Al-Khwarizmi and Algebra


Ancient Greek Babylonian and Indian mathematicians had all found ways of calculating missing numbers. Al-Khwarizmi combined these methods together to develop algebra. The word algebra comes from the Arabic “al-jabr” which means “bringing back order.” Al-jabr was one of the terms used by al-Khwarizmi to describe how to find the missing numbers in an equation. Muhammad al-Khwarizmi lived in the 9th century and worked in Baghdad where he was an important scientist at the Bayt al-Hikma. Al-Khwarizmi wrote the first book on algebra.

Source: Talim Primary 3

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Travel Writing inspired by Hajj


Ibn BattutaThe pilgrimage to Mecca gave rise to a rich genre of travel writing.

Pilgrims kept journals of their travels thus providing interesting details about everything from food and clothing to architecture. One of the most fascinating travel accounts is the Safarnama of Nasir-i Khusraw (1004c.-1072), who journeyed to Cairo through Nishapur, Rayy, (both in Iran), Aleppo (Syria) and Jerusalem (Israel). From Cairo, he made two pilgrimages to Mecca before returning to Central Asia as the chief dai (missionary) for the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mustansir billah (r. 1036-1094).

The Arabic version of the pilgrimage-travelogue is known as the rihla. The genre was developed by the Andalusian Ibn Jubair (1145-1217), who wrote a famous account of the two-year journey he made starting in February 1183, to Mecca. His narrative provides information about the countries and cities through which he passes, and is an invaluable source of information about the political and social conditions…

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Discover Egypt’s Revolutionary Street Art, in Washington D.C. Henri Neuendorf, Friday, January 16, 2015


An American tourism professional who captured Cairo’s politically charged graffiti during the Arab Spring is organizing an exhibition of her photography in Washington D.C., the Capitol Hill Times reports.

Genevieve Hathaway moved to Egypt in 2011 to help a friend start her tour company. She unexpectedly found herself in the middle of the Egyptian Revolution—at a time when many Egyptian artists took to the streets of Cairo to express themselves.

Hathaway told the Capitol Hill Times “I was living on Tahrir Square watching the street art evolve and nobody was documenting it. This was extremely evocative art that stood a chance of being lost forever, and much of it will never be seen.” Determined to preserve the Egyptian people’s revolutionary art she resolved to document as many murals across Cairo as possible.

Before the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign in 2011, citizens who voiced opposition to the government were risking jail, torture and even death. However, the danger didn’t discourage some brave individuals from making their feelings known.

“The street art gave people something to talk about in a culture that never allowed political discussion,” Hathaway said. “I want to empower people to see the Arab Spring in a different light. I don’t think the Arab Spring was a failed event. It brought the masses together for a common goal: democracy.”

War on Walls: Egypt’s Arab Spring Street Art is on view at St. Marks Cathedral until February 15

Samsung taps Lee Don-tae as its design wizard 15th January 2015|home|newslist1


Can Samsung Electronics finally nail the design thing?

In 1996, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee said: “The decisive point in 21st-century business management will be design.”

Ever since, the tech giant has been trying to improve its design.

But as rival Apple won accolade after accolade for its designs – in addition to millions of devoted customers – Samsung had as many misses as hits in the design department.

Now, the Korean tech giant is promising once again to revolutionize its approach to design by hiring Lee Don-tae, the co-president of the global design consulting firm Tangerine.

Earlier this month, Samsung hired the 47-year-old Gangwon native as its global design team leader.

Lee, who is also a professor at the industrial design department of Hongik University, joined Tangerine as an intern in 1998 and became its president in just seven years.

What’s interesting is that London-based Tangerine was founded by Jonathan Ive, who is the senior vice president of design at Apple and who has led the designs of the iPhone, iPad and IOS7. Samsung expects Lee to bring Tangerine’s design “DNA” to the company as Ive did at Apple.

Industry insiders are watching Samsung’s recruitment of Lee because he is not known as a mere designer but a “design entrepreneur.”

Lee, who has a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London, is best known for redesigning British Airways’ business-class cabins. By rearranging the seat configuration in an “S” shape, he found more space for each seat and allowed them to fold down into flat beds.

This design won the IDEA Grand Prix in 2001 and British Airways eventually commissioned his company to redesign its first-class cabins as well. The airline reportedly saw its annual operating profits increase by 800 billion won.

“Design isn’t a tool to achieve the designer’s self-realization,” Lee said in his book “Foresight Creator.” “The designer should always consider the risk of the company.”

Samsung hopes his contribution will be spread far beyond designing products. His work at Samsung’s Design Management Center will be under the control of Samsung Electronics President Yoon Boo-keun, who heads the company’s consumer electronics division.

“Lee will be in charge of leading innovation of overall and general design of Samsung products including smartphones,” an official from Samsung said.

Samsung has been recruiting many designers from outside. It previously hired Tim Gudgel, a former senior Apple Retail Store designer, and Chris Bangle, who is known as one of the world’s top three automobile designers.

Industry insiders say that as the market enters a mature stage, the functions and performances of products are becoming the same, while design can bring key differentiation or distinction. While Samsung fought with Apple over design patents on smartphones, the new stage of the war is expected to center on smartwatches.

Lee has been said his keyword in design is “foresight,” which refers to imagining and predicting the future based on data and experiences.

Lee’s collaboration with Samsung already produced results in the past. From 2006 to 2012, he worked as a design master to Samsung C&T and won acclaim for the design of apartment interiors.

The creativity boost is not only happening at Samsung Electronics. Cheil Worldwide, the Samsung affiliate that makes advertisements and does marketing consulting, said Monday that it hired Malcolm Poynton as chief creator officer to boost the company’s presence in the global market.

The New Zealand-born Poynton has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and his resume includes work at agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, and Ogilvy. He was Europe’s chief creative officer for the digital marketing consulting agency SapientNitro.

He has also chaired and judged various international award shows including Cannes Lions, the Clio Awards, D&AD, the London International Awards, the International Andy Awards and the Webbys.

Meanwhile, Samsung Group is expected to spend 50 trillion won ($46 billion) for facilities and R&D investments this year, which is a similar amount as last year.

Korea’s largest conglomerate doesn’t disclose its investment figures as a group, but a source from Samsung Group said Wednesday that this year’s investment will maintain the previous year’s level.

Samsung reportedly spent around 50 trillion won in 2014. According to industry sources, Samsung’s investment has been growing gradually every year from 42 trillion won in 2011.

Its flagship Samsung Electronics will also likely invest an amount equivalent to what it spent last year. The tech giant reportedly invested 24 trillion won and is expected to spend about 25 trillion won in production facilities, according to sources. About 15 trillion won is expected to be spent on the semiconductor business.


Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy April 20–July 26, 2015 #DeccanSultans Purchase advance tickets to avoid waiting in admission lines. Exhibitions are free with Museum admission. Gallery 199

The Deccan plateau of south-central India was home to a succession of highly cultured Muslim kingdoms with a rich artistic heritage. Under their patronage in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, foreign influences—notably from Iran, Turkey, eastern Africa, and Europe—combined with ancient and prevailing Indian traditions to create a distinctive Indo-Islamic art and culture.

This exhibition will bring together some 165 of the finest works from major international, private, and royal collections. Featuring many remarkable loans from India, the exhibition—which is the most comprehensive museum presentation on this subject to date—will explore the unmistakable character of classical Deccani art in various media: poetic lyricism in painting, lively creations in metalwork, and a distinguished tradition of textile production.


Attributed to the Bombay painter (probably named Abdul Hamid Naqqash). Sultan ‘Ali ‘Adil Shah II Shooting an Arrow at a Tiger (detail), ca. 1660. Bijapur. Ink, opaque watercolor, gold and probably lapis lazuli pigment on paper. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Lent by Howard Hodgkin

The exhibition is made possible by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, the Placido Arango Fund, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the Doris Duke Fund for Publications.

Monogatari-e: Illustrated Narrative Paintings by administrator, Thursday, January 1, 2015 – 14:12

Illustrated Story of Poet Saigyo Tales of Heike

IT HAS BEEN 24 years since the Idemitsu Museum has presented an exhibition on a similar theme, and for this current show about 30 paintings in various formats have been chosen. 2014 was the commemorative 400th year of the artist Hon’ami Koetsu receiving Takagamine in north Kyoto and turning it into a artists’  Utopia, and several rimpa-related exhibitions were organised in Japan throughout the year. The master artist who worked most closely with Koetsu was Tawaraya Sotatsu, and his more representative and important work, Illustrated Stories of the Poet Saigyo, is in the Idemitsu’s collection and on show in this exhibition with all three of the scrolls on display for the first time to the public.
Monogatari-e (story painting) is a collective term used to describe a group of paintings which illustrate and highlight major scenes from Buddhist tales and the classical tales in Japanese literature. Representative narrative stories of the Heian period, for example, the Tale of Genji and Tales of Ise, were translated into paintings soon after their creation and became noted works of art in their own right in Japanese art history.  The forms (or scenes) reproduced as monogatari-e are always based on the words (or events) described in the original text of the stories. This exhibition examines the close relationship between the ‘form’ and the ‘words’, and also focuses on the incidental dramatic transformation of the tales represented  in the world of the illustrations.
However, the relationship between words and form is not always unilateral and does not necessarily always go in the same direction, they often echo each other, and are sometimes reversed, with the illustrations giving new life to the written story. This is because each of these forms (scenes) is the expression of the story as the artist understood it, whose own imagination then interprets the drama and transmits it to a wider audience in the form of a painting. Monogatari-e can therefore provide a definitive outline to a portrayal of an episode in a tale, which could then be rendered in countless ways by countless artists using the story as their base, this can often create an exciting scene beyond the imagination of the reader when just reading the story.
This exhibition proposes new ways of appreciating  monogatari-e. Not to view them according to the story, but to look at them when they are divided into six different categories, or themes, and presented in the exhibition as chapters to reflect the structure of the tale as presented in a book. Each of these themes is the mirror of various representative human emotions. Thus the forms/scenes and the words are so closely entangled that, at times, they add great drama to the tale.

Chapter One visits the Imagination of Monogatari-e, the Unreliability of Words. This section prompts the question, What kind of scene is selected and portrayed in the story? When one questions the scene and the events illustrated in the paintings, the viewer is probably ‘reading’ the narrated story from the images in the picture. While doing so, he is also using all his senses to search from his past memories of reading the original text on which the depiction is based. However, that is not always easy. In this chapter, the exhibition not only looks at the unreliability of the monogatari-e, but also at the same time, would like to suggest that this unreliability allows the viewer at that point to use his imagination to go further than merely reading the text, as it allows the imagination to travel in any direction, because of the uncertainty of memories and individual nterpretations of the text.
Chapter Two is all about Love Affairs and Loving Feelings, focusing on the Genji-e, the Tale of Genji. This tale is the  undoubted champion of all the narrative stories of Heian court literature – the life of a noble Prince Hikaru Genji, all told on larger-than-life scale and in such a grand manner. The central theme of the story relates to various episodes of the love affairs of court nobles, including those of Prince Genji himself.  In this chapter, the exhibition looks at the brilliantly portrayed love stories in Genji-e and some of the paintings that illustrate this famous story. By looking closely at the text, it is clear that it includes almost all of the major themes that are covered in the great mediaeval tales, which are also dealt with in the later chapters of this exhibition, which makes Genji-e the most comprehensive of all of the monogatari-e. No other work from this period can match Tale of Genji in popularity and longevity, or as a subject for the visual arts. It is one of the world’s most enduring as well as one of the earliest prose narratives in romantic literature. The tale is distinguished by the complexity of the plot, the depth of emotions the characters display, as well as its keen observation of nature, human psychology and social behaviour, all portrayed in a highly sophisticated prose style. The tale represents both the pinnacle of Japanese literary achievement from the mediaeval period and is still a primary focus for many artists in literary illustration to this day.
Chapter Three is concerned with the Broken Heart and Retirement, and Going Away. Being away from your everyday life and visiting place where you do not normally go, or naturally belong, through travel is an important theme of these tales.This chapter explores the reasons and motivations behind travel and the circumstances of it and how it is portrayed in the illustrations of the tales. Is it because the characters are looking for the loved one? Or have they been deserted by their lover? Or are they just despairing of the current life?  For illustration in this section of the exhibition, travel is seen through the portrayal by Tawaraya Sotasu in his Illustrated Stories of Saigyo, dated Kan’ei 7 (1630), which is an Important Cultural Property. The Story of Saigyo is that of a poet-priest – Saigyo dating from the Heian period.  Saigyo was a leading warrior by the name of Sato Yoshikiyo, serving the Imperial court, but he abandoned his position,  lamenting the chaos and misfortunes of his fellow warriors and eventually became a wondering monk. The illustrated scrolls by Tawaraya Sotatsu, is a study of the classical narrative scroll and copies the style of scrolls from the earlier Muromachi period. This particular scroll in the exhibition  portrays Saigyo presenting the farewell message to his master, retired-Emperor Toba, a parting poem of the last view of the beautiful palace. The scene also is related to the preceding Ise-e, because the painting in the palace in question is taken from the Tales of Ise, another famous story, in which Ariwara Narihira wanders the country for love. The portrayal of Saigyo and his farewell suggests a sense of travel and aimless wandering, and in so doing, hints at Saigyo’s own future travels in the tale.
Chapter Four brings us to Promotion and Fame, and a focus on Success and Failure. Only after overcoming difficulties in these tales can come success and consequent fame. The success of the hero in the story gives a sense of courage to the reader and heightens the emotions. In this chapter, success and failure is seen through what can only politely be called ‘the mastery of breaking wind’, as seen in the low humour of the Illustrated Story of an Old Man, Fukutomi from the 15th century. It is a cautionary tale of overnight millionaires and abject poverty. The success story is taken from the Tale of Uji Shui, a group of 197 tales, originally written around the beginning of the 13th century by unknown authors, and is represented by the painting of an archer by Sumiyoshi Jokei, Illustrated Story from the Tale of Uji Shui, 17th century, which is an Important Art Object.
Chapter Five is all about a Roughened Heart, Stories of Battles and Revenge. The story of fierce warriors, samurai, fighting each other for power, land and financial gain, is often told as a mixture of historical fact and the imagination. This chapter is illustrated by screens depicting Episodes of Ichi-no-Tani, Yashima and Dan-no-Ura, battle scenes of two rival clans, Genji and Heike, from the 17th century, and Scenes from the Tale of Soga, also from the 17th century, the latter being the revenge story of the Soga brothers. Both these screens express the powerful, chaotic and consufing experiences of large crowds of people engaged in battle.
Finally, Chapter Six presents Power of Prayer, In Search of Holy Deities. This section asks the question, What is expected after a fierce battle? In these ancient tales, there often appear supernatural beings, or the manifestation of other-worldly powers that create yet another attraction in the story. This chapter examines the miraculous efficacy of the gods, Buddha, and other deities, using as an example the screen Scene from the Origin of Tenjin Shrine, dated to the 15th century, an Important Art Object.

From 10 January to 15 February, at the Idemitsu Museum of Art, 9th Floor, Teigeki Bldg., 3-1-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo,



In recent years, Chinese artist Zhang Huan has turned his back on the aggressive performance and installation pieces of his youth to embrace Buddhism and its  serene understanding of the world—though the philosophy had never been far way from his life. His latest meditative work, Sydney Buddha, is currently on show at Sydney’s Carriageworks, as part of the Sydney Festival, and continues the art center’s ambitious program of bringing international artists to the city. Last year’s program included Christian Boltanski’s monumental installation Chance (2011), and 2013 saw Song Dong’s paean to futility, Waste Not (2005), which turned more than 10,000 items of domestic rubbish into a work of art. As this year’s featured artist, Zhang Huan has more than risen to the occasion with Sydney Buddha, turning 20 tons of incense ash gathered from Buddhist temples into a monumental sculpture—a work that touches on the inevitable consequences of life. Standing in the presence of the work, one can sense decay and death—and yet somehow also a hint of hope—hanging in the air.

Buddhism is the most common non-Christian religion in Australia. The country is also home to Nan Tien, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. Nan Tien, in Mandarin, means “Southern Paradise,” an apt translation considering the manicured lawns, bamboo stands, koi pond and Chinese vernacular architecture housed within the temple’s Wollongong compound in New South Wales. Upon entering the temple, visitors are often seen lighting incense sticks in a special burner as part of a religious ritual.

Burning incense gradually transforms into fragile sticks of ash, until gravity, or the merest breath of air, turns them into dust. The fragility of such ashes is something that Zhang has experimented with in recent years—including in his paintings and giant Buddha sculptures, which have been made using the temporal material. Depending on the atmospheric conditions of Carriageworks, Sydney Buddha may end up crumbling into little more than a pile of sacred ashes by the end of the show’s run.

Zhang is one of China’s premiere artists, who has been living in Shanghai since 2005, following several years in America during which prices for his work sky-rocketed in the art market. Upon his return to China, Zhang’s initial goal was to employ 50 assistants, a figure which has more than doubled over time. When I visited the artist’s studio in 2007, I saw his “ash-sorting room,” where six men were crouched on haunches while delicately separating the ashes into different colored piles of gray, soft white and coal black. The smell of incense in this enclosed room was intoxicating, and the assistants’ task of sorting the ashes appeared as a monumental execution of patience. Zhang assured me that this same production process it is still practiced today.

The ash used in Zhang’s work comes from Buddhist temples located near Shanghai, and the 20 tons used in Sydney Buddha took the artist three years to collect. “We treat the ash as a precious gift from the temples . . . we make a donation [to them in exchange] and invite the blessings that come with the ash to our studio,” Zhang told ArtAsiaPacific through an interpreter.

Sydney Buddha is, in fact, comprised of two statues, each standing 5.3 meters tall. One is an aluminum mold from which its mirror image is cast from a mixture made of ash and water. Upon removing the mold, the ash Buddha is completed, with the structure of its face and and one hand supported by special masks. These masks were later removed once the installation was premiered in Sydney, lending a performance element to the work. The raised hand, representing Buddha’s fearlessness, crashed silently down while the facial features fell away like wisps of clouds. The two statues have since been left facing each other in inquisitorial repose—the aluminum figure representing permanence, while the ash-Buddha, designed to disintegrate over time, embodies transience.

Commenting on the abandonment of his earlier gritty performances in favor of calm, spiritual works anchored in Buddhism, the 49-year-old artist insists “it is all to do with age.” Whatever the reason, it seems Zhang has discovered an inner peace that is manifest not only in his art, but in the asceticism that he practices in his daily life. “These Buddhas are not simple Buddhas, but are collective memories and hopes of our Chinese peoples,” says Zhang. “When I was young I always had a lot of fear and insecurity and aggression, but now that I am almost 50, as Confucius once said, I can see the end. [In] China we aspire for the ‘Chinese dream’: the revival of our culture, our history, our civilization. Our Chairman Xi Jinping says the day we realize the Chinese dream will be in 2049, one hundred years after Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China. We believe this.”

“Zhang Huan: Sydney Buddha” is currently on view at Sydney’s Carriageworks until March 15, 2015.

Intellectually gifted fashion maestro Hussein Chalayan transforms his creations Intellectually gifted fashion maestro Hussein Chalayan creates collections based on the theme of transformation, writes Vivian Chen


It would be a crime to pigeonhole Hussein Chalayan. Best known for fashion design, the two-time British Designer of the Year has also had his works displayed at prestigious art museums, and his avant-garde catwalks are often dubbed performing art shows in their own league.

The boundary-breaking creative mastermind has made forays into various creative aspects, from art to architecture to film and theatre. Known as one of the industry’s most intellectual designers, Chalayan has debuted short films at the Venice Biennale, and his retrospective exhibitions have been staged at museums across the globe.

After earning a fashion design degree from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (close to the time when the other two celebrated British designers, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, graduated), Chalayan started his own label in 1993 and has since come a long way.

His graduation collection, titled “The Tangent Flows”, which featured oxidised silk dresses buried underneath a friend’s garden for months, was such a hit that influential buyer store Browns bought the entire collection.

Following the hit debut, Chalayan’s intellectual approach to fashion continues to inspire. His experimental showpieces include the famous “coffee table dress” – a mahogany coffee table that morphs into a geometrical skirt – and the futuristic “womb” Lady Gaga broke out from at the Grammys in 2011. This theme of transformation has been revisited by the designer. His autumn/winter 2000 collection featured garments that doubled as sofa covers. Instead of trotting down the runway, Chalayan’s models interacted with furniture on stage.

His 2007 spring/summer series took transformation to another level. The entire collection conceptualised around the theme sent models trotting off the runway in outfits featuring built-in mechanisms which transformed floor-length Victorian gowns into 1920s flappers.

It’s not just showmanship that won Chalayan accolades as one of the world’s best fashion maestros, but his ability to combine spectacular optical effects and commerce in fashion. “The [showpieces] do have a role but, more importantly, they turn into wearable clothes which actually took the most time to construct,” he says.

Last year was an especially productive one for Chalayan. Alongside his own eponymous label, he took on a lot of responsibility, including designing French fashion house Vionnet’s demi-couture collection, relaunching Chalayan menswear after an eight-year break, and collaborating with famous architect Zaha Hadid to design costumes for the opera Cosi Fan Tutte which opened in May in Los Angeles. The production has made possible other high-profile creative collaborations such as Frank Gehry with Rodarte and Jean Nouvel with Azzedine Alaia.

Hussein Chalayan is a man of many talents. Apart from fashion, he has also dabbled in art and theatre.

The disciplines may vary, yet the core of Chalayan’s design philosophy remains the same. “They are part of the same world,” he says. “Other projects help me discover new ideas that end up [inspiring] new collections.”

While Chalayan could be the most experimental designer you come across, he’s known to be true to his legacy and in this case, for the revival of Chalayan menswear and maison Vionnet. “I wanted to re-introduce Chalayan menswear as we had been getting a lot of requests,” the designer says. “The new collection is very much an extension of the house silhouettes from the past Chalayan menswear – part structured, part relaxed. [The collection] appeals to a classic but also an experimental individual.”

The result is a much-anticipated men’s capsule collection consisting of 22 styles, some of which Chalayan showed alongside his spring/summer 2015 women’s collection. Both collections are built upon Moorish inspirations. In the men’s collection, tailored silhouettes dipped in a kaleidoscope of light green prints inspired by Moorish weaves and jacquard patterns make versatile wardrobe staples.

Similar aesthetics and tastes are evident in Vionnet’s demi-couture series that Chalayan has taken under his wings for the past year. He has done two collections since.

The silhouettes and constructions of his latest collection for Vionnet bear Chalayan’s signature touch, yet are executed with Vionnet’s classism and elegance in mind – think knee-length tube dresses with extended hem lines tied into a knot on the side and two-tone gowns featuring colour-contrasting pleated organza appliqué. “It’s an honorary project in light of the House of Vionnet’s spirit and imagining what [its founder] Madeleine Vionnet would have liked if she were still alive today,” Chalayan says.

Two pieces from Hussein Chalayan’s relaunched menswear. The collection comes from Moorish inspirations and is part structured, part relaxed.

Chalayan is no stranger to collaborations. Prior to the Vionnet project, he has worked extensively with other creative units. He has worked as creative director of international labels including Asprey, TSE New York and Puma. His stellar list of creative intellectual collaborators include actors, artists, musicians, theatre performers such as Academy Award-winning Tilda Swinton, dancer-choreographer Michael Clark and artist Nick Knight. Chalayan says the criterion he looks for in collaborators is that they share the spirit of doing something new.

His recent collaboration with famous architect Hadid is on couture level, according to Chalayan. Designing costumes for performers is a couture project, he says. Although Hadid has been a long-time friend, Chalayan says the synergy of them working together was refreshing. “It’s like many blind dates that culminate in something very exciting at the end,” he says. “We both experiment and we are both interested in form and movement.”

Chalayan says he continues to be inspired by modern women and wants to design empowering fashion for them. “I believe in carefully considered designs executed precisely with a delicate sense of construction and finish,” he says.” The woman I like dresses for the occasion and can be masculine one day and extremely feminine the next. She is a warm, curious individual.”

Warm and curious, just what we could say about Chalayan. But then again, he has so many star qualities.

A transformable dress from Hussein Chalayan’s previous collections



Graduates from London’s Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design

1999 and 2000

Wins British Designer of the Year award


Moves London show to Paris


Directs short film titled Absent Presence,shown at the Venice Biennale


Gets an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List


Becomes creative director of Puma


Stages two exhibitions to show retrospectives of his work


Launches his first fragrance Airborne


Signs licensing agreement with Venetian-based manufacturer Pier S.p.A for the production and distribution of his womenswear


Relaunches Chalayan menswear

REACTOR – A Response to the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Attack, from an Arab, Artist, and Frenchman by 2Fik on January 9, 2015 From:


I was sitting in my office on Wednesday morning when I learned with surprise, stupor, and fear of the horror of the Charlie Hebdo attack. This moment struck me three times, because of three of my different social identities: an Arab, an artist, and a Frenchman.

The Arab in me thought: “Here we go again…”

On September, 12, 2001, the day after the World Trade Center attacks, I was living back in Paris and quickly discovered the humiliation of being judged and analyzed from head to toe by each and every person because of my physical appearance, which reads as Muslim. Though I am an agnostic, many people take me to be a Muslim because of my appearance, because they think that every man with North African heritage who sports a beard is one.

It would be great if people could make the distinction between extremists (men crazy about religion who kill in the name of archaic beliefs) and Muslims (people who have faith in a monotheistic religion). Muslims are not extremists. They are believers. Saying that “all Muslims are extremists” is just like saying that “every pair of high-heeled shoes is going to hurt your feet”: this is a basic, general view that means nothing. You have to take into consideration the passion that a person puts into their actions and the social context.

The artist in me is promising: “I won’t give in to fear.”

After reacting as an Arab, I then reacted as an artist. To me, an artist who dies for their art is nearly the most beautiful expression of their success. This is where my obvious love of drama and theatrics becomes apparent. Moreover, as cheesy as it sounds, Charb’s affirmation resonated with me: “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.” At 11:15am, I shed my first tear of the day. I then received some death threats. My favorite was: “I will follow you, fuck you up, and chop your head off.” Included was a reworked Microsoft Paint photo of yours truly, decapitated. This loser didn’t even know how to use Photoshop! Bless his heart.

I’m no stranger to this tiny moment of cold sweat dripping down my neck when I ask myself whether or not I should continue making art. Instinctively, my reaction was: “Fuck it! I will do even more and piss off all of you extremist bastards.” Political cartoonists, just like every person today who expresses her or his vision of the world through art, is saying to extremists: “……………..”!  We’ll do our job anyway!”

The Frenchman in me thinks: “Damn! We failed.”

Finally, after the Arab and the artist in me responded, the Frenchman in me was sad. Sad to know that these men, born in France, fell into radicalism in the heart of Paris; sad to know that so many families have lost their loved ones; sad to think that maybe France has missed the mark when it comes to ensuring the integration of the first generation of French-born immigrants.

I am sad to know that my sister will be worried when she walks down the streets and that my brother will have to live his religion in secrecy. This is the absolute opposite of the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity upon which France was built. I have no doubt that the French will stand up against this awful and disgusting act. The extremists wanted to hurt France, but I think that they have made it stronger. Funnily enough, a journal that was on the verge of closing down will now be reborn out of the ashes of this tragedy with more readers, more solidarity, and more French pride than ever.

Tagged as: 2Fik, censorship, Charlie Hebdo, Featured, Paris, terrorism

Finest Collection of Japanese Art in US Given to Four Museums Laura Lesmoir-Gordon, Thursday, January 8, 2015


A hanging scroll dating from the 13th century is one of the gifts destined for the MFA.
Photo: Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is among four institutions set to receive the second half of an important collection of Japanese art, reports theBoston Globe.

The collection is that of Sylvan Barnet, a 1951 graduate of Harvard University, who, alongside his partner, William Burto, spent over 50 years gathering works of Japanese calligraphy and religious art. It is said to be one of the finest collections of its kind out side of Japan.

Last year, Barnet, aged 88, was diagnosed with brain cancer and given under a year to live. In 2013, when Burto passed away, he left his portion of the collection to the group of museums and now Barnet is doing the same. When discussing their decision to donate the works, Barnet said they wanted “to help people have the experience we had.”

The honored museums include two in Boston: the MFA and Harvard Art Museums. The Metropolitan Museum in New York City and the Freer Gallery in Washington will also receive a portion of the collection. Each institution will receive a varying number of works, which are roughly equal in quality and value.

The MFA will receive 179 pieces, which span from the Neolithic period to the 21st century and include works in ceramic and lacquer, as well as prints and photographs.

Speaking about the two collectors, Anne Nishimura Morse, the MFA’s curator of Japanese art described them as “individuals who have had unfailing senses of the beautiful and insatiable curiosities.”