NUQAT

Modernizing Kuwait/ middle-eastern culture:

(EXECUTING CULTURE SHOCK)

Nuqat is an non-profit organisation for cultural development in the GCC & MENA region.

Nuqat, firstly known as “Nuqat Ala Al Huroof”, started off with one objective in mind and that is “to develop arab creativity on all levels” be it in design, advertising, architecture, fashion, production and all the creative fields

Nuqat Conferences invite regional and international thought leaders to participate in a curated forum of talks, panel discussions, workshops and cultural events that are open to the public. Each conference is meant to explore a central idea providing everyone with the opportunity to participate, learn and move forward with an empowering perspective shift that can potentially lead to positive changes in the MENA region.

Nuqat Arts & Culture Program is comprised of offerings that aim to enrich culture in the Middle East and North Africa. The program is comprised of selected performances, galleries, film screenings, installations, and talks within inclusive settings – all are invited to attend.

Nuqat Research is collecting consumer data and leaders’ opinions in the Middle East &North Africa through exploration sessions, surveys & cultural tourism programs. This work is beingdone with aims to analyze and compile data and feedback into a vision that can start dialogues and government initiatives that can create a more progressive future in the region free from oil dependency and stagnant thinking.

LOYAC

LOYAC is a Kuwaiti nonprofit organization, it is also the first to play a significant role in engaging the youth, refining their abilities and enforcing their sense of responsibility. They believe in the importance of effective social initiatives to drive economic growth and social sustainability. Loyac believes that youth can be led towards peace by providing them with opportunities for personal growth, experiencing the joy of service and developing their professional skills through on job training internships that builds self confidence. Embracing peace as its prime awareness message, the group set about formulating programs and activities that will help them achieve their stated objectives that go beyond the boundaries of Kuwait.

As well as educating and training the new generation to work for themselves and achieve more than what is expected from the society that had previously depended on expats to do all the work, until there were barely any jobs opportunities available for locals who really needed the job. Some jobs (eg. waiter, chef, cashier) were often claimed as “shameful” or “embarrassing”, if offered to a Kuwaiti, but Loyac tends to normalize this idea by giving young Kuwaiti’s the chance to experience part jobs at stores and markets, and awarding them. They did succeed as everyone has reacted to the outcome very positively.

Kuwait Transformed: history of oil and urban life

Book by Farah Al Naqib: Summary

As the first Gulf city to experience oil urbanization, Kuwait City’s transformation in the mid-twentieth century inaugurated a now-familiar regional narrative: a small traditional town of mudbrick courtyard houses and plentiful foot traffic transformed into a modern city with marble-fronted buildings, vast suburbs, and wide highways.

In Kuwait Transformed, Farah Al-Nakib connects the city’s past and present, from its settlement in 1716 to the twenty-first century, through the bridge of oil discovery. She traces the relationships between the urban landscape, patterns and practices of everyday life, and social behaviors and relations in Kuwait. The history that emerges reveals how decades of urban planning, suburbanization, and privatization have eroded an open, tolerant society and given rise to the insularity, xenophobia, and divisiveness that characterize Kuwaiti social relations today. The book makes a call for a restoration of the city that modern planning eliminated. But this is not simply a case of nostalgia for a lost landscape, lifestyle, or community. It is a claim for a “right to the city”—the right of all inhabitants to shape and use the spaces of their city to meet their own needs and desires.

Painting x Culture Hybridity

We live in a world that is constantly on the move. People move between places and cultures either as an immigrant, refugee, worker, or tourist. Further, with technologies such as television, radio, and the Internet, we can be virtual travelers to almost anywhere at any time. Many contemporary artists have experienced movement between and among cultures in their lives, and their work often explores issues of personal and cultural identity.

Dress code x Society

Does imposing dress code on visitors for places such as hospitals, universities, government buildings, libraries and public spaces improve our society?

For example, visitors are dictated to wear formal attire in order to be served in governmental agency. Without formal attire, they will not be served or even bared from entry.

Universities in certain countries require all students to wear formal attire to attend lecture. On the other hand, there is no strict dress code in certain country’s universities.

There are news recently reported in Malaysia whereby visitors are bared from entry to government buildings for wearing shorts/skirts and forced to don sarong before being served, which triggers me to think why does it happen.

My questions are

  1. What is the reasoning behind these strict dress code imposed? What are the gains from strict dress code?
  2. Is it right to say that wearing shorts/skirts are indecent or merely a perception of another person?
  3. To what extent a person clothes considered indecent?

Madeenah Tour Project

@madeenahkw

 Madeenah is a multidisciplinary platform that curates cultural tours and delivers spatial studies

As I was looking through their tour posts.. I couldn’t help but notice the amount of foreigners working for the most important roles and highest sectors in Kuwait. Although they hold the most important roles, they are also invisible and left out from Kuwait’s “glamorous” society.

Basically, as seen in the pictures, they are working for oil companies, mechanic jobs, food companies, markets, fish salesmen, trading companies, street cleaners and chauffeurs.

Artist Research (part 2)

Multicultural Artists – exploring the connection between culture & identity

El Seed

fuses Arabic calligraphy with graffiti to paint colorful, swirling messages of hope and peace on buildings from Tunisia to Paris.

Lalla Essaydi

Her art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience.  In much of her work, she returns to her Moroccan girlhood, looking back on it as an adult woman caught somewhere between past and present, and as an artist, exploring the language in which to  “speak” from this uncertain space.  Her Henna material paintings often appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition, thereby inviting viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology.

“In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses — as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim.  In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.”

Amani Al Thuwaini

website

half Kuwaiti / Ukranian artist – Arab traditions + feminism

Ali Al Shehaabi

tumblr

Fashion + Arab culture appropriation

FilmBanned

instagram

Saudi filmmaker – expressing true identity + culture appropriation

Yinka Shonibare

His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation.

 

 

KW Culture & Population

The main cultural issue in Kuwait

 Jobs.

(WAS)

Kuwait is a class oriented society with the lines clearly drawn and understood. There are four tiers: The Kuwaitis are far and away at the top of the social system, wealthy and powerful if for no other reason than they are Kuwaiti, and seemingly able to get away with anything, including breaking laws meant for everyone else.

Then there are the professional ex-pats, including Westerns, Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese and other mostly Middle Eastern nationalities who manage businesses or are in a profession requiring a college education.

Third is the labor and service force. The labor force is made up of Egyptians, Pakistanis and Indians doing manual labor and the ubiquitous construction and building. On the same level is the service force which is mostly Filipinas and Chinese working as cashiers, waitresses, sales clerks, fast food workers, salon and hair professionals. Included in this class are the tens of thousands of Lebanese and Egyptian taxi drivers, etc. At the bottom of the ladder is the domestic help, mostly Sri Lankan, Filipina, and Indonesian ladies who clean, cook, and care for Kuwaiti children as live-in servants.

It is rare to see a Kuwaiti working in any capacity at all back then, as they receive money from the government and their savvy investing gives most Kuwaiti families enough wealth to live in opulence, although many seem to go through life without a purpose other than filling their time with the most entertaining leisure activities they can find.

What is Wasta?

connections or corruptions in the Arab world?

– Every Arabs Main Source Of Freedom

 It literally means ‘intermediary’ or ‘Nepotism”, but it is used to refer to having a connection inside some institution, providing someone else with a privilege or preferential treatment and facilitating things, usually in a not-so-legal manner.

The prevalence of wasta across the Arab World is regarded by many as an intrinsic part of the culture and a way of conducting business. Wasta has become deeply embedded in Arab society and is often regarded as a family obligation.

As a result, “those who have wasta can jump the queue and acquire permits, get jobs, obtain favourable rulings from agencies, get government contracts and benefit from government rules that limit competition.” With the right connections, it is said that “wasta can solve almost any problem.”

This can be seen as either positive or negative, depending on your point of view (and whether you’re the recipient of it or not).

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I have posted underneath this article, what this issue looks like today. After, doing more research while getting out and about in Kuwait during the holiday, I am now positively thinking, that looking up to other cultures and adapting is not such a negative thing after all. I missed the fact that Kuwaiti’s are finally inspired to work for themselves, taking control of their own businesses and influencing the future of their community (Although Wasta is still going on, which is a shameful reality, as success does not exist without it).

I will post more content relating to this subject.

Cross Cultural Diwaniya

What is the Dewaniya ?

The Dewaniya, commonly called Diwaniya, has existed in Kuwait since time immemorial. It was the reception area where a man received his business colleagues and male guests. Today the term refers both to a reception hall and the gathering held in it, and visiting or hosting a dewaniya is an indispensable feature of a Kuwaiti man’s social life.

The Dewaniya has its tradition in the Majlis where people would gather or congregate to discuss the pertinent issues of the day. While the Majlis may be described as more akin to a town hall in terms of function and formality, the Dewaniya evolved as a more regular and casual gathering place for families, tribes and any stranger that cared to attend.

As a social event, a Dewaniya takes place in the evening in a special room or annex which is usually separate from the rest of a man’s house. Only men are present and they sit around on soft benches or cushions, conversing casually, smoking, nibbling snacks and relaxing over beverages such as tea, coffee or the like. Relatives and friends come and go throughout the evening. The host’s job is to be hospitable and entertain his guests.

introducing the inspired organization: Cross cultural diwaniya

The Cross-Cultural Diwaniya is a monthly discussion forum where local residents gather to discuss topics of importance relating to the community – including social, political, and economic issues – in a multilateral and open environment. The goal of these discussions is to offer constructive solutions to the topics so that all residents of society can benefit.

to promote social equality and respect towards Kuwaiti residents from all walks of life. 69% of Kuwait’s population is expats and some of them are seen as occupiers rather than residents.

youtube channel: ccdkw
instagram: @ccdkw