Creatives

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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Sitar Master of Maryland

Sitar Master of Maryland

With a lifetime of training from leading sitar virtuosos, Alif Laila is one of few women to achieve international recognition with the mesmerizing instrument whose sound evokes the musical identity of the greater Indian subcontinent. She is as passionate about music as she is about encouraging other women.

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FirstLook: East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964

FirstLook: East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964

East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964
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The Dialogues of Don Quixote

The Dialogues of Don Quixote

Amid the fearful turbulence of the 17th century, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes invented a plot, characters and names that seemed innocently comical, but they cleverly cloaked his insistence that Spain recognize its historical diversity—and Don Quixote became the bestselling novel ever published.

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