All in Culture

An interview with Shinigami Sensei author Hisham Najem

Japanese manga and anime have a wide following in Kuwait and the region. One young Kuwaiti writer however has taken his interest in the popular graphic storytelling to a personal level by writing his own manga series, Shinigami Sensei. Published in a series format twice weekly online, Shinigami Sensei combines 27 year old Kuwaiti writer Hisham Najem’s storyline with Indonesian-based artist Hanna Philip’s drawings for a unique and distinctly ‘Japanese’ manga narrative.

The Visual Art of Advertising in Ramadan

On the streets of Kuwait, sidewalks that are supposed to be pedestrianized are crowded by billboards. Some of these are annoying to the extent that we marvel about the fictitious amount of money spent on these campaigns. Some of them make you sympathize with the advertising company due to the money wasted on a bad design. You wish you were personally consulted to offer some advice.

In Ramadan, advertisers compete over advertising spaces in Kuwait. Everyone is trying to add the spirit of Ramadan to their products, from cars to antacids. However, graphic design specialists realize that growth in innovation has not been impressive in the last five years, with advertisers continuing to commit the same technical and designing mistakes, which reflect a lack of knowledge of the visual aspect.

St. Solo Photography Exhibition on Street Life in England

As a journalist for Kuwait Times that covers culture and society, I am impressed by the tenacity of the rising art scene in Kuwait and by the growing spread of culture, artistic events, social gatherings and lectures, collective and personal exhibitions ñ including many that are not supported by official bodies. I admire the courage and dedication of those who dare to show their work, to make their passions come alive. And I am inspired by them to do the same for myself. To accomplish something that has meaning and interest for me personally. 

The Women of Maha Al-Asaker

When you peek into the closet of a young woman, mostly you’d find posters, mementos and pictures of besties. It’s a life stage that ends with maturity. But Kuwaiti artist and photographer Maha Al-Asaker was an exception. She would stick a list of goals with estimated dates for accomplishing them. She knew just what she wanted, planned constantly to discover the limits of her capabilities and ended up working in New York.

Books of Gold

Young people like to stand out from the crowd, showing off their talents or luxury possessions. But one teenage boy had a particularly unusual passion: Collecting old books and magazines. It was a passion that led to him own one of Kuwait’s largest collections of rare books.

 

What Do You Know About Hussaini Art?

Husseiniyahs around Kuwait opened in Muharram, this hijri (Islamic) year cautiously amid tight security protection by the Ministry of Interior due to the instability of the political state of affairs in the gulf region. Despite the concern, Shiites muslims celebrated the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet Muhammed (S), Al-Hussein (Peace be upon him) and his retinue. The grief is expressed profoundly in speeches and gatherings, But also, artistically in theatres, painting workshops, and personification. This year, Ashour Husainiyah in Benaid Al-gar, organized a Madam Tussaud's-like temporal museum showcasing scenes of this historical event.

Interview with Artist Zahra Al-Mahdi (Zouz the Bird)

Known mostly for her anatomical drawings – think da Vinci or Egon Schiele – and by her nickname Zouz the Bird, Zahra Al-Mahdi is a self-taught Kuwaiti artist and among a growing body of local artists changing the face of art and culture in Kuwait. “There’s no definition for myself – sometimes I feel that I’m seven years old, sometimes seventy. Goals should not be associated with age. My view of myself is always shifting,”

Kuwait participates in Global T(W)eens Project

While we live in a world clouded by misinformation and confusion, some persist in their bid for peace and emphasize the idea that we are all equal despite being ethnically different. Differences melt and fade into the world of the young who have a lot more in common deep down despite where they grew up and how they were brought up. 

Shut Up and Shoot: The Importance of Street Photography in Kuwait

The scene is quiet. A tall Kuwaiti man crosses his hands, a Leica camera hanging from a strap from his shoulder to the side of his waist. He’s chatting with the man behind the counter, an older Arab date vendor, about the future of Souq Mubarakiya. The former is Khaled Al-Abdul Mughni, a prominent Kuwaiti street photographer and a businessman who, on that morning, was turning his lens to the troubles and delights found in one of Kuwait’s oldest markets.

Adding Light to Local Traditions

A tradition is a social idea, circulating through generations with practice, because it signifies an identity, a sense of belonging and nostalgia. But not all customs in Kuwait are local in origin, many of our traditions have been adopted from other countries, as is the case in many cosmopolitan countries around the world. In Ramadan, most customs are centered on spirituality and food. Family gatherings always accompany sumptuous desserts and the latest food finds.

Stringz for the Soul

Back in the eighth or ninth century, a famous musician called Ziryab taught concubines to play the oud (lute) and sing in Andalusia. This historical fact was narrated exaggeratedly through Orientalist paintings, in addition to movies and Arab soap operas that contributed in promoting the link between obscenity and the oud.