Nada Debs — Centuries of Arabic Motifs Resurface in Contemporary Design

Strand console

Nada Debs, a Beirut-based furniture, home, and accessory designer uses cultural influences from at least four regions from where she has lived: Lebanon, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom — merging them into striking product lines that might seem more appropriate coming from Milan, London, Tokyo, Paris, or New York instead of Lebanon. Yet, while her work is stylish and modern, she imposes, none-too-subtly, timeless Arabic motifs that compliment her modernist approach resulting in pieces that function outside of their original Lebanese territory into a contemporary international aesthetic. read more

Moving Pakistan Toward Sustainability — Beginning with Trash

Nargis Latif

Twenty years ago, Nargis Latif began Gul Bahao (Flow of Flowers) as a research project to propel Pakistan into the twenty-first century, and in doing so, she learned that industry depends on nature, and that business and manufacturing needed to change how they functioned in a way that did not damage nature while conducting business or making things. She began her endeavor in the same place other countries began their sustainability efforts: in the trash. read more

Compelling Words in Public Space: French-Tunisian Artist, eL seed, Writing on the Walls of The World

Words written in Arabic invoke a variety of responses from Latin-based language speakers. One one hand, Arabic appears otherly and foreign — the language of people enduring political and social conflict — a secret code perhaps, disguising malicious intent. On the other hand, Arabic writing is a historically recognized conveyor of poetry, music, philosophy, doctrine, and verse. The letters, always cursive, never Gothic, flow right-to-left in the opposite direction from that of the inquisitive West. An extremely orderly language in its Modern Standard or classical form, it is somewhat ironic that its speakers, obsessed with maintaining its complex written and pronounced nuances, has respected, encouraged, and subsidized free and creative graphical interpretations by its artists throughout centuries, and it continues today on a startling scale as demonstrated by poet-artist, eL seed. read more

Tamara Abdul Hadi Stages Self-Portraits in Palestine

Dubai photographer, Tamara Abdul Hadi, lets Palestinians capture their own images. She sets up a camera with an extended shutter cable and lets the subjects photograph themselves. In this fashion, the photo subjects display greater apprehension to take a more formal photo versus that of the common smartphone selfie. read more

The Infographic — Or, How We Use Creative Media to Explain the Messes We Help Make

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Conflicts throughout the world have become ever increasingly complex in their beginnings and ongoing outcomes. Trying to understand why the Arab Spring began and how it spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East or who the myriad of participants in the now five-year-old plus Syrian Civil War takes a significant amount of focus and tenacity to absorb details from media sources or history books. Enter the infographic, a relatively new form of media that attempts to squeeze the complexity of modern-day social, economic, and political issues into a few minutes of clarity. read more