Creatives

Amir Zaki's Sculpture of Skateparks

Amir Zaki's Sculpture of Skateparks

It takes a landscape photographer’s eye to step down into a cement skatepark and turn the lens not on skaters but on the ramps, waves, valleys, bowls and tunnels that are the terrain of the park itself, and it takes a skater’s experience to do so in a way that captivates both art critics and skateboard stars. California native and photographer Amir Zaki grew up skateboarding on streets in suburban Los Angeles, and recently he began visiting skateparks to produce sweeping, large-format images that offer textured meditations on the beauty of light on curved concrete.

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Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Throughout central Saudi Arabia, Bedouin tribal histories and folklore lie largely in oral poetry known as Nabati. In 1989, diplomat and linguist Marcel Kurpershoek set out to meet poets and record their verses. It became a lifetime project that continues to illuminate roots of the Arabic language and Arabian Peninsula cultures.

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FirstLook: The Sphinx Imagined

FirstLook: The Sphinx Imagined

Two summers ago I was browsing several hundred vintage postcards contained in narrow boxes all piled up in a Stillwater, Minnesota, antiques store...I came across several postcards that each featured an imagined sphinx as seen in natural rock formations.
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The Quest for Blue

The Quest for Blue

Rare in nature and difficult to extract from minerals, blue eluded artisans for centuries until Egyptians invented the world’s first synthetic pigment. Formulas for blues from cobalt and indigo followed, and the results have delighted our eyes and evoked the sacred, the royal, the opulent and the mysterious ever since. And the quest is not over.
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FirstLook: My Grandmother’s Tlaba

FirstLook: My Grandmother’s Tlaba

In my hometown of Yefren, about 200 kilometers southwest of Tripoli, Libya, in the Nafusa mountains, my cousin Mira wears our grandmother’s tlaba (wool garment) to connect to her family roots. The photo is part of a documentary project I started to depict Amazigh women from Libya.
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Habibi Funk’s Musical Revivals

Habibi Funk’s Musical Revivals

Across North Africa a few back-street stores still sell records pressed in the ’70s and ’80s. There Jannis Stürtz has been digging for local classics to rerelease on his digital-and-vinyl label, Habibi Funk, bringing them to global audiences and illuminating some the era’s most vibrantly hybrid music scenes.

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The Alhambras of Latin America

The Alhambras of Latin America

From the 1860s to the 1930s, architects throughout South America and the Caribbean took inspirations from the Islamic design heritage of southern Spain, where the most inspiring building of all proved to be the Alhambra palace.

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The Westward Journeys of Buttons

The Westward Journeys of Buttons

We all use them. Most fasten; some decorate. A search for origins points toward the Indus Valley and China. By the Middle Ages, buttons reached Europe along with other garment techniques and fashion influences from lands east. Their stories are as interwoven as the textiles they make possible and as varied as their infinite designs.
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Artists Answer COVID-19

Artists Answer COVID-19

Amid this year’s travel bans, museum and gallery closures, lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, visual artists are responding with fresh imagery and creative collaborations across new platforms to articulate this moment and carry culture forward into the next.
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