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25/03/2017 - 18:57hs

Arab art exhibition opens at subway station

The exhibition organized by the Arab Chamber opened this Saturday at São Bento subway station in São Paulo. The state secretary of Culture attended the event and underscored the sophistication of the region’s handcrafts.

Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Chamber

The exhibition opened on March 25

São Paulo – An Arab arts and crafts exhibition opened this Saturday (25) at São Bento Metro station in São Paulo to celebrate Arab Community Day (March 25). The leadership of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, authorities and representatives of the Arab community attended the exhibition’s opening, with the works already attracting the eyes of passersby.

The Arab Chamber organized the exhibition in partnership with the São Paulo Metro. “It shows another side of Arabs to the population. It’s very gratifying to see the people stopping to look at the works, to witness this curiosity, this interest in the Arabs”, said Arab Chamber president Rubens Hannun, pointing out also that the exhibition is integrated with the community and being held in the Metro station nearest March 25th Street.

Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Chamber

Authorities and the leadership of the Arab Chamber in the event

Hannun opened the exhibition alongside the secretary of Culture of the State of São Paulo, José Roberto Sadek, the Arab Chamber’s Management Council president Walid Yazigi, and the head of São Paulo Metro Company’s Corporate Marketing Department, Fernanda Noer.

“I’m pleased because the people step off the trains and come straight to here to see the items,” said the exhibition’s curator, Silvia Antibas, who also is the Culture director of the Arab Chamber. The goal was to attract lots of viewers, according to her. Arab Chamber CEO Michel Alaby pointed out that this is an exhibition of Arab crafts for Brazilian people.

The exhibition is a portrayal of the richness of Arab culture. The glass-encased pieces include a small olive tree made of iron with little black balls representing olives from Tunisia. Other strikingly beautiful handicraft items include a teapot and a tube to hold documents from Oman.

Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Chamber

A sword from Oman is part of the exhibition

Another piece that stands out due to its details is a wooden bowl from Sudan whose inside is lined with giraffe designs. The bowl’s exterior features carved zebras and lions. Also on display from Sudan is a wooden cane painted black and silver.

From Lebanon, there’s a ceramic and glass tea set. From Kuwait, a small wooden ship and a wood-and-metal chest. Also featured is a Jordanian painting in which mosaics give shape to a tree.

The piece from Palestine could not have been more symbolic: a mother-of-pearl-framed picture of two peace doves. Also in the exhibition, a golden sword from Oman, a marquetry table from Syria, a picture of a silver house door from Tunisia and an astrolabe from Syria. Each of the pieces includes a banner with a QR Code to provide additional information about the crafts of each country. Visitors are required to download an app. 

Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Chamber

Colorful mosaic work and necklace

Also included in the exhibition is an iron and copper teapot from Mauritania, a ceramic vase from Morocco, an illustrated copper plate from Libya, a ceramic pot from Jordan, daggers from Yemen, a ceramic and wood frame from the UAE, a metal plate from Egypt, a plaster and wood piece from Qatar, a set of necklace and earrings from Algeria, tapestry and wood pieces from Saudi Arabia, among others. 

The dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil and Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Alzeben attended the exhibition opening and lauded the Arab Chamber for the initiative, as well as for holding it in such a busy setting. “Everyone passing through will see what our culture is about,” he told ANBA. The pieces on display are part of the collection of the Arab Chamber, gathered in 65 years of activities as gifts from the Arab countries.

Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Chamber

The architect Ruy Ohtake visited the exhibition

The São Paulo state Culture secretary highlighted the artistic diversity of the event. “This type of exhibition is very important since it reveals the variety of the crafts from the Arab countries. They are ‘Arabs,’ but each one has its own distinct feature,” said Sadek. He also mentioned the quality of the region’s crafts. “Here we can attest how sophisticated and well-designed these crafts are,” he said. The exhibition also reveals, according to him, the proximity between the Arab and Brazilian cultures.

The exhibition is part of the São Paulo Metro’s Linha de Cultura program. The head of the São Paulo Metro Company’s Corporate Marketing Department said the exhibition recounts some of the history of March 25th Street, which the São Bento station gives access to. The street is a symbol of the Arab community and received the first shops of the immigrants when they arrived in Brazil in the 19th century. According to Noer, nearly 70,000 people go through the platform where the exhibition is taking place.

Other personalities also attended the opening, such as the architect and urbanist Ruy Ohtake and the vice-president of International Relations of the Arab Chamber, Osmar Chohfi, among others.  

Quick info

Exhibition “Arts and Crafts in the Arab World”
From March 25 to April 30, 2017
São Bento Subway Station (inside hall) – Line 1 Blue
From Sunday to Friday, from 4:40 am to 12:32 am, and from Saturday to Sunday, from 4:40 am to 1 am
Largo de São Bento, 109 – Downtown – São Paulo

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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