Amman, Jordan, April, 29, 2012— after a year and a half of dedicated hard work, the much awaited portal for the empowerment of Arab artists and designers, alhoush.com, was launched at the Rainbow Theatre in Amman, on April 29th, 2012. The launch event gathered who-is-who from the art and design community, as well several leaders from business and government.
With already over 155 registered artists and designers from across the Arab world, alhoush.com is set to become the premier portal and the most important initiative to shed the global spot light on the tremendous creativity of artists and designers from the MENA region. In a relatively short period, the project has managed to sign up a plethora of emerging artists and designers from Gaza to Amman to Baghdad, as well as countless names of some of the most established artists including Suleiman Mansour (Palestine), Nadia Dajani (renowned jewelry designer from Jordan) and Mohammad Shammari (from Iraq).
Derived from the Arabic word “courtyard,” alhoush.com aims to create a common space for artists and designers to allow them to take their rightful place in the world. This aim is being realized through two primary activities. First, a dynamic e-commerce and social networking portal that allows each artist to create his or her own page on alhoush.com, showcase his or her products, sell them online; as well as interact with fans and art collectors from around the world. Secondly, alhoush.com is already working on the organization for what promises to be the biggest international expo of Arab art and design, which would travel annually between the MENA region and abroad.
Covering four categories including art (such as painting, photography and sculpture), fashion and jewelry, furniture and accessories, and products from community empowerment projects, alhoush.com uses the latest developments in e-commerce to give the world access to buy works by Arab artists and designers.
“It is about time that the Arab world pays attention to the profoundly important yet overlooked innovation economy. With over 100 million jobs that need to be created, the challenges facing our region are colossal,” said Ehab Shanti, Co-founder and CEO of alhoush.com. “We see remarkable talent every day that is not receiving the attention it merits. With alhoush.com we will not only provide a hub for all those are interested in learning about Arab art and design, but also to empower the artists and designers by allowing them to earn a decent income from their works,” he added.
Most of the over 1500 of diverse items featured on alhoush.com are ultra-modern yet inspired by Arab art and heritage. “Not only do we want to tell the story that is not being told about the creativity of Arab artists and designers, but we also want to provide an alternative to the traditional picture, by showcasing works that are ultra-modern, yet with an Arabic flavor,” said Rashid Abdelhamid, Co-founder and Artistic Director of alhoush.com. “Through this initiative we will be providing an essential service not only to the producers, but also to art and design lovers around the world,” he added. An established furniture designer himself, Rashid has witnessed first hand the challenges faced by emerging designers in marketing their products globally.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of alhoush.com launch ceremony took place when the CEO of the project unveiled the re-creation of one of the most important and iconic paintings in the Arab world, Jamal Al-Mahamel. Painted by the celebrated Palestinian artist, Suleiman Mansour, the work which depicts a Palestinian peasant carrying Jerusalem on his back, became one of the most popular paintings in the Arab world, easily recognizable even by the average person on the street.
Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had purchased the original in 1975, which was later destroyed during the American bombing of Tripoli in 1986.
For over three decades, posters’ prints of the painting adorned thousands of Palestinian living rooms throughout the world. Some 6 years ago, the co-founder of alhoush.com had convinced Mr. Mansour to create a re-interpretation of the seminal work to be auctioned off to raise funds for the artist and to help establish a national gallery for Palestinian arts in Jerusalem.
“We are delighted to have this work under our management,” said Mr. Shanti. “Not only is it the most iconic painting in the Arab world, but it is very timely to shed the global spotlight on it, during the blossom of the Arab spring, and perhaps as a tribute to the newly won freedom of the Libyan people,” he suggested.
“We are planning to organize a global tour for the painting, with a series of workshops, after which point it will be made available for auction to museums and esteemed art collectors around the world,” he added.
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