São Paulo – Art from Kuwait will be on display until next Sunday (8) at the Villa-Lobos Park Library in São Paulo. An exhibit featuring photographs, paintings and items harking back to Kuwaiti culture opened this Friday (6) as part of the Kuwait Cultural Week, hosted by the Embassy of Kuwait in Brazil with support from the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.
The show includes items that symbolize past and present life in Kuwait, from the collection of Husain Ashkanani, who has travelled to Brazil for the event, including boat parts and miniatures, handwoven basketry, ancient cases and chests, postage stamps, telecommunication and radio equipment, cassette tapes of local singers, drums, and clothing.
During the show’s opening, Ashkanani told ANBA that he started collecting as a hobby, and eventually got invited by the government to join other collectors in presenting Kuwaiti culture in other countries. He owns about 1,000 objects, which he keeps in a museum in his own home, and he brought some 300 items to Brazil. The collector picked ones that portray daily life, his household, and ones relating to boats – the symbol of Kuwait.
Also featured are framed photographs by Hamed Al-Amiri, who attended the exhibit’s opening. They are portrayals of iconic landmarks – like the Kuwait Towers –, of Kuwait City, a marina, boats, landscapes, artisans at work, and Arab men and their falcons.
Al-Amiri told ANBA that he joins government-sponsored cultural exhibitions in other countries, and this is the first time his work is shown in Brazil. “I wanted to show the Brazilian people what Kuwait used to be like in the past, and what it is like today,” he said. He points out that in the past, Kuwait’s economy revolved around fishing, and handicraft was another major source of revenue.
An attention-grabbing part of the exhibit is the pictures featuring geometric designs. It’s the art of Fareed Al-Ali, which explores the creative possibilities of designing the name of Muhammad. Al-Ali had done similar work with the word ‘Allah’ before creating 500 pieces with the name Muhammad – a small sample of which is on show in São Paulo.
Al-Ali combined the fine arts, Arabic calligraphy and architectural engineering and divided his work into eleven groups: sharp, kufic square, soft-grown, mixed, circular, four triangles, quarter-circle, triangle, square, hexagonal and octogonal. “Any culture in the world can understand shapes,” he told ANBA. It took him six years to complete the 500 designs.
The exhibit’s opening was attended by the three artists, Kuwait’s ambassador Nasser Almotairi, Arab Chamber managing vice-president Mohamed Orra Mourad and other Kuwait and Arab Chamber delegates, including secretary-general Tamer Mansour.
Almoitari noted that Brazil and Kuwait sustain a cultural agreement, and this is one of the reasons for the Villa-Lobos Park exhibit and the Kuwait Cultural Week, whose purpose is to showcase Kuwaiti culture to Brazilians. “This is also diplomacy. Diplomacy isn’t simply about politics and economics,” he said.
The Kuwait Cultural Week opened Thursday evening (5) with a a ceremony at the Arab Chamber headquarters. It will also feature a lecture on the teaching of Arabic in Brazil, Saturday (7), from 9:30 am until noon at the Villa-Lobos Park Library; a music concert on Saturday (7), 2 pm on Visconde de Parnaíba street, 1,316, in the Mooca neighborhood. The same concert will be played Sunday at 10pm on Avenida Paulista, in front of number 283. Another music concert was held this Friday at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.
Kuwait – Exhibition
December 6-8, 2019
Villa-Lobos Park Library
Avenida Queiroz Filho, 1205 – Alto de Pinheiros – São Paulo – SP
Free of charge
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum