Traditional Dhow shipbuilders of Sur | Oman 2014

Long considered as Oman’s prime trading ports, the calm and serene coastal town is the capital of Ash Sharqiyah on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. Sur has always been the epicenter of travel and trade in this region. Its vessels have ruled the waters since many a centuries! Its strategic location has always helped in maintaining and monitoring peace in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Sinbad, the Pirates of the Main and trade from as far as China to the Mediterranean all had one this in common: the Omani hand made Dhows sailing vessels. Mark Abouzeid report on this important world cultural heritage takes you to one of the last remaining hand built boat yards in Sur, Oman.

Here is the video teaser for an upcoming documentary reportage on this important Omani cultural heritage.

Cedars in Air | Beirut to Balbek

On a snowy winter day, Mark Abouzeid crossed the mountains surrounding Beirut to visit Hezbollah stronghold of Balbek…and found a history of Roman conflict rather than present day.

The second installment of Mark Abouzeid’s journey to his ancestral home in search of his roots. This work as well as future footage from upcoming trips will be developed into an upcoming documentary film, “Cedars in Air”.

 

House of phantoms

On the Costa Brava of Spain in the town of Arenya d’Empordà lies an abandoned House, complete with a high tower filled with broken windows.

 

Local residents claim it was the house of a great fascist family who one day were destroyed by the same people they dominated. Apparently it belonged to a famous ballet dancer and was wrecked and ruined by the Franco fascist regime in 1968.

Mark Abouzeid took these photos in between takes of music videos being recorded in the Haunted House by Icelandic solo-artist, Oddur.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Bedu of Wadi Rum: A culture at risk.

How do you capture the entire character of a culture that has no written record, has lived for centuries in relative isolation and exists in complete harmony with one of the world’s most extreme environments?

 

National Geographic

Bedouin reside in every principal country in the region.

Unlike most indigenous tribes who eventually get displaced by immigrants, the Bedouin represent the common heritage of the Arab people. By understanding their history and culture, we can better understand the middle east, overall. The knowledge, wisdom and history that is at risk forms the historical foundation of all Arab people’s.

The Bedu have maintained a quasi nomadic quasi sedentary existence for centuries living in equilibrium with their surroundings, integrating into their host countries while never losing their own identity.

Continue reading

The smell of home.

Experienced real estate agents know that every culture has its own odor that reminds us of home.

 

In America, home sellers are told to stew apples before potential buyers arrive; in Italy, braising onions has the same effect. These are the scents that take us back to our childhood and help create our sense of comfort, safety and belonging. They are some of the most basic aspects of cultural identity.

In trying to understand any ethnicity, our olfactory senses have great importance…and yet they are invariably ignored by the tools used to represent culture: photos, video, recording, text and art.  As foreign entrants, how can we identify and capture this most essential genome in the cultural DNA?

Continue reading

Safeguarding the World’s Intangible Cultures at Risk.

“When a child is born, the father goes into the desert in search of the largest scorpion he can find.  The eldest woman slowly cooks the animal in a pan over an open fire until it melts like butter.  This salve is massaged into the skin of the baby.  The baby gets sick as a consequence of the scorpion venom but not enough to do it harm.  I was bitten by a scorpion a few years ago and nothing happened.  This is one of the traditional medicines of our people that is being lost.”  Attayak

Continue reading