Sharjah International Book Fair 29th Edition

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
ExpoCenter 7th - 17th November, 2012. Hours | Saturday - Thursday: 10a.m. - 10p.m.; Friday: 4p.m - 10p.m.

Monday, 27 February 2012 | Showcasing a passion for fashion

Three Arab expatriates, alumnae of the American University of Sharjah and the University of Sharjah, proved that apart from all the multi-tasking they could lay their hands on, women could also re-invent themselves

Sharjah: Baubles and bangles. Long gowns and scarves. And then some.

The Maraya Art Centre, the community arena for established as well as budding artists in the UAE, at the Al Qasba in Sharjah has also become the venue for emerging entrepreneurs, thanks to the urban and cultural festival, “Twinge SHJ”. The festival entered its second night on Sunday, where the passion for fashion was the underlying theme.

Three Arab expatriates, alumnae of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and the University of Sharjah (US) , proved that apart from all the multitasking they had become adept at, women could also reinvent themselves.

That is, when they set their hearts on something they really want to do and when given the chance.

“When opportunity knocks, grab it,” said Eman A. Khattab.

“You have to know the market,” interjected Nemat B. El Shuloh.

Close friends since their university days at the AUS, both are now business partners through the one-month old Eclat.

Eclat, the French word for “ceremonial elegance, splendour, light and shimmer,” is their interpretation of trendy conservative fashion.

Wives and mothers, both expressed gratitude to the Sharjah Business Women’s Council as well, saying they got the support from the leadership and their co-members for leading them to the right people who could help them in their new endeavour.

Environmental scientist Khattab, who grew up dressing up her Barbie dolls and learning how to use the sewing machine with her mother, said all one has to do is “do not listen to people who say ‘no’.”

“We also have to love our work and be smart by knowing what is not available in the market,” she added.

Architect El Shuloh highlighted the virtues of courage, commitment and character, adding one should always look at the bright side of life.

Both said it took them one-and-a half years to start what they have been wanting to engage in, since their AUS days.

“All one has to do is go for it,” they both said.

For 20-year-old Leila Akeel, being a businesswoman is one of her goals.

The pharmacy student believes being in business is where she could be active.

Hence, from a hobby that she has been fond of - tinkering with damaged trinkets - ever since she could remember, Akeel has become an artist of handcrafted jewellery of gemstones her mother buys for her.

“I want to develop this into a very good business some day,” she said.

Sharjah urban art festival is a learning curve, says painter

By Mariecar Jara-Puyod

SHARJAH: Noha Mourad was born and raised in Abu Dhabi 28 years ago. She and her family used to lap up the pristine waters of what would be internationally known as the Yas Island.

Today, those memories of tranquillity and simple pleasures, particularly when the fisherfolk taught them the simple rudiments of line fishing, would forever be in a canvas.

She told The Gulf Today the yearning to do something had always been there. But then, she did not know what it was. Her quest ended in 2007.

Calendar of events

Feb.27 - Reels of Sharjah: Screening of short films by Emirati and other UAE-based directors, namely Beno Saradzic, Shahid Azam, Faisal Hashmi, Ashraf Ghori, Haneen Kanaan, Omar Tanira and Neel Kumar.

Feb.28 - Laughter Therapy: A dose of comedy in Arabic, English and Urdu presented by Dubomedy.

Feb.29 - Kuttab Launch Night: Exclusive publishers’ night with Jamal Shihhi and Kuttab

Mar.1 - Rhythm Sessions: Night of music featuring The Abbo, Desert Heat, Tiny Hassan, Feras, Heba Rashid, Generation Band, and 4 Brownies.

Mar.2 - Magic of Poetry: Farrah Chamma, Muneer Jaehoon, Haneen Assaf, Abdulla Kassim, Shamma Kabital, Mohammad Azimudder, Asmaa and Afra Atiq will be taking the stage.

All events are being held at the Maraya Art Centre of Al Qasba. Doors open at 7pm and shows start at 8pm.
That was when, as a young mother in Cairo, Egypt, the art studio beside her home became the start of what she would be now - an artist indulging in oil painting.

The marketing graduate from the Arab Academy of Science and Technology in Alexandria, Egypt said those in the art studio who became her mentors and peers taught her everything she needed to know about painting.

From then on, Mourad found the discipline not only in the visual arts that need extra amounts of patience as it takes six months for an oil paint to dry up, but also discovered the need to create time as well as space for one’s self in order that anything of interest would lead to becoming a better person.

With over 20 paintings carrying her signature in a span of five years, the mother of two pre-school daughters is happily participating for the second time around at an urban arts festival that started in Dubai three months back and is now under way in Sharjah as “Twinge SHJ.”

A few hours before the curtains went up on Saturday evening at the Maraya Art Centre of Al Qasba, Mourad said Twinge has become a “learning experience” for her.

She welcomed the feedback about her works which may range from her interpretation of the Dubai Marina to how men and women relax.

“I get a whole lot of different points of view. It is a learning curve for me. What I do right, what I need to change,” she said, adding that while it is her mother Zeinab who has been the family’s artist all the way, it is her two daughters who sit down beside her whenever the muses call her to paint, who have become her critics.

“I know now when they do not like what I (sketch or play with the colours) on canvas,” Mourad said.

Eight of her paintings are on exhibit at the “Twinge SHJ” including her very first landscape, “Grand Tetons,” accomplished in half a year.

“I love details. That is why I do landscapes. I also love bright colours,” she said.

Mourad who also does portraitures, admitted to have gained confidence from joining the urban art festival.

So far, six of her paintings had been sold, including two through “Twinge DXB.”

At the end of the interview, Mourad said of women who may be dilly-dallying on what they want to pursue in life: “Go ahead. It is very rewarding.”