The UAE's stars-to-be

Published December 2nd, 2012 - 11:54 GMT
Nujoom Al Ganem - an award winning film director
Nujoom Al Ganem - an award winning film director

You might not be aware of them but you should be. As the UAE turns 41, it’s time to celebrate the new faces flying the Emirati flag high in the country and beyond. With the help of experts in different fields, tabloid! picks the top names who are making their mark.


Fashion: Chosen by Zayan Gandour

Who: Ab

What: Fashion designer

Ab prefers to remain anonymous and would rather not share his family name. We love his label OTT because of his contemporary cuts and styles that are remarkably modern yet easy to wear. They are incredibly versatile and suit a multitude of ages and nationalities and can be worn to many different occasions. Ab is always travelling, scouring international markets for the latest fabrics, always on the lookout for the latest printing techniques, always travelling for inspiration (in Brazil one day, Tunisia the next). All these influences mesh beautifully in his collections season after season. Ab is one of those designers who showed promise from the start and we can only expect greater things to come from this Emirati designer.


Who: Hanan Nader

What: Jewellery designer

Hanan Nader is currently studying fashion in Dubai. She is a young accessories designer, who crafts all her pieces by hand. Capitalising on the ever-popular ‘arm party’ trend, she creates her own colourful sets with crystal elements and popular motifs such as studs and spikes for her HNA Jewels. Her collection resonates with the young fashion-forward crowd and she is about to launch her first ready-to-wear line, which we are very excited about.


Who: Fatima Al Mulla

What: Fashion designer

Fatima is a young Emirati designer who uses classical, iconic fashion imagery and motifs on T-shirts, iPad cases, bags and pouches for her label FMM. Her line has always been a fun, often a tongue-in-cheek commentary on society and it’s been wonderful seeing it evolve with new ideas and techniques.

*Zayan Gandour is a Beirut-born Dubai entrepreneur who co-founded the fashion and lifestyle concept S*uce (pronounced ‘sauce’) in 2004. She has since mentored a number of rising designers in the UAE and last year returned to her true passion, fashion designing, by launching her eponymous label.


Film: Chosen by Zeina Sfeir

Who: Saud Al Kaabi

What: Actor

Saud is a pioneer when it comes to film in the UAE. A break-out star in the hit Emirati film ‘City of Life’, this TV presenter will also be seen next in the highly-anticipated ‘Djinn’, directed by Tobe Hooper and shot in the UAE. Saud is young, good-looking and has the profile of a true actor and a bright future ahead of him.


Who: Mohammad Hassan Ahmad

What: Scriptwriter

Mohammad is one of the few Emirati professional scriptwriters in the UAE. He wrote the script for the recent Nawaf Al Janahi film ‘Sea Shadow’ which made waves internationally. Mohammad and his two brothers also run Faradees, a film production and mentoring company.


Who: Khalid Al Mahmoud

What: Director

Khalid’s short film ‘Sabeel’ won the second prize at the Muhr Emirati awards at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2010 and at the Best Short Movie at the New York Film Festival. It also went to the Locarno Film Festival in 2010. Khalid has been making films for more than ten years and is one of the first directors to take Emirati films internationally, seen at important events like the Berlin Film Festival. He is a pioneer and one of the leading lights in the Emirati film fraternity.


Who: Nujoom Al Ganem

What: Director

Nujoom is a documentary filmmaker, and one of the few accomplished female Emirati directors. Her socially-relevant films have touched a chord with many. Nujoom’s recent film, Amal, about a Syrian woman who moves to the UAE but ends up in the margins of its cultural life, has won prizes at the Dubai International Film Festival and Beirut Film Festival.

* Zeina Sfeir is a filmmaker and, since 2007, has been involved with the Dubai International Film Festival as talent manager and consultant for Arab films. Based in Beirut, her speciality is in films coming from the Levant.


Music: Chosen by Marwan DJ Bliss

Who: Abdul Razaq Al-Busmait AKA Prince Q

What: Music Producer

Born and raised in Ras Al Khaimah Prince Q developed an interest for music and technology at an early age. Now having been in the music industry for more than 10 years ago, Prince Q has a portfolio which includes being a ANR manager for MBC and produced as well as judged for MTV. He has also worked with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Karl Wolf and Kardinal Offishall while also producing music for movies, restaurants, charity campaigns and animation. With 2013 around the corner, Prince Q looks forward to his projects with Wyclef Jean and Shaggy with plans on hosting music production workshops across the UAE.


Who: Hamdan Al Abri

What: Singer/songwriter

Born and raised in Dubai by a musician father, 31-year-old Hamdan Al Abri started singing when he was 17 and went professional when he was 23. He has since released two albums with a band, called Abri, and a self-titled solo EP. ‘Falling’ from his EP was featured on Sarah Michel Geller’s new TV series ‘Ringer’ and another track from my EP ‘(Re)Birth’ was featured on CSI. He’s also collaborated with a number of UAE artists including Q, Jibberish, Narcicyst, Omar Offendum, Desert Heat and Gayathri. Hamdan is currently working on his solo album that is scheduled for release next year.

* Marwan DJ BLISS is the founder of music management and events company and studio Bliss Inc Entertainment. He is the host of Dubai One’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ and Channel 4 radio’s ‘The Real Flava Radio Show.’ As a DJ Marwan, has warmed up for top-notch stars and bands including Beyonce, Aerosmith and Prince. He is the first Emirati DJ to go on a world tour and is currently working on his first album.


Literature: Chosen by Isobel Abul Houl

Who: Noora No’man

What: Science fiction author

Noora has previously written several young children’s books, but recently launched Ajwan, her science fiction novel for young adults. Her lifelong reading passion of sci-fi and fantasy has prepared her well. Noora is the first Emirati to write in this genre and there has been a wildly enthusiastic response from teenagers and a slight tut tut-ting from the literary critics. Always a good sign.


Who: Abdullah Al Nuaimi

What: Author

Al Nuaimi’s first novel, Expresso, has been eagerly snapped up by trendy readers and is on its third print run. It is tapping into today and the latest trends and published by Jamal Al Shehi, the CEO of Kuttab who really has a good eye for best-sellers.


Who: Adel Khozam

What: Poet

A well established poet with several volumes of his works published internationally. Khozam will be publishing his first novel next year. Like many poets, Khozam has an excellent way with words, and so the strength of his prose when writing fiction makes his book a real treat for the reader.

* Isobel Abul Houl is the founder and director of the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. A recipient of the Order of the British Empire bestowed by Queen Elizabeth, she founded the Magrudy’s chain of book stores in 1975 and has been largely responsible for keeping the love of books and reading alive in the UAE.


Art: Chosen by Khalil Abdul Wahid

Who: Nasser Nasrallah

What: Mixed media artist

Nasrallah is one of the rising stars in the UAE art scene with a very bright future. A telecommunication engineering graduate, he started taking art courses to fuel his creativity and has been active since 2002. He started off with paintings and then experimented with mixed-media and did everything from collage to video clips and animation. Lately he’s started to work with objects and illustrations. He is passionate about his craft and that can only take him a long way. Nasser has also been invited to the next Sharjah Biennial.


Who: Khalid Shafar

What: Furniture designer

Shafar, a business graduate of the American University in Dubai, Shafar worked in marketing and communication for almost seven years before deciding to shift gear. He is a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, and the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand. His approach to design is quirky yet always have elements that are traditional, whether it’s in his choice of materials or interpretation of an object.


Who: Ebtisam Abdul Aziz

What: Conceptual artist

Ebtisam is one of the most interesting talents faces to come out of the UAE art scene. This Sharjah-based multidisciplinary artist, curator and writer started with painting in 1999 and then moved to conceptual art. A lot of her works feature her love of math and science with very interesting and creative results. From performance art to video installation pieces, Ebtisam has done it all. She has also participated in many exhibitions in and outside the UAE and I can’t wait for her upcoming solo exhibition on December 5. 

* Khalil Abdul Wahid Hassan is the manager of visual arts at Dubai Culture. An established artist himself, he has also experimented with paint and video art. Before his current position, which he took up in 2008, Abdul Wahid was the coordinator of fine arts for the now defunct Dubai Cultural Council.

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