Monday, January 31, 2011

message from an Egyptian friend:

Save Egyptian Blood Prevent the hidden forces from suppress the revolution. Egyptians are determined to force Mubarak to leave. The situation will get worse, there are reports of closure of the port of Alexandria and the Suez Canal might be closed, which would have a bad effect on the global economy there are calls for civil disobedience and million-person march, people slept in Altahrir square and regrouping now. What happened in Tunisia is not a model for the region’s regimes and certainly it is not like Iran. Egypt is huge, almost 10 times the size of Tunisia in terms of land mass and with a population of nearly 83 million people. Cairo’s greater metropolitan area alone is double the size of the entire country of Tunisia. And, perhaps more importantly, Egypt’s population is far from homogeneous. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslims, there is a significant Coptic population that makes up nearly 10 percent of the population.

Non-Egyptians need to share this message with their friends and families in their home countries to pressure their government to support the Egyptian revolution and persuade Mubarak to save the Egyptian blood and leave in peace.

Change is coming inevitably, People need to stand by each other, if this does not happen it will create repugnance. Moreover, it will have a bad effect on international relationships and the global economy in the long run.
Israel's Haaretz newspaper, citing senior Israeli officials, reported Monday that Israel is urging the world to tone down Mubarak criticism during Egypt's unrest to preserve stability in the region. Senior Israeli officials said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to arou

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A revolution against 'Made in US' dictators

A revolution against 'Made in US' dictators

Shobhan Saxena
29 January 2011, 12:45 AM                                                                                             
A revolution is happening in Egypt. Hosni Mubarak’s tyrannical regime, created, sustained and maintained by the United States with its money and military might, is quivering with fear. But the dictator, who is probably hiding in his Made in US bunker even as his party office goes up in flames, doesn’t seem to be ready to go before firing a last few shots. His police are firing tear gas shells at the people on the streets. His army is loading their guns and getting ready to go out on the roads and crush the people who have risen against the regime known for its brutal repression. The teargas shells are ‘Made in America’. The army rifles are ‘Made in America’. Mubarak's dictatorship is ‘Made in America’. But it's falling apart.

The revolution started in Tunisia when the men with jasmine flowers behind their ears stormed the streets and made the country' despotic ruler Ben Ali and his clan flee to Saudi Arabia, the United State's most trusted ally in the region. Now, as the smell of jasmine spreads across the region, the Arab despots are refusing to accept that their show is over. They still hope that Uncle Sam will save them. What a mistake!

Speaking to BBC on Friday night, an Egyptian journalist pointed at the teargas canisters, saying the tyrant is trying to crush the uprising with American weapons. “This is the real story of the revolution that’s sweeping the Arab world from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen,” he said.  Make no mistake, this is not a rebellion organised by a bunch of youngsters who met on the Facebook and decided to go out and create some ruckus. This is no gathering of unhappy middle class citizens who were told by the WikiLeaks how corrupt and compromised their government was. This is no movement of Islamist zealots who want to grab power by hijacking a mass upheaval. This is a revolution against the axis of a dictator (Mubarak), his mentor (US) and the mentor’s rogue agent (Israel). To see it as anything else is to miss the real message of this revolution, though it has many hidden messages.

In June 2008, when thousands of protesters came out on the streets of Tehran to challenge the result of the Iranian presidential election, the Americans, led by Barack Obama, started preaching to the Iranians in particular and to the world in general about the glory and benefits of democracy.  In 2009, during the Afghanistan presidential election, as soon as the voting closed, Obama issued a statement, congratulating the people of Afghanistan on the “success of democracy”.  And in October 2010, when Mubarak rigged the Egyptian election in which his party got 97% seats, Obama and his people kept quiet. And when it became clear that the election was anything but free and fair, the only thing Hillary Clinton could say was: “we are dismayed”.

The Americans failed to read Iran. Protests by the supporters of the opposition candidate, who refused to throw in the towel, were seen by Washington as a sign of an uprising against the Iranian government. They failed to see the truth in Afghanistan as well where Hamid Karzail-led regime rigged the election. And the Americans have failed to see the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Just two days back, as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians came out on the streets, shouting slogans against Mubarak, Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying that the “Egyptian government is stable”. What was she thinking?

And today, when it became clear that Mubarak has been completely rejected by the people of Egypt, Clinton changed her tune and called for “peace” in the country.  On the sidelines of Davos, where the world's rich are meeting to discuss how to keep capitalism alive on artificial support system, former British prime minister Tony Blair, who masquerades as the special envoy on Middle East, told the BBC that “we should manage this process of change in Egypt”. The western leaders haven’t got it yet. They are still playing their dirty games. Rabid think tanks in America have already started raising the bogey of Islamist fundamentalists “taking over Egypt” and Blair, who should be in jail for war crimes, is talking about managing Egypt.

The Middle East revolutions are not about just bread and butter issues. Yes, people have been hungry and jobless but they have also been tired of interference in their country’s affairs by western powers, particularly the US and UK. This uprising is not just against local dictators, it’s also a rebellion against America’s imperial games and Israel’s thuggish policies in the region.  But the West is talking about “peaceful change” in Egypt. What does that mean? Is there someone in particular they want in Cairo’s presidential palace? Is Mohammad el-Baradei their new puppet for Egypt? After playing America’s game for years as the head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, El-Baradei is suddenly trying to become the voice of Egypt. Wasting no time as the crisis began, he landed in Cairo trying to be in the “middle of his people”. 

If El-Baradei is part of a western ploy to hijack the revolution, it’s a big mistake because more than anything this uprising is about dignity, something the Middle Eastern people have been robbed of by their dictators and their masters. This is not about only jobs, internet, free speech, food and education. This is also an uprising against dynastic rule. This is also a rebellion against the looting of national resources by a few families and clans. This is also a rejection of a global financial system which is creating inequal societies. As a deep unrest grips the Middle East and people cry for freedom, democracy and dignity, the world’s biggest democracy is keeping quiet. Not one statement from the government as yet. Not a word from Indian politicians who leave no opportunity to brag about our democracy. And guess what, the world's fastest-growing economy and the great hope of global capitalism, China, has blocked all news about the Egyptian revolution.
Why?  What are India and China thinking?
Can't they smell the jasmine floating in the air?

Original article here:  A revolution against 'Made in US' dictators : World : Shobhan Saxena : TOI Blogs
Times of India

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Sudan next? facebook posters say protests start January 30, 2011

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -John F. Kennedy

Egypt Protests Show American Foreign-Policy Folly

January 27, 2011 | 10:39pm

by Stephen Kinzer Info

While demonstrations continue across the Middle East, America remains largely on the sidelines. Stephen Kinzer on why the U.S. should abandon its self-defeating foreign policy in the region. Plus, full coverage of the Egypt uprising

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I walked into the British Foreign Office for a meeting with Middle East policy planners. “Tunisia is melting down and the Lebanese government has just fallen,” my host said as he welcomed me. “Interesting times.”

Article - Egypt Protests GAL LAUNCH
Peter Macdiarmid / AP Photo

During our meeting, one veteran British diplomat observed that since American policy toward the Middle East is frozen into immobility, change there comes only when there is a crisis. I asked where he thought the next crisis might erupt. “Egypt,” he replied.

Events have moved quickly since then. President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia has been overthrown, Hezbollah has chosen the new prime minister of Lebanon, and thousands have taken to the streets in Egypt to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship. The Middle East is erupting —and the U.S. is watching from the sidelines. Unable to guide the course of events, it can do little more than cheer for its sclerotic allies and hope that popular anger does not sweep them aside.

Washington sees the various local and national conflicts in the Middle East as part of a battle for regional hegemony between the U.S. and Iran. If this is true, the U.S. is losing. That is because it has stubbornly held onto Middle East policies that were shaped for the Cold War. The security environment in the region has changed dramatically since then. Iran has shown itself agile enough to align itself with rising new forces that enjoy the support of millions. The U.S., meanwhile, remains allied with countries and forces that looked strong 30 or 40 years ago but no longer are.  Iran is betting on Hezbollah, Hamas, and Shiite parties in Iraq. These are popular forces that win elections. Hezbollah emerged as the heroic champion of resistance to Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, winning the admiration of Arabs, not only for itself but also for its Iranian backers. Many Arabs also admire Hamas for its refusal to bow to Israeli power in Gaza.

Pathologies in American politics, fed by emotions that prevent cool assessment of national interest, continue to paralyze the U.S. diplomatic imagination.

Pro-Iran forces have also scored major gains in Iraq. They effectively control the Iraqi government, and their most incendiary leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, recently returned to a hero’s welcome after an extended stay in Iran. By invading Iraq in 2003, and removing Saddam Hussein from power, the U.S. handed Iraq to Iran on a platter. Now Iran is completing the consolidation of its position in Baghdad.
Who does America bet on to counter these rising forces? The same friends it has been betting on for decades: Mubarak’s pharaonic regime in Egypt; Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority; the Saudi monarchy; and increasingly radical politicians in Israel. It is no wonder that Iran’s power is rising as the American-imposed order begins to crumble.

Bruce Riedel: Don’t Fear Egypt’s Brotherhood

Mike Giglio: Egypt Revolution—The Purity Protests

The U.S. keeps Mubarak in power—it gave his regime $1.5 billion in aid last year—mainly because he supports America’s pro-Israel policies, especially by helping Israel maintain its stranglehold on Gaza. It supports Abbas for the same reason: he is seen as willing to compromise with Israel, and therefore a desirable negotiating partner. This was confirmed, to Abbas’ great embarrassment, by WikiLeaks cables that show how eager he has been to meet Israeli demands, even collaborating with Israeli security forces to arrest Palestinians he dislikes. American support for Mubarak and Abbas continues, although neither man is in power with any figment of legality; Mubarak brazenly stage-manages elections, and Abbas has ruled by decree since his term of office expired in 2009.

Intimacy with the Saudi royal family is another old habit the U.S. cannot seem to kick—even though American leaders know full well, as one of the WikiLeaks cables confirms, that “Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda.” The fact that the Tunisian leader fled to Saudi Arabia after being overthrown shows how fully the Saudis support the old, eroding Middle East order.

As for Israel itself, it will lose much if new Arab leaders emerge who refuse to be their silent partners. Yet Israel clings to the belief that it will be able to guarantee its long-term security with weapons alone. The U.S. encourages it in this view, sending Israelis the message that no matter how militant their rejectionist policies become, they can count on Washington’s endless support.

The U.S. has long sought to block democracy in the Arab world, fearing that it would lead to the emergence of Islamist regimes. Remarkably, however, the Tunisian revolution does not seem to be heading that way, nor have Islamist leaders tried to guide protests in Egypt. Perhaps watching the intensifying repression imposed by mullahs in Iran has led many Muslims to rethink the value of propelling clerics to power.

Even if democratic regimes in the Middle East are not fundamentalist, however, they will firmly oppose U.S. policy toward Israel. The intimate U.S.-Israel relationship guarantees that many Muslims around the world will continue to see the U.S. as an enabler of evil. Despite America’s sins in the Middle East, however, many Muslims still admire the U.S. They see its leaders as profoundly mistaken in their unconditional support of Israel, but envy what the U.S. has accomplished and want some version of American freedom and prosperity for themselves. This suggests that it is not too late for the U.S. to reset its policy toward the region in ways that would take new realities into account.

Accepting that Arabs have the right to elect their own leaders means accepting the rise of governments that do not share America’s pro-Israel militancy. This is the dilemma Washington now faces. Never has it been clearer that the U.S. needs to reassess its long-term Middle East strategy. It needs new approaches and new partners. Listening more closely to Turkey, the closest U.S. ally in the Muslim Middle East, would be a good start. A wise second step would be a reversal of policy toward Iran, from confrontation to a genuine search for compromise. Yet pathologies in American politics, fed by emotions that prevent cool assessment of national interest, continue to paralyze the U.S. diplomatic imagination. Even this month’s eruptions may not be enough to rouse Washington from its self-defeating slumber.

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent. His new book is Reset: Iran, Turkey and America's Future.

original article here:  Egypt Protests Shows American Foreign Policy Folly on The Daily Beast.

Egyptain protests, please share:

From one of my Egyptian friends:

My 73 years mom almost chokes in her house in Egypt.

I urge all my friends and colleges specially the Americans to share this with their friend and families in USA the below link. We have to stand by each other to pressure on the US government to stop supporting the corrupted regime of Mubarak. Obama and his government must support the change that he promised it will come and stand by the freedom of Egyptian people not to suppress the revolution.
The tear gas canisters used on protesters during the “Anger” demonstrations Friday had surpassed their 2008 expiration date, according to investigations by Al-Masry Al-Youm. Al-Masry Al-Youm reporters managed to collect canisters off Cairo's streets.

protests and the internet

protests and the internet:

How Egypt shut down the Internet

China blocking "Egypt" on internet searches:

China blocks 'Egypt' on microblogging service

democracy for the Middle East?

See live coverage of Egyptian protests below:
Al Jazeera English: Live Stream - Watch Now - Al Jazeera English

Daily Show: The Rule of the Nile

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Press Release for 50/20 exhibit...

Press Release:


Sabhan, Kuwait – February, 2011: Sultan Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of 50/20, a two-part exhibition featuring a new generation of artists who are challenging the construction of history through visual practice.

“The question of how individual memory fits or, more accurately, does not fit with history is at the heart of the question here." – Gayatri Spivak.

As part of its mission to foment critical thinking through visual arts, Sultan Gallery has invited a number of artists, curators and similarly occupied individuals to superimpose their own visions of history in this exhibition commemorating 50 years of sovereignty within the State of Kuwait.  The month-long exhibit will be held in February of 2011, with one opening on February 1st, and the second on February 15th beginning at 7pm.

The body of work being shown in this exhibition acts as a kind of historiographical analysis over the development of the State of Kuwait in relation to the rest of the world.  Artists here explore a number of topical, socio-political issues that analyze how argument [tradition] shifts over time in response to the changing conditions of market and state [flux].  How was Kuwait culturally affected by a financial grown spurt with the discovery of petroleum?  Is the country’s social and cultural development up to par with the Dinar? What is art to a society like Kuwait?  These are some of the questions addressed through a range of mediums including video, photography, sound, sculpture, installations, and even the incorporation of design for debate as an aesthetic in art. Works range from individual histories, to folk, fiction, and secularist landscapes that combat stereotype, stigmas, and dogmas.  Sultan Gallery invites you to explore 50 years of independence, and 20 years of liberation through the eyes of the country’s young cultural cohort and protagonists starting February 1st 2011.

Sultan Gallery Exhibition Schedule:

February 1st | 7-9 pm
February 2nd | 10am – 4pm & 7-9 pm
February 3rd – 10th| 10am – 4pm (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays)
February 15th | 7-9 pm
February 16th | 10am – 4pm & 7-9 pm
February 17th – 24th|10am – 4pm (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays)

For more information please contact:
Sultan Gallery
South Sabhan
Block 8, Street 105
Building 168
Tel: +965 24714325/26 ext. 111
Mob: +965 60970001

Kuwait 50/20 Exhibition

I will have a major project in the second installation of this two-part exhibition featuring artists who are challenging the construction of history through visual practice.

As part of its mission to foment critical thinking through visual arts, Sultan Gallery has invited a number of artists, curators and similarly occupied individuals to superimpose their own visions of history in this exhibition commemorating 50 years of sovereignty within the State of Kuwait. The month-long exhibit will be held in February of 2011, with one opening on February 1, and the second on February 15 beginning at 7pm."

Hope to see all of you there on February 15, 2011!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I don't think they can stop us all....

The Art of Social Advocacy 

He may not be China's most famous living artist, but Ai Weiwei's stature defies all odds: He not only delights in infuriating Chinese officials, but this soft-spoken, multitalented artist, known best for his performance and conceptual work, also eschews cocktail parties and claims to spend a mere 5% of his time thinking about or creating art.

Still, Mr. Ai, 53, is undoubtedly China's most outspoken artist. In 2008, as the rest of his country cheered on the Olympics here, the co-designer of the most iconic symbol of that year's Games—the National Stadium, also known as the "bird's nest"—stirred a tempest by insisting there was nothing to celebrate. He accused the Chinese government of putting on a charade, showcasing its modern facilities and economic might while depriving its own people of dignity and basic rights. He called it a fake coming-out party and coined an alternate slogan for Beijing's global welcome: "Pretend smile."

Mr. Ai himself doesn't smile much. "I probably spend 30% of my time meeting with people whose wife has vanished, or son is missing or been arrested without evidence," he says when we met earlier this month in his art studio north of Beijing. "They tell me about their problems, things they should really tell officials. But nobody else is listening."

Mr. Ai spends six to eight hours each day online, largely on Twitter. His blog was blocked long ago. "I'm totally banned in China. Nobody can talk about me or my work," he says, stroking his signature beard. Then, with a grin, he adds: "At least, not officially."

When Mr. Ai was placed under house arrest last November, news immediately spread around the world. "The Internet is a miracle," Mr. Ai says. "It is the thing that will change China, definitely. Of that, I have no doubt."

All this would seem to leave Mr. Ai scant time for making art; instead, it's fueled a prolific and meteoric career. He mounted more than a dozen shows last year, including an exhibit at London's Tate Modern (through May 2, 2011) that features 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds, individually crafted by 1,600 workers. Mr. Ai is also among China's most well-known architects and photographers. He has two major shows soon: a retrospective in Switzerland of his photography and an exhibition in Austria of his architecture.

That he can achieve all this without much time for meetings or networking is all the more astonishing since such work normally demands total immersion and constant self-promotion. Of course, it helps that the Chinese government buoys Mr. Ai's fame by keeping him in the news.

Barbara Kelley
An illustration of Ai Weiwei

At the time of our meeting, Mr. Ai was again making headlines. He had just returned from Shanghai, where on Jan. 11 he watched as authorities demolished his studio there. It was part of a $1 million artistic community center that local officials had asked him to build, hoping Mr. Ai's presence would anchor a new arts district like Beijing's 798 (which he had helped found). The plan worked: With Mr. Ai on board, other artists flocked to the new area. But the welcome mat was soon yanked from under him, Mr. Ai maintains, because of his social advocacy.

Officials had hoped to quietly raze the Shanghai center. When they first told Mr. Ai last year that they planned to tear down the building, he mischievously promised a huge farewell party featuring river crab—which in Mandarin sounds like the term for harmony, the ideological buzzword of the Communist Party. This outraged officials and resulted in Mr. Ai's November confinement at his Beijing home, guaranteeing that word would spread throughout the Internet.

"It's so predictable," he says, almost sympathetically.

China is used to shocking stuff from this bold artist. He's spent years fighting for a full accounting of student deaths from the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. One of his most powerful works fills a studio wall with the names of 5,000 children. They were in the 20 schools that turned to dust while the surrounding buildings stood firm, he notes. Officials still refuse to investigate the apparent corruption that resulted in such substandard construction or to acknowledge such a large number of deaths.

Instead, they respond with repression and arrests. Several advocates have been detained. When local writer and activist Tan Zuoren went on trial, Mr. Ai flew to the provincial capital of Chengdu but was prevented from attending. "Police beat me, and I nearly died," he says. In Germany for a subsequent art exhibit and suffering from headaches, he saw a doctor and was rushed into surgery to drain blood from his brain.

Critics suggest that Mr. Ai uses advocacy to further his career, and hides behind the security of a foreign passport. "I'm here on a Chinese passport, like everyone else," he responds. While he spent a dozen years in New York, his was a textbook story of the struggling artist. He snapped the odd picture for newspapers, but mostly survived as a day laborer, often demolishing buildings. "I really had a funny feeling when I watched my studio in Shanghai go down," he confesses. "I was sad, but I also thought, 'Man, they really know what they are doing.'"

Mr. Ai's life in the U.S. was, by his own admission, rather aimless. He returned to China in 1993, when his father, Ai Qing, became ill. Back in Beijing, he resumed a life of such leisure that his mother threatened to call the police on him. "After 12 years in the U.S., I came back without a diploma or green card, and no money. I was just hanging around with friends, smoking and playing poker. That's all we did."

To escape the parental nagging, he fled to the outskirts of Beijing, to a bleak village called Caochangdi. It's now one of Asia's chic artist colonies, along with nearby 798. "It was land nobody wanted," he says. "When I saw it and heard a train go by, I thought: 'This is perfect. Nobody will ever want to come here and develop such a place.'"

Mr. Ai reckons he's responsible for the design of perhaps 100 units around Caochangdi. Other artists began hankering for similar spaces, and many found them in the abandoned warehouses at 798.

Celebrated internationally, Mr. Ai has largely escaped a backlash against his activism. Until now. Days before we met, his first major exhibit at 798 was abruptly canceled. Yet there is little chance he will back down. Perhaps unapparent earlier to his parents, his veins are unquestionably filled with the blood of his father, an artist and celebrated poet exiled to a labor camp during Mao's purges. Ai Weiwei grew up in China's desolate Xinjiang province, watching his father clean toilets.

Why put himself at similar risk? "No reason, really," Mr. Ai says, mumbling into his beard. But then he rises up, adding: "I want to have a purpose, to protect the dignity of life. I feel it's ridiculous to live in a condition where people cannot access their rights. I don't want children to live in this situation.

"We have a responsibility, as artists, to fight for better conditions. I see freedom and justice as basic, fundamental rights for everyone. I'm just in this position to make my voice heard." He acknowledges that his fame, and friends around the world, afford him that ability. "But there are a million people like me in China. I don't think they can stop us all."

Mr. Gluckman is a writer based in Beijing.

original article here: 

Ai Weiwei | The Art of Social Advocacy | By Ron Gluckman -


Saturday, January 22, 2011

my artwork exhibited at Bayt Al-Othman

Two of my artworks are on exhibit for the "17th Cultural Festival of Qurayn" at Bayt Al-Othman this January.  They produced a very nice catalog that includes a bio and images of artwork for all of the artists on exhibit ...but sorry this is Kuwait, so they do not have exact dates and hours to visit or even an address (however see the map below if you are interested).

Dar Al Funoon opening January 31

Dar Al Funoon cordially invites you to the book launch and exhibition of two prominent artists, Dhia Azzawi and Parviz Tanavoli,on Monday Jan. 31 at 7 pm

For information please see the attachment.

Please note change of e-mail address

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Islamic Chinoiserie?

In a surprise, unscheduled lecture, Dr. Yuka Kadoi gave a talk on the interaction between Iran and China during the Moghul period in the 13th c. at the Dar al Athar al Islamiyah on the 12th of January 2011.  I am sorry that I missed this lecture since it is a topic in my top ten areas of interest!

For more on the lecture:  Yuka Kadoi- China/Iran interaction...

and here:  "Islamic Chinoiserie"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ai Weiwei’s studio torn down

Chinese Government Tears Down Prominent Artist’s Studio

Published: January 12, 2011

BEIJING — The studio would have stood at the heart of an embryonic arts cluster on the outskirts of Shanghai, a draw for luminaries from around the world.

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ai Weiwei standing in the rubble of his studio in Shanghai on Tuesday.
It took two years to build, and one day to tear down.

An order to raze the studio — designed by Ai Weiwei, a protean artist who is one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party — was issued last July. Mr. Ai took the move to be retribution for rankling the authorities. He said officials told him that the demolition would not take place until after the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, which falls on Feb. 3.

So he was shocked to discover that workers had begun knocking it down early Tuesday, Mr. Ai said in a telephone interview from Shanghai on Wednesday. Mr. Ai said a neighboring studio he had designed for a friend had also been destroyed.

“Everything is gone,” he said. “It’s all black now. They finished the job at 9 o’clock last night.”

“I called the officials and said, ‘You promised us not to take it down until after New Year’s Day,’ ” Mr. Ai recounted. “They said, ‘If the studio is to be taken down, it doesn’t matter if it’s sooner or later.’ ”
Mr. Ai said that the officials might have moved ahead with their plans so that the destruction would take place without a spotlight. Neighbors of the studio called Mr. Ai’s assistant on Tuesday morning when they heard heavy machinery next door. Mr. Ai said he rushed onto an airplane in Beijing, where he lives, and arrived in time to see four machines and dozens of workers toiling away on the site. About 80 percent of the structures had been destroyed by the afternoon, he said.

Shanghai city officials could not be reached on Wednesday evening for comment.

Mr. Ai’s studio was to be used as an education center and a site for artists in residence. He had invited a group of university graduates from Oslo to come to the studio next month to study architecture with him.

Mr. Ai said he believed that his advocacy in two causes might have prompted Shanghai officials to order the razing. The first was that of Yang Jia, a Beijing resident who killed six policemen in a Shanghai police station after being arrested and beaten for riding an unlicensed bicycle. Mr. Yang became a hero among many Chinese, and was later executed. The second was the Kafkaesque case of Feng Zhenghu, a lawyer and activist who spent more than three months in Tokyo’s Narita Airport after Shanghai officials denied him entry. Mr. Ai made a documentary about Mr. Feng’s predicament.
Mr. Ai has also demanded democracy for China, criticized government corruption for playing a role in the deaths of schoolchildren in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and stridently supported Liu Xiaobo, a political prisoner who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Mr. Ai said that Shanghai officials had originally supported his plan for a studio on the site, which is in a village known for its grape farms. He said he spent $1 million to transform a dilapidated warehouse into a vast working space. Construction began in 2008 and ended in July 2010.

Mr. Ai has come to see his escalating conflict with government officials over the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule as performance art. In November, he spread word that he was throwing a river crab feast at the studio to protest the destruction order. The word for river crab, hexie, sounds nearly identical to the word for harmony, which the Communist Party claims to promote; the party’s critics like to say censors are “harmonizing” the Internet and other forms of media.

Mr. Ai was put under house arrest in Beijing two days before the feast, but about 800 people showed up at the studio anyway. “You can’t imagine that in Communist history, this would happen,” he said.

original article here: Chinese Government Tears Down Prominent Artist's Studio

Saturday, January 8, 2011

REUSE 4.0 exhibit, Jan. 11–13

REUSE, now in its fourth year, serves as an opportunity for non-profit organizations, companies, professionals and aspiring creative talents to showcase their accomplishments in the fields of social responsibility and sustainability via a range of artistic mediums and interactive activities for the general public.

This year REUSE 4.0 is being held on January 11 – 13th of 2011 on the premises of the Australian College of Kuwait from 4 to 9pm daily with an expansive participation list to date.  On a daily basis, REUSE 4.0 will feature a dynamic mix of art galleries, music, film screenings, mixed media installations, a lounge, go-kart sprints, trendy eco- fashion & accessories, prizes, surprises & more.

To Learn More:
Read the REUSE official blog:

Join en.v online:

Join the en.v Facebook Fan Page:

Follow us on Twitter:

Watch us on Youtube:

For more information please contact:
The en.v Initiative
Tel: +965 2252- 4614
Fax: +965 2252-4615
Email :

Netherlands-based Iraqi artist, exhibit opens January 11th, 2011

Sultan Gallery cordially invites you for the opening of '20 Seasons A Day' – a solo exhibition by Netherlands-based Iraqi artist, Nedim Kufi from the 11th of January until the 27th of January, 2011.

The opening will be held on Tuesday, 11th January 2011 from 7 - 9 PM in the presence of the artist.

Attached is the invitation of the same.

Exhibit opening for Fadi Yazigi from Syria, 10 January 2011

Dar Al Funoon has the pleasure to invite you to the first exhibition of the year on  Monday 10 January 2011 at 7 pm, to an exhibition by Fadi Yazigi from Syria. Fadi's exhibition will consist of a great variety of media: paintings, sculptures, furniture and a great variety of forms of art; all carrying his iconic signature.

For further information please see the attached card.