Review: Pecha Kucha Night Kuwait, 2nd Edition

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In life, elements are most often judged as parts of a whole and this exactly why the inaugural session of Pecha Kucha Night Kuwait earlier this year seemed to gel. PKNK1 seemed to have a common thread tying many of the presentations together: the loss of identity and social cohesion in an urban landscape dominated by a myopic vision of modernity. PKNQ81 announced itself loudly with its statements, its pleas for change and call to action, all the while balancing the larger picture with targeted ideas for innovation.

This larger mission was notably absent at PKNQ82. Although the quality of many of the artists who presented was impressive, there was no symbiotic interaction of ideas between them. Moreover, the artists did not seem as concentrated on engagement of the audience (although some made a good effort) and instilling them with the values to which they wish to draw attention.

Ahmed Al Refaie: Digital Artist (
A meticulous painter with a penchant for drawing cyber-pirate-mermaid women with uncanny resemblance to Angelina Jolie as well as urban landscapes of the imagination. An impressive array of work, but I would have liked to seen the paintings in person in a gallery to spend enough time examining all the detail work. He himself seemed to acknowledge the frustration of viewing his work through 20 second slides as it did not do justice to the most probably pain-staking long nights spend coloring on the drawing board. I would have liked him to open up a little bit more about his motivation for his subjects and common themes.

Raffi Armoudjian: Architect (The Integrated Architectural Experience)
Unfortunately, I believe this speaker had a great amount of interesting messages to deliver to the audience, but his attempt to squeeze as much information as possible into each slide made so that the delivery was overly rushed and at some points, a bit unintelligible. This is really a shame because I think he had some very opinionated and worthy ideas and points. I did catch in his conclusion that more emphasis needs to be placed on teaching children through education softer skills about how to be creative, a productive member of society through innovation and how to learn to appreciate and recognize art.

Dr. Shurooq Amin: Artist. Poet (Ekphrasis: the Missing Link between Art and Poetry) (
One of my favourite presentations. This is a poet (ok and artist) who has talent and is clearly passionate about what she does, bringing a rare confidence, vision and steadfastness to her belief in the presentation's idea of blending poetry with art. The poems she chose for each piece of art (some of which she wrote herself) were beautiful and well-suited for the pieces of visual art--much more than my skeptical self was originally expecting. In short, she sold me her idea, and elegantly in the process.

Nada Alshammari: Graphic Artist (Kuwait Narratives: Short Sharp Shocks)
Too much theory without any demonstration of the discourse in the Kuwait context. It seemed to be that the presentation was to be on spontaneous artistic use of public space in Kuwait-otherwise known as graffiti art. But where is all this graffiti? This was the great phantom in the discussion. I would have liked to see more about how she is certain that there are rumbles and stirs of people in Kuwait beginning to create short, sharp shocks in this manufactured, non-improvisational, cut-and-paste landscape.

Samer Mohammed: Student, Kuwait University (Architecture in Media and Influences)
Very interesting presentation, but like Ms. Danah's, it came off more as a book report. Nonetheless, this is a topic I find interesting, especially with his mention of Blade Runner and Los Angeles as maximum city (for anyone who has read City of Quartz by Mike Davis). But I would have liked to know what the role of the media is in influencing Kuwait's architectural vision and urbanscape.

Danah Al Rubabah: Student, Kuwait University (Behind a Woman's Face)
The title of her presentation had me transfixed and anticipating the presentation from the beginning, but I was disappointed to find out that the topic was simply an encyclopedic book report about a female artist (daughter of Mohammed Bushanaq. To put it simply, PKN is an inappropriate platform for such a presentation. She brought nothing of her own to the topic, it was more likes he was reporting as a spokeswoman for this artist. Furthermore, I never really understood why she was so enamored by the artist in the first place.

Bassem Mansour: Artist. Designer (Intention and Intuition: Its just a game)
My intuition was simply not potent enough to grasp the artist's intention, although my curiosity was piqued by his analysis of architecture and feelings of security.

Nofal Abdelali: Architect (Towards a New Pedagogy through Architecture: Educational Facilities in Kuwait)
Again, a visual presentation of an artist's portfolio, without the wind of a great, single idea behind it. Plus, the projects he presented had little to do with Kuwait in particular.

Monstar Co-Owner and Creative Director of (Fun Things for Fun People)
His high-set bar of a title definitely lived up to expectations, this guy came out onto the stage with the perfect amount of energy needed to really wrap up the event in a positive, enthusiastic way. A great coda to the evening for sure. And all though he seemed to have many spontaneous, stream-of-consciousness thoughts ping ponging around the room--somehow it worked for him. His fetish for burka ladies will surely not go unforgotten. The great thing about this speaker is that he was able to sell his idea, with enthusiasm, confidence, but also look like he was having fun in the process. He almost doubled as a stand-up comedian.

3 Responses on "Review: Pecha Kucha Night Kuwait, 2nd Edition"

  1. hi..don't blame danah for her presentation because she was not prepared for it..they asked her to do this presentation instead of me because it's not nice to talk about my self..she was already published a book about my art so they choossed her , the resposiible for pecha kucha could refuse her presentation if they did not like it..and i am so proud of my student danah al rubabah,she was perfect by her presentation even if you consider it as a report.:)
    the artist:)

    Victoria says:

    Hi I meant no offense! But I would have loved it to see your artwork in person after the presentation. I think this is actually one of the low points of PK for artists-the slides don't do the pictures justice.

    In any case what really came out in her presentation was the passion she has for your art, that is for sure. You are lucky to have her as a student and fan, and she to have you for motivation.

    Hi, thanx my dear..i am really was happy when she started doing a book about my art.. i never expected's really a great gift, i would like to invite you to this site if you are interested with art..
    and you can just put my name in english or arabic
    and search for images thier will be some of my paints.