of incorporating music and dance elements into her work originated from early family life. When she was younger, she grew up with some of Pakistan’s most famous musicians, gaining artistic inspiration.

Hence, this influenced Rukh to incorporate music and dance into her drawings. This was quite evident through her art pieces as her lines and image-making began to take shape.

This was also where the series Hieroglyphics (the 1990s) came into action as a linguistic code or a dance score.

Commenting about the element of dance and music used in Rukh’s work, writer Natasha Ginwala says:

 

“In her “Hieroglyphics” works- drawings which became extended circuits of rhythm and life observations-the counting of a beat is cast into infinitesimal line and curves forms that improbably manage to account for the movement of music, the chasing of light and the interminable shifts of environmental terrain.”

 

At the age of sixty-nine, Lala Rukh sadly left this world on July 7, 2017, in Lahore, Pakistan.

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Imran Mir

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Imran Mir (late) was born during 1950 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a Pakistani minimalist artist, as well as a sculptor, a trendy advertiser and a designer.

Mir graduated from the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, Karachi in 1971. His family did not agree with Mir attending an arts university due to social norms.

However, Mir decided to chase his dreams and increase his amazing talent for art. A couple of years down the line in 1978, Mir put on an exhibition showcasing his work.

Consequently, he had confused many art critics as they did not understand his take on minimalism. The bold and modern art of Mir was certainly a huge change for the arts industry in Pakistan.

Graphic designers had a lot of help from Mir due to his enthusiasm and exceptional taste in art. He has helped many huge Pakistani brands such as Habib Oils,  One Potato Two Potato and Dawn News

His art generates from the idea of it being a ‘Paper on Modern Art’. Some examples of this are Seventh Paper on Modern Art and Tenth Paper on Modern Art. These are some of Mir’s most amazing collections.

Mir always had big ideas in mind for his next piece of art. He took inspiration from his travels, often carrying a paper and pencil with him.

Haajra Haider Karrar conducted an interview with Imran Mir for Art Now Pakistan while he was alive. Mir spoke about how he was always trying to keep up with the latest trends and modern designs. He said:

“I feel it is necessary for technology to play some role in an artist’s developmental process even if the involvement is minimal. It indicates an indispensable keeping up with the times we live in.”

Following a protracted illness, at the age of 64, Imran Mir passed away in Karachi on October 28, 2014.

 

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Rashid Rana

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Born in Lahore, Pakistan, during 1968, Rashid Rana is a popular Pakistani minimalist artist of  his generation.

In 1992, Rana graduated from National College of Arts in Lahore with a degree in Fine Arts.

In 1994, he then completed a Masters in Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Rather than solely using a paintbrush and a canvas, Rana uses a variety of methods and materials.

He collaborates with billboard painters, along with creating collages using materials, photo sculptures and mosaics,

The discovery of media and identity is key when Rana creates a work of art. Pop culture is also the main base of his work.

He uses established pieces of art and turns them into his own, using authentic techniques.

His work also consists of everyday issues such as tradition and urbanisation. He offers minimalistic designs using geometric abstracts and often relates to the history of Pakistani art.

Besides Karachi, Rana has taken his work to many exhibitions internationally. These include cities like London, Dubai and Singapore.

One meaningful and mesmerising, artistic piece of Rana’s is The World is Not Enough (2006).

This piece is made up of photographs of social waste from a landfill site near Lahore. Hundreds of images showcasing trash have been digitally stitched onto this piece of art.

 

The beauty of the image is based upon a portrayal of the city’s decay.

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Shahzia Sikander

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Pakistani minimalist artist Shahzia Sikander was born in Lahore, Pakistan during 1969. In 1992, she studied Fine Arts at the National College of Arts in Lahore.

In 1995, she earnt a Fine Arts Masters degree in Painting and Printmaking from the private Rhode Island School of Design. Ever since then Shahzia has made New York, USA her home.

Shahzia is best known for her Mughal and Persian miniature paintings. However, she also expresses her talents through other forms of art too.

Shahzia is also a muralist, an installation artist, performance artist and a mixed media artist.

She was taught art in the Pakistani, traditional way. However, she cleverly incorporates flares of modernity in her pieces to make them unique.

Her work of minimalism takes inspiration from issues of  Middle Eastern identities. Aside from this, she also takes influence from art-historical references.

One example of her minimalist piece is Night Flight (2015-2016)This piece consists of ink, gouache and gold leaves. Many people can find this form of art at the Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.

Moreover, Shazia has made an appearance at various artistic venues, including the Museum of Modern Art (2005) and Museum Ludwig in Germany (1999).

Celebrating her fine pieces of minimalist art, she has won many awards. These include the Joan Mitchell Award (1999), the MacArthur Fellows Program (2006) and the Kipling Award (1993).

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Xandria Noir

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Xandria Noir was born in Karachi, Pakistan, during 1972. This self-taught Pakistani minimalist artist who holds a Bachelors in Social Sciences works with drawings, paintings, video art and photography.

She started her career by creating semi-minimalist art on various types of materials. These materials involved, paper, canvas, wood and pottery.

Xandria created landscapes, abstract figures and calligraphy using the aforementioned materials. However, eight years later, her work changed drastically by using more high-quality equipment.

Xandria portrays her personality and views through art, reflecting trauma and emotional suffering. She works on a much larger scale, bringing more definition and meaning to her pieces.

Her work is made up of black, bold strokes, with a contrast of bright colours to stand out from the crowd.

During 2013 and 2014, her work was inspired by Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline.

Over the years, her pieces have become much more minimalistic, modern and trendy. She achieves this look through light and lines. She incorporates these via various dimensions, which present weightless spaces.

Xandria creates paintings to anger, upset and frustrate viewers through the different anti-social elements in her art. The body of her work links with sin, temptation, redemption and guilt.

Xandria has presented her impressive minimalist work at the Islamabad Art Festival and Sheraton Gallery in Karachi.

Les Frontieres: Lyon, Anxiety and when I will go after them (2014) are some of her minimalist paintings. Each of them shares different meanings and use various shapes, techniques and colours.

 

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Hamra Abbas

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Born in Kuwait City, Kuwait during 1976, Hamra Abbas is a Pakistani minimalist artist. In terms of working and living, Hamra shifts between Boston, USA and Lahore, Pakistan.

Hamra’s artistic work is based upon her own encounters and experiences through an image, a gesture or an icon. Her main purpose is to break down the act of seeing by reconstructing images.

 

 

SUNIYA THENWEER

 

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Happy Hanukkah, Chanukah Sameach From a Muslim

 

After wishing our Christian cousins Merry Christmas, its time to reach out to our Jewish cousins to wish them a Happy Hanukkah (also spelled and pronounced Chanukah) to commemorate the rededication of the 2nd temple to the service of One true God.

Jews around the nation and the world are celebrating the 8-day festival also known as Chanukah in the memory of the recapture of the 2nd temple from the King Antiochus IV, after he had taken over Jerusalem. The temple was looted, the religious services were stopped, the altar to Zeus, one of the pagan gods was erected in the temple and pigs were sacrificed. In short, Judaism was abolished.
This led to a religious revolt and within three years, Antiochus was defeated and the temple was rededicated, restoring the religious services to One true God. A menorah was lighted which lasted for 8 days while it had enough oil only for one day. Lighting a candle, or an oil based lamp each night commemorates the miracle.

I remember celebrating the Hanukkah festivities at one of my neighborhood synagogues last year, attended by families and children. It was filled with prayers and songs lead by the Rabbi. Children were playing and running around, pretty much the only time /occasion I have seen an activity at a synagogue.

Patheos/ EJAZ NAQVI, MD

 

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Gambia's Yahya Jammeh bans female genital mutilation

AFP:President Jammeh's ban on FGM is effective immediately

 

The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has banned female genital mutilation (FGM) saying it is not required in Islam.

The announcement at a rally was met with a huge applause, AFP reports.

Three-quarters of women in the mostly Muslim country have had the procedure, according to Unicef.

In the procedure's most severe form, after removing the sensitive clitoris, the genitals are cut and stitched closed so that the woman cannot have or enjoy sex.

FGM, also known as female circumcision, can be extremely painful, lead to tetanus, gangrene, HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and effective sterilisation.

BBC

 

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