Bringing Music and Art to the Streets of Amman

BarakaBits, Writing

While walking down Amman streets, Sami found time and time again that they were void of life and beauty. A lover of music, he thought to himself, “Why not bring art to the streets?”

That’s exactly what this exciting event “Music Rings in the Streets of Amman” aims to do. While speaking to Sami Nada, one of the organizers of the event,he explained to BarakaBits that the goal of this event is “to introduce people to street art and its beauty and spread a message of peace and love. It also aims to break the rigidity of the art culture on the streets.” He defines street art as a spontaneous artistic expression of freedom, peace and love and one that creates an intimate relationship between the artists and audience.
Sami adds that
“there is a growing group of artists and lovers of art in Jordan who do not seek any monetary gain out of their art. All they want is to send a message of peace and love through their art but they do not have the space to freely do so.”

According to the organizer, “this event, which is the first of its kind in Jordan, will provide that space.” The event will share both the culture of street music and street art with a complete performance by inspiring percussionists and other artists in the field of street art such as freestyle dancers, fire performers and mime artists. Local artists  from Jordan will bring life to the streets of Amman through Arabic music as well as other exciting performances.

So if you’re an artist or an art lover, don’t miss the event! This one-of-a-kind street art event will take place in Jabal l’Weibdeh on Thursday October 20, 2016.
For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.
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This article was originally published on BarakaBits on October, 15, 2016.
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Desert Designs Brings Bedouin Designs to Your Home

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

A store that started in a tent in 1990 during the Gulf War, Desert Designs can be found today on King Abdulla Street in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Since then, the store has grown to offers a customized furniture department, interior design services, a contemporary art galley and café in addition to a retail store. This family business brings tribal Bedouin designs to your home. The store’s products range from accessories to custom-made lighting, bright weaved rugs, ceramic vases with Arabic calligraphy, hand-painted coffee tables, paintings and even handbags.

In addition to furniture and home accessories, Desert Designs provides artists with a platform to talk about art through Huna Art, a space much needed in the country. In August, for example, Desert Designs held a talk by Emily Fiddy, a certified expressive arts therapist. The gallery space and meeting area are available for rent for events; Desert Designs’s Cafea Arab hosts Kalimat Literary, a monthly ladies book club.

Desert Designs offers beautiful pieces rooted in Saudi culture to decorate your home and a cultural space open to all art lovers.

For more information: Visit Desert Design’s website, Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram

This article was originally posted on BarakaBits on October 18, 2015.

Abber Seikaly "Weaving a Home"

Abeer Seikaly’s “Weaving a Home”: Bringing the Comfort of Modern Life to the Displaced

BarakaBits

Jordanian designer and architect, Abeer Seikaly, has come up with a solution for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people around the world. In her project, “Weaving a Home”, winner of the Lexus Design Award,  she has created structural fabric collapsible shelters.

The shelter absorbs solar energy that is converted into usable energy and the inside includes pockets that can be used for storage. In addition, the top can be used as a water storage tank, allowing for quick showers and a drainage system prevents flooding.

The structures are ideal for any climate and time of day as they open up in the summer and day time to let sunlight in and close during the winter. They are also lightweight and mobile, two very important features of a home for the thousands of people fleeing wars and natural disasters in their home countries, forced to make tents their new homes.

On her website, Abeer Seikaly says, “In this space, the refugees find a place to pause from their turbulent worlds, a place to weave the tapestry of their new lives. They weave their shelter into home.”

For more information: Visit Abeer Seikaly’s website.

Prefabulous and Sustainable: Building and Customizing an Affordable, Energy-Efficient Home  book cover          Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses To Humanitarian Crises  cover

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 08/10/2015.

WATCH: Leila Abdul Razzaq’s Graphic Novel “Baddawi”

BarakaBits

In this video by Judy Suh, we hear from Palestinian-American artist, Leila Abdul Razzaq, as she discusses her graphic novel “Baddawi’.

Last April, Leila Abdul Razzaq published her graphic novel, “Baddawi”, a story about her father growing up as a refugee in Baddawi, a refugee camp in Northern Lebanon. Like so many Palestinians, Leila’s family was forced to leave their town of Safsaf in Palestine in 1948 and find refuge in Lebanon, where her father spent his childhood before moving to the United States.

Although stories such as that of Ahmad, Leila’s father and main character in “Baddawi” are common among Palestinians in the diaspora, Leila explains that they are not as known to others which is why “Baddawi” is catered to a western audience.  She says, “People who are experiencing these adverse circumstances, they’re not objects of pity; they’re subjects of their own narrative”. She goes on to explain that she is not telling this story “because it’s unique but that it’s one that was lived and is being lived by Palestinian refugees.”

“Baddawi” has been shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards.

To order your copy of Baddawi click here. You can also follow Baddawi on Facebook.

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 06/09/2015.

TechWadi Annual Forum 2015: Zafer Younis

BarakaBits

TechWadi is the leading non-profit organization building bridges between Silicon Valley and the MENA region. This year, the TechWadi Annual Forum will be held on September 26-27 in Silicon Valley. Attendees will gain insight from leading entrepreneurs on topics such as Arab success stories from Silicon Valley, investing in MENA and Iran’s rising tech ecosystem and implications for the broader MENA region.

One of the speakers at this year’s TechWadi Annual Forum is Zafer Younis. Zafer holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from the London School of Economics as well as another bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University College London.

When he was 23 years old, he started his first company called Modern Media, which owns the radio channel Play 99.6, winner of the US National Association of Broadcaster’s International Broadcasting Excellence Award.

Today, he is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Online Project, a company that develops and executes social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies and high profile organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa. He is also a mentor at Oasis500, AstroLabs, and Flat6Labs.

Zafer says, “I am looking forward to reconnect with the members of the TechWadi network [as well as …] to the presentations by the thought leaders of MENA technology.”

To hear more from Zafer Younis and other successful entrepreneurs, register to attend the TechWadi Annual Forum here.

You can also follow Zafer Younis on Twitter.

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 09/09/2015.

TechWadi Annual Forum 2015: Omar Tawakol

BarakaBits

TechWadi is the leading non-profit organization building bridges between Silicon Valley and the MENA region. This year, the TechWadi Annual Forum will be held on September 26-27 in Silicon Valley. Attendees will gain insight from leading entrepreneurs on topics such as Arab success stories from Silicon Valley, investing in MENA and Iran’s rising tech ecosystem and implications for the broader MENA region.

On the panel of speakers is Omar Tawakol. Upon earning his Bachelors degree in Engineering from MIT, Omar went on to earning a Masters of Computer Science from Stanford University. During his time there, he was a computer science researcher at both the Stanford Logic Group and HP Software Labs.

Currently, Tawakol is the CEO of BlueKai. “the first and largest online data exchange that is designed with consumer transparency and participation in mind” as stated on iMedia Connections. BlueKai, which was acquired by Oracle in February 2014, is the industry’s leading cloud-based big data platform. It enables companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns with richer and more actionable information about targeted audiences.

When we asked Omar what he’s most looking forward to in the Forum he said, “Great people, pursuing disruptive ideas, despite the odds – that is the hallmark of an entrepreneur culture.  Techwadi has alway done a great job attracting these ingredients and marrying them with capital and experienced advisors.  Techwadi is making a very important contribution to help the MENA region produce more ground-breaking start-ups.  I always look forward to meeting the smart, hopeful, energetic entrepreneurs who attend the forum.”

To listen to Omar Tawakol and other leading entrepreneurs from the MENA region speak in this year’s TechWadi Annual Forum, register for the event here.

You can also follow Omar Tawakol on Twitter.

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 09/09/2015.