DUBAI: A folio from the Shah Tahmasp Shahnameh, one of the “finest illustrated manuscripts in existence,” is expected to fetch between $4.6 million and $6.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction next month.
The Shahnameh, also known as the Book of Kings, is an epic poem containing 50,000 rhyming couplets, telling the history of Persia’s rulers. It was written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between 977 and 1010.
The folio up for auction was made for Shah Tahmasp of Persia in the 16th century and was illustrated over the course of two decades by some of the finest artists of the time.
Benedict Carter, head of Sotheby’s Islamic and Indian art department, said the Shah Tahmasp Shahnameh was the great version of the manuscript because, “it involved such an enormous sense of production, using the greatest artists in the royal atelier.”
He added: “The record for any Islamic work on paper is held by a folio from the same manuscript, sold at Sotheby’s in 2011, and so the rare appearance of another at auction represents a great opportunity for collectors in this field and beyond.”
The Shah Tahmasp manuscript was commissioned by emperor Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran. When he died, his son Shah Tahmasp continued the work. When complete, it was given to Sultan Selim II of the Ottoman Empire. It was later owned by the Barons de Rothschild, whose collections included masterpieces such as the “Belles Heures of the Duc de Berry,” and the “Hours of Catherine of Cleves.”
Also included in the auction next month will be a Fatimid carved rock crystal bottle, from late 10th- to early 11th-century Egypt; a Mughal gem-set glass-hilted dagger and scabbard from 18th-century India; and a Qur’an leaf in Kufic script, from near east or northern Africa, circa 750.
DUBAI: Social media platforms are blowing up with congratulatory messages for Lebanese dance crew Mayyas after the ensemble won season 17 of “America’s Got Talent.”
The group is taking home the $1 million grand prize.
Lebanese singer Maya Diab took to her Instagram Stories to celebrate the dancers’ win. “You keep conquering the world with your true talent. Thank you for filling our hearts with you and hope.”
“Congratulations!!!! You made us so proud,” she added. 
Egyptian superstar Sherihan, who is loved for her extravagant costumes and elaborate performances, showed her support for the group. 
“Another magical performance that not only made Lebanon proud, but all of us in Egypt and the Arab region. So proud of you all,” she wrote on Instagram, sharing a clip of the group’s performance on Tuesday during which they danced to Arabic beats wearing white outfits and using probe-like burlesque feather fans and sparkling globes of light. 
Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Elissa, actor Nicolas Mouawad and TV presenter Neshan also joined the list of stars who shared clips of the group’s performances to congratulate them for winning hearts around the world.

This is #lebanon babyyyyyyy
U made #lebanon great again
Congratulations #mayyas
Proud proud proud
Winners of #AGT
كرمالك يا لبنان
Dubai-based influencer and entrepreneur Karen Wazen wrote on her Instagram Stories: “What a moment, what a fight, what a beautiful delivery of talent. Lebanon and the whole world is so proud of you.” 
Read on to see how fans on social media are celebrating the Mayyas’ victory. 

You brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts!!!!
Lebanon deserves the win
Mabrouuuukkkkkk #Mayyas #مياس

Couldn’t be more proud!! #Mayyas #AGT
My heart is full

شي بيكبّر القلب..
هيدا انتصار ومجد لـ #لبنان
ألف مبروك #Mayyas #AGT


#Mayyas is proof to #Lebanese and Middle Eastern women that you DONT belong in the home or kitchen if you don’t want that, you deserve to be seen, you deserve to be noticed, the world IS READY to see you. Do what you were told you can’t. You can #AGTFinale #AgTwitter #agt

Congratulations @mayyasofficial on your well deserved success!! You made Lebanon proud of you all#Mayyas

The Mayyas are officially the first Lebanese to ever win America’s Got Talent. America has voted, we have voted, for Lebanon.
Congratulations, we’re proud

The #Mayyas just won #AGT!
A great presentation of what people with so little – coming from a broken drained country, Lebanon – can do with great talent when they work hard and smart for their dreams.

mayyas coming back to Lebanon after agt

رغم الظلمة في #لبنان، #مياس تضيء العالم
Transforming darkness into light…
THANK YOU the #Mayyas for giving us hope and proving to the world that IMPOSSIBLE does not exist when Lebanese talents perform.@mayyasofficial @AGT
DUBAI: Season three of the Golden Globe-winning show “Ramy” is almost here but lead star and creator Ramy Youssef is still trying to “find the meaning of life.”

In the first official trailer for season three of the smash-hit Hulu TV series, “Ramy,” we find our titular character in monetary and spiritual debt. Caught between his religious Muslim community and his wider spiritually-bankrupt millennial community, Ramy is still confused about what he wants from life.

Meanwhile, Ramy’s family is also struggling to reconcile their culture with that of New Jersey, as they continue to grapple with what it means to live in America.

“Maybe you would come to therapy?” asks May Calamawy’s Dena Hassan to her shocked mother at one point in the trailer.

This will be Calamawy’s first TV appearance since her well-received performance in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Moon Knight,” also starring Hollywood superstar Oscar Isaac.

Audiences also get their first look at part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid making her series debut in a recurring role as actor Steve Way’s “weirdo girlfriend” in the series, as described in GQ.
“Ramy” Season 3, spanning 10 episodes, premieres Sept. 30 on Hulu. The show, streaming in the Middle East on OSN+, doesn’t have a release date for the region as yet.
LOS ANGELES: The wait is over — Lebanese dance crew Mayyas have won season 17 of “America’s Got Talent” and they spoke to Arab News backstage to say they “can’t believe what’s happening.”
With the audience cheering, Mayyas jumped sky-high and took home the $1 million grand prize.
“We can’t believe what’s happening,” a member of the group told Arab News after celebrating the victory on stage. “For us to reach this point with all the hard work we put in… we left our work, schools and universities to train every day to be here and to achieve this success for our name and for Lebanon. We achieved what we wanted.”
“We were very stressed out by the fact that we had to (prepare the dance) in two-to-three days, but when we went up on stage and heard the cheers, the audience gave us a push and an adrenaline rush that wasn’t there and we did it,” another member said.
The crew’s choreographer, Nadim Cherfan, said: “This win gave me an opportunity to dream again. When you have a dream and you achieve it, you start to look for another dream. So I’m very happy that there is something to look forward to now, something to dream of, something to fight for.”
“IM SO PROUD, @mayyasofficial YOU DESERVE THIS!!!!” tweeted “AGT” judge Sofia Vergara after the group were crowned winners.
The dancers gifted Vergara a necklace with a symbol of the Lebanese cedar tree that she showed off in her interview with LBCI Lebanon after the episode aired.
“I come from Barranquilla, Columbia, and in Barranquilla we have a gigantic community of Lebanese people, like Shakira for example. So we grew up eating Lebanese food, dancing to Lebanese music. It’s a country that is very close to my heart,” she told the broadcaster.
“I am so happy that, in moments of problems and trouble, every once in a while something so beautiful like Mayyas comes up and distracts everybody,” she added. “I am so happy that this is happening. I am glad. Those girls deserve the world.”
Meanwhile, judge Simon Cowell said: “This is big. I just think for them to represent the country in the way they did, with such talent, dignity and grace, and to do something which the whole world is going to look at, I think is huge. 
“I could feel it in the room, this energy behind me and I thought: ‘No one is going to beat them,’” he added. “These people have the most extraordinary talent and they are such nice people. I wasn’t surprised. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I heard that name.”
Cowell believes that “world domination” is what’s next for Mayyas.
For their winning performance in Tuesday’s final , the group danced to Arabic beats wearing white outfits and using burlesque feather fans and sparkling globes of light. 
The audience held up Lebanese flags in the hall as they cheered for the crew.  
The dancers received a standing ovation from all four judges — Vergara, Cowell, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.
“Fabulous. Another level,” said Vergara, who awarded Mayyas the golden buzzer after their first audition in June.
“This is what a million dollars looks like,” said Klum. “You brought your A-game every time you came, and tonight it was A-plus.” 
Mandel said: “This is my favorite act ever on ‘AGT.’”
“That’s so great for you. It’s great for women, female empowerment, your culture…” he added. 
The group have received strong backing from their Lebanese fans throughout the competition. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International launched an advertising campaign in the US with the slogan “Kermalak Ya Lebnen” — which translates to ‘For You Lebanon’ — to promote and support Mayyas.
A post shared by Mayyas Dance Crew مَيّاس (@mayyasofficial)
LBCI backed the group with adverts on its TV and social media channels, and also worked with local and Arab media outlets in the US to support the campaign.
“Lebanese people around the world have shown us huge support,” Cherfan previously told Arab News.  “We’ve been getting tons of messages. Everybody is backing Mayyas. Everybody is rooting for Mayyas. So I’m really thankful for the Lebanese diaspora that is being really supportive for Mayyas.”
A post shared by Mayyas Dance Crew مَيّاس (@mayyasofficial)
Numerous celebrities also helped raise the group’s profile. 
“May you return with the title,” Lebanese singer Maya Diab wrote on her Instagram Stories after their final performance. “You raised the name of Lebanon just by showcasing art in this beautiful way that made the world talk about it. We love you and we are proud of you no matter what the result is.”
Superstar Haifa Wehbe also supported the group ahead of the final result.
“Mayyas wowed ‘America’s Got Talent’ judges and audience with a spectacular performance. Keep voting,” she said.
Dubai-based Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen wrote: “Speechless. It keeps getting better,” sharing a clip of their last performance. 
Mayyas have been in the winning habit for some time when it comes to TV talent shows. 
Cherfan, who was 14 when he fell in love with the world of dance, formed the group in order to compete in the sixth season of “Arabs Got Talent,” where the group dazzled, wowing judge and Lebanese pop star Najwa Karam who awarded them immediate entry to the final with her golden buzzer. They were ultimately crowned champions.
“I chose a female crew, because I wanted to deliver a message about female empowerment, as we all know that, even today, Arab women are still called names for being dancers. I wanted to prove how elegant, refined and beautiful dancing is,” Cherfan said in an Arab News interview at the time. “And who better than these gorgeous ladies to do so?”
But winning one of the most prestigious talent titles in the Middle East wasn’t enough. With success came self-inflicted pressure to do even better. “The golden buzzer, the standing ovation, the beautiful comments of the judges, and winning the title itself are challenges, because they are stress and responsibility — in those moments (all I am thinking is) ‘What’s next? How can I do better?’” Cherfan said.
That same year, Mayyas competed in “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions,” a spin-off of “Britain’s Got Talent,” in which the group were the only act from the Middle East to participate.
The response from the judges and audience was overwhelming. “Absolutely genius — brilliant, inventive… (I’ve) never seen a dance like this ever on one of these shows,” said judge Simon Cowell at the time.
Abdul Majeed Rodhan — ‘Eid Iftar’

‏Unsurprisingly, iftar is the subject of a number of images in the show — breaking fast during Ramadan being a time when food is central to everyone’s life in the region almost simultaneously. Saudi photographer Rodhan presents a very personal take on iftar, with this image of his father and brothers taken at his uncle’s house. “Eid Iftar reflects the generosity of sharing love and food. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a large gathering of neighborhood people who were joyfully meeting by bringing different meals to gather and congratulate each other. Unfortunately, this tradition (had to be) scrapped. However, we made a small, cozy family gathering to continue the tradition,” Rodhan told Arab News.
Harsha Pandav — ‘Community Iftar’

The UAE-based Indian photographer also focused on iftars for her submission — in this case a community iftar in a parking lot at a Dubai mosque in 2017, “attended primarily by resident expats from mid- to low-economic status.” “In the image, I’ve intentionally blurred together individuals of various backgrounds to visually articulate the sense of community across cultural and national, sometimes interfaith, borders that can be born of the power of food to bring people together, especially juxtaposed against other cross-national traditions,” Pandav told Arab News. “I was hoping to invite discussion around the potential of food and public spaces and their place in context to belonging, nostalgia, and the possibility (of) anchoring oneself to a sense of safety and community in a rapidly changing city.”
Ahmed Al-Shorouqi — ‘Fishmongers’

Al-Shorouqi’s image highlights the economic importance of food to so many. It shows two fishmongers at Souk Al-Hout, one of Tunisia’s biggest fish markets. “I like this picture because it is showing confidence versus negotiation,” he told Arab News. “The merchant holding the fish seems to be determined to convince his partner that the catch is good, while the merchant in the red hat stands confidently with a cigarette in his mouth and doesn’t look like he is going to change his mind any time soon.”
Katarina Premfors — ‘Fatima’s Goats’

Premfors presents an image that is part of a series she has shot of a remarkable Emirati farmer and camel dealer called Fatima Al-Hameli. Here, Al-Hameli — a feminist trailblazer with a significant social-media following — is feeding a goat from one of her farms in Liwa. “She stays in the desert,” Premfors wrote in her caption for the image. “She detests shopping malls and spending too much time in the city. To be away from the sand is to be a fish out of water.” “Fatima is an extraordinary woman in many ways,” Premfors told Arab News. “I love how she is so involved with the whole ecosystem of her life. From breeding the grass that feeds the goats and camels, to the slaughter of the goats for food, she loves and nurtures everything. She has been sustainable all her life, long before it became (fashionable). Going on a desert walk with her she will suddenly drop to the ground to catch a lizard and say, ‘We used to grill these.’ Next moment, she will get me to taste some grass, then howl with laughter when I declare it bitter. Then I realize it’s just ordinary grass and not some ancient foraging secret…”
Rana Khadra — ‘Wakan’

Khadra’s image was taken in the titular village in Oman, famed for its almonds, and shows a woman carrying food from her house to her neighbor. “To me, this was the best representation of Arab culture,” Khadra said. “It’s so beautiful and so common. I also really love seeing how people start dressing like the colors of the walls that surround them.”
Shyjith Kannur — ‘Goat Attack!’

Kannur’s humorous image was taken in Fujairah, UAE, in 2015 and shows a date farmer struggling to escape a horde of goats intent on grabbing their share of his haul. “It was a fun moment to photograph,” Kannur said. “The farmer was helpless to prevent the basket from falling, as reflected on his face.” The photographer explained that he wanted to “showcase a picture that connected with the pride of the UAE — dates. Everyone know how important they are to the lifestyle in this part of the world.”
Sondos Azzam — ‘Naranga’

Azzam’s “multi-sensory project,” which began as a dining experience, “explores the collective memory of the Yaffa orange through the Palestinian narrative, questioning the fruits legality.”
This image, she explained, “alludes to the sense of remembrance when encountering the orange wrapped in excerpts from ‘The Land of Sad Oranges’ by Ghassan Kanafani. I felt this image illustrated a pivotal point in the experience, introducing elements of memory and nostalgia.”
Ahmed Abdulameer — ‘Seihah’

This image shows a woman in Iraq’s Basra Governorate preparing the titular thin bread made of rice flour, popular with tourists. The liquid dough is poured into a metal disc, which is then heated over a fire and flattened by hand. Abdulameer chose to submit this image, he said, because “the details of the hands mix the heritage of the south and the fatigue of the years for the Iraqi woman.”
Ahmed Mostafa — ‘Iftar Table’

This 2019 photograph shows hundreds of people gathering for iftar in Qena, Egypt. “I love the story behind this picture,” Mostafa told Arab News. “These scenes tell of my first participation in the work from the beginning to the end. We, the people of the city of Qena, gathered to revive that old custom in our street in order to feel the connection between us. It was the first time that we young people set up that table and invited all the people to share the food with us, in addition to that beautiful spiritual feeling and the revival of popular heritage in Egypt.”
Ishaq Madan — ‘Seafood’

Madan’s 2017 image is part of his “Dead Fish Tell No Tales” series, which, he told Arab News, “attempts to comment on climate change’s negative impact on the fishing industry in Bahrain, given that seafood is one of the major staple dishes. The image is symbolic in the sense of how time is running out and populations of different species of fish have been declining over the years. At the same time, the subject’s facial expression reflects a weary and troubled mind.”
Jed Bacason — ‘Roadside Vendor’

Bacason’s 2017 image shows a roadside fruit vendor on the Dubai-Sharjah road in the UAE. “Fruit sold here is usually a fraction of the prices in the city, but competition with other roadside fruit vendors is stiff. Since fruits are perishable, vendors have to resort to almost breakeven prices in order to dispose of them, bring a small profit home, and put food on the table,” Bacason wrote in his exhibition caption. “The photo resonated with me because I’m also a father working hard to put food on the table for my family,” he told Arab News. “It not only relates to the show’s theme, but I think it speaks about us, as migrant workers, providing for our loved ones. The poignancy of the vendor standing on a lonely highway still waiting for customers despite it being night time already hopefully relays my idea to the audience.”
Mona Hassan — ‘Betau Bread’

The Egyptian photographer submitted this image of a group of women making traditional Betau bread. “The history of Betau goes back to the Pharaonic era and it was passed down through generations until it reached us,” she told Arab News. “The evidence for this is that the word Betau is a hieroglyphic word meaning ‘The food of the gods,’ because it is one of the best foods of all. I loved the participation of women of all ages in making bread, and the real joy is in the smell of the dough and its baking, as the house warms up and the children crave the moment it comes out fresh from the oven.”
LISBON: In 2004, the French-Syrian photojournalist photographed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8.
The queen’s death was a sad moment. I mean, I’m not a British subject, but I feel we all knew her. She was definitely someone exceptional. This could mean good or bad things, but she was certainly unusual, partly because of the length of her reign. Seventy years is, like, the longest reign ever.
She was there when I was a kid. She’s part of our picturesque world. You knew about Disney characters, about The Beatles. These were images that composed our world. And the Queen is one of them.
In 2004, I was sent by the French agency Abaca Press to cover the visit of Jacques Chirac to the UK. On this day, he was expected at Windsor Castle to meet the Queen. And he was late. So, she was waiting for him. At some point, it seemed like she was a bit angry. She looked out of the door, as many of us would do, thinking: ‘Where is he? What’s he doing?’
It has this very spontaneous, almost childish, look to it. I’ve photographed many people, but none of them had this sense of humor. For me, it was a very surprising photo, because usually all the pictures of the Queen are very posed and shot by famous portraitists. It’s quite unusual to see her in this way. As a photographer, I always look for a contrast or something unusual.
Technically, when I look at it, I would probably have done it differently. You can see the shadow of the flash behind her. It not a perfect picture at all. But, again, it’s a very candid moment, a very spontaneous moment.
Many people wanted to know more about this photo. They tell me: “I don’t see her like this. She looks like us. She seems very human… She’s not the Queen anymore — she’s a lady waiting for someone and losing patience.”
This photo really just captures a fraction of a second. It didn’t last more than a second, this look. But it’s frozen forever. She has left us for a different world, but the photo will remain. 


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