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Tunisian-Ukrainian artist wins prestigious Ithra Prize at Diriyah Biennale

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture ‘Ithra’ based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, unveiled Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s ‘E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil,’ the winning artwork of the 4th edition of the Ithra Art Prize, at the inaugural Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale on Saturday.

One of the most significant art prizes in the Arab world, the Tunisian-Ukrainian artist Kaabi-Linke received a $100,000 grant to bring her proposal to life.

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Kaabi-Linke’s artwork takes a reflective look at one of the effects of the pandemic and the decline in commercial air traffic, which raises questions about how humanity measures progress and economic growth.

‘E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil,’ is a monumental work consisting of 19 canvases depicting the cracks in a sign bearing an arrow, a symbol associated with the aviation industry and with economic growth, and makes the viewers reflect on their priorities.

“Ithra’s goal is to ignite cultural curiosity, stimulate knowledge exploration, and inspire creativity, while encouraging the development of original content across several creative fields, with an emphasis on the arts,” said Farah Abushullaih, Head of Ithra Museum.

“Ithra’s Museum works to bridge the past with the present, and the present with the future, all the while engaging with world cultures and honoring Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and cultural history,” she said, adding: “The Ithra Art Prize is proof of this commitment to support and develop the creative landscape in the Kingdom and beyond. We are delighted to share Kaabi-Linke’s winning artwork with the world for the first time, and proud to be able to expose talent from the Arab world on an international platform.”

Kaabi-Linke, a Tunisian-Ukrainian conceptual artist based in Berlin, said: “The Ithra Art Prize empowered me to get over boundaries in a way I never thought possible to date.”

“In the end, I can say that I have produced one of my most complex and detailed paintings in about two months, but different from previous works, this piece is almost 20 meters long. This unique experience was as challenging as rewarding in the end. Thank you, Ithra Art Prize, for bringing this project to life. I know it is in the best hands now,” Kaabi-Linke added.

Kaabe-Linke studied fine arts in Tunis and holds a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris. She grew up in Tunis, Kyiv, Dubai, and Paris, and has exhibited widely in several renowned global art institutions, including at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The Ithra Art Prize was originated as a competition for Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists. This is the first year the competition opened up to artists from 22 Arab countries and presented at the Kingdom’s first biennale, Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale organized by Diriyah Biennale Foundation. Ayman Zedani (Mēem, 2018), Daniah Al Saleh (Sawtam, 2019) and Fahad bin Naif (Rakhm, 2020) previously won the prize.
The Ithra Art Prize winning work is displayed at the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, which runs until March 11, 2022, after which it will join Ithra’s prestigious permanent collection.

Read more: Ithra Art Prize winner Saudi-based Fahad bin Naif’s installation on show at Art Dubai

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Iraqi boy, 10, eludes security to board Iran-bound plane

Iraqi aviation authorities have been left red-faced after a 10-year-old boy on his own boarded an Iran-bound plane from the international airport in Najaf city after several security checks.

The airport authorities said Wednesday they would review security after the boy passed under the radar of seven checks, mixing in with large crowds of travelers.

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The child was only intercepted after boarding an Iran Air-chartered aircraft, airport manager Hikmat Ahmed told AFP.

About five hours after his arrival at the airport on Monday night, “the plane crew contacted us about him,” he said.

“Anyone who failed in their duties will be sanctioned, fired or transferred” after an investigation, the official said.

According to a security source, his parents who live in a district near the airport had informed police of his disappearance.

Iraq’s civil aviation authority said a private firm had since 2019 been in charge of security at Najaf airport, which receives hundreds of thousands of pilgrims a year.

“All legal procedures” would be taken against the company once the investigation has been completed, it said.

Read more: Sandstorm forces closure of Iraqi airports and public buildings

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British model Kate Moss says Johnny Depp never threw her down any stairs

British model Kate Moss on Wednesday dismissed reports that her former boyfriend Johnny Depp once threw her down a flight of stairs, saying it never happened.

“He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs,” said Moss, who was testifying as a witness at Depp’s defamation trial against his former wife Amber Heard.

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The 58-year-old Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Heard, 36, did not name the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.

Heard, during her testimony earlier this month, mentioned a reported incident in which Depp was alleged to have pushed his former girlfriend Moss down a flight of stairs.

That reference provided an opening to Depp’s lawyers to call Moss as a witness to address the allegation and she testified by video link from Gloucestershire, England.

The 48-year-old Moss said she had a romantic relationship with Depp from 1994 to 1998.

She was asked about an incident which occurred during a vacation the couple took to a resort in Jamaica.

“We were leaving the room and Johnny left the room before I did,” Moss said. “And there’d been a rainstorm and as I left the room I slid down the stairs and I hurt my back.”

“And I screamed because I didn’t know what had happened to me and I was in pain. He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention.”

Heard’s lawyers declined to cross-examine Moss.

Read more:

Heard: Depp team of enablers shielded his drug, alcohol use

Johnny Depp lawyers seek to discredit ex-wife domestic violence claims

Depp libel suit moves ahead against Heard after resting case

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Pfizer to sell all its patented drugs at non-profit price in 45 low-income countries

Pfizer Inc will make all of its patented medicines including COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid and big-selling breast cancer drug Ibrance available at a not-for-profit price to 45 of the world’s poorest countries, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
These countries lack good access to innovative treatments. It can take four to seven years longer for new treatments to become available in low-income countries, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, if they become available at all.

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Pfizer said its plan includes 23 wholly-owned, patented medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases. In addition to Paxlovid and Ibrance, the list includes pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13, rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz and cancer treatments Xalkori and Inlyta.
The COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty developed with BioNTech SE was also on the list.
Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in an interview that all the medicines being made available should be of use.
“But clearly the antiviral (Paxlovid) is going to be a very big deal for them — if they need it they can get it immediately,” he said.
When Pfizer launches new medicines and vaccines, they will also be included in the drug portfolio at a not-for-profit price, it said.
The 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-income countries included in what Pfizer is calling “An Accord for a Healthier
World” cover most of Africa and much of Southeast Asia. Five countries — Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda — have already committed to joining the accord, which was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said in a statement the accord will allow the countries and the drugmaker to share “the
burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives.”
Pfizer has been criticized for how it rolled out its COVID-19 vaccine, with some poorer countries waiting for months after the earliest doses arrived in wealthier countries.
Bourla said the new accord has been informed by the difficulties of that rollout, particularly the lack of health infrastructure in some countries that made distributing the vaccine difficult.
“Instead of washing our hands and saying, ‘I gave you the product, do whatever you want with them,’ we’re saying, ‘We’ll
give you the products and we will sit with you to see how we can help organize a system that can utilize them,’” Bourla said.

Read more: Pfizer, UAE renew partnership to deal with cancer incidence, spread awareness

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