Category Archives: Mosaic
From the Hajar mountains where endangered tahr perch on rocky outcrops, to long sandy beaches where newly- hatched turtles brave numerous dangers to reach the sea, Oman is rich with ecosystems. Its unique array of fascinating and often enigmatic wildlife is attracting increased interest from conservationists. However, the country is also undergoing rapid development, which is encroaching on the natural, rugged landscape. Hotel and resort developments are key to tourism but projects such as the Yiti project, on one of the most beautiful unspoilt beaches in the world, which was aborted due to the Dubai financial crisis in 2009 – leaving behind an unfinished building site as well as a displaced community – do not enhance the future landscape of Oman.
The Franco-Cameroon comedian, starred in French films, appeared on variety shows and was once the toast of the Parisian celebrity scene. His double act with Jewish comedian Eli Semmoun, meant his routine had defined the sophisticated, multi-racial nation France had become. As a deeply committed anti-racist campaigner, Dieudonne used his fame to promote anti-racist causes and denounce the role of the political elites in targeting minorities.
One of his latest paintings is a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, an extremely moving painting, where Mandela leapt off the canvas at me when I first saw it.
Princess Alice was fortunate in that she was able to document life in the Kingdom as a country on the brink of major change. Her visit coincided with the momentous occasion when Saudi Arabia first discovered oil. The British had previously abandoned their explorations deeming them to be “unproductive” however, the tenacity of their American rivals paid off not long after when “Well No. 7″ came onstream, the first Saudi well ever to produce oil commercially. Princess Alice was there to witness the first pumping of this awe-inspiring discovery that would change the face of the Kingdom and the World so irrevocably.
She attended the prestigous Sundance Institute Film Lab, a key development programme for independent film-makers. Her husband recalls: “There was a lot of interest in the film from the very beginning but investors would get nervous and then back away.” Eventually, it was a member of the Saudi Royal family who eventually came on board and their participation made Wadja possible.
While the sea, sun and sand may be among the main attractions for visitors to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second city, these powerful elements are also responsible for the gradual degradation of one of the world’s greatest outdoor sculpture collections. But the current restoration of the impressive range of sculptures on the corniche appears as significant for the city as the day they were erected.