lunedì 27 gennaio 2014

Annemarie Heinrich symbol of the argentinean photography of the XX century.

"Beauty is learned by watching. 
All my life I worked by looking to a body,
a light, a reflection."

Caprichos, Anita Grim, 1936 Annemarie Heinrich

Annemarie Heinrich (9 January 1912 – 22 September 2005) was born in Germany, but soon moved to Buenos Aires with her family, where she became an Argentine citizen and learned about photography.

Antonio Truyol by Annemarie Heinrich
it is in Argentina where she developed her career and her personal style that led her to create a genre that developed along with the growth of the film industry and the popularization of radio: the photography of the big stars becoming the leading Argentine celebrity photographer at just 18 years old.

Heinrich was known even for having photographed various celebrities of Argentine cinema, such as Tita Merello, Carmen Miranda, Zully Moreno and Mirtha Legrand; as well as other cultural personalities like Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda and Eva Perón.

A body , a light, a reflection is the most talent finished sample of a pioneer woman , for whom the pursuit of beauty was always a priority.

martedì 21 gennaio 2014

Al Salt السلط‎ .. home town

This ancient town was once the capital of Jordan or Balqa region. A 20-minutes drive northwest from Amman (about 30 km) transports you back in time to a town of picturesque streets and dazzling houses from the late Ottoman period, with their characteristic long-arched windows.

It's the ideal place for admiring the architecture, stopping off at the small archaeological museum, and finishing up at Salt Zaman, a lovely restored old building in the heart of the town, charmingly furnished with antiques and handicrafts. Salt also houses a Handicrafts School where you can admire traditional skills of ceramics, weaving, silk screen printing, and dyeing.

Salt Downtown
Salt is the most historic town in Jordan. For long periods in history it was the most important settlement between the Jordan River and the desert to the east. Its golden age was at the end of 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, and it is the legacy of this period that makes Salt unique in Jordan and beyond.

Salt has attracted settlers since the Iron Age at least. The area enjoys a moderate climate, a plentiful supply of water and fertile soil. It was also well placed on the north to south trade routes and those running from east to west, linking the interior with Jerusalem, Nablus, Nazareth, and the Mediterranean coast. Its mixed Muslim-Christian population and its trading tradition helped create an atmosphere of tolerance and coexistence.

Decorated House Door at SaltThere are Roman tombs on the outskirts of the town, and during the Byzantine period it was known as Saltos Hieraticon. In the 13th century a fortress was built on the site of the citadel by the Mamluk Sultan Al-Malek Al-Mu'azham, who was based in Cairo. Destroyed by the Mongols in 1260, the fortress was rebuilt a year later by a second Mamluk ruler from Egypt. Six centuries later, in 1840, the forces of yet another Egyptian potentate, Ibrahim Pasha, demolished it again. The Citadel is now the site of a large mosque, which towers over the modern town.

By the early 19th century, Salt was a well-off frontier town on the edge of Ottoman Empire and the desert. Useful to all, it was ruled by none. The town was also the center of lucrative trading between the region and urban industries in Palestine.

In the middle of 19th century, Salt began to expand and new construction reflected in status. In 1870s merchants moved in from Palestine. Families are leading contemporary observes to speak of Salt as a mini Nablus.

Salt's fortunes declined after World War I. The first blow came when Emir Abdullah ibn Al-Hussein chose Amman as the capital of the new Emirate of Transjordan.

giovedì 16 gennaio 2014


Of all the forms known to Arabic literature in al-Andalus, only strophic poetry is known to have originated on the peninsula. Despite certain characteristic thematic features, the Andalusian qasida and maqama remained principally products of the Muslim East, but strophic poetry is a quintessentially Andalusian creation and the most complete literary embodiment of the multiethnic and multilingual fabric of Andalusian society. The pride that Andalusians and Maghribis took in these genres is echoed well into the fourteenth century by Ibn Khaldūn, whose survey of Arabic literature culminates in an account of Andalusian strophic poetry. In both its varieties, the muwashshah – the prosodically more complicated form, employing classical language in all but its concluding couplet – and the zajal – which is simpler in form and vernacular throughout – Andalusian strophic poetry is indeed the most distinguished contribution of the Muslim West to the history of Arabic poetry, and its forms are most explicitly involved with the universe of incipient Romance lyrics.

The muwashshah is written in Classical Arabic, and its subjects are those of Classical Arabic poetry —love, wine, court figures. It sharply differs in form, however, from classical poetry, in which each verse is divided into two metric halves and a single rhyme recurs at the end of each verse. The muwashshah is usually divided into five strophes, or stanzas, each numbering four, five, or six lines. A master rhyme appears at the beginning of the poem and at the end of the strophes, somewhat like a refrain; it is interrupted by subordinate rhymes. A possible scheme is ABcdcdABefefABghghABijijABklklAB. The last AB, called kharjah, or markaz, is usually written in vernacular Arabic or in the Spanish Mozarabic dialect; it is normally rendered in the voice of a girl and expresses her longing for her absent lover. Such verses make it probable that the muwashshah was influenced by some kind of European Romance oral poetry or song. Jewish poets of Spain also wrote muwashshahs in Hebrew, with kharjahs in Arabic and Spanish.

Lamma Bada Yatathanna (trad. Arab-Andalusian, from the 12th century)

This well beloved piece, a muwashah , is in a 10/8 rhythmic mode called sama'i thaqil  which originated in Al-Andalus.

Lamma bada Yatathanna 
Hubbi jamalu fatanna 
Aman' Aman' Aman' Aman 

Aw ma bi LaHzu asarna 
Ghusnu thana Hinamal  

Lamma bada yatathanna 
Hubbi jamalu fatanna  

Waadi wa ya Hirati 
Man li shafeeashak wati 
Illa maleekul jamal 
Fil hubbi min lawaati 

Lamma bada yatathanna 
Hubbi jamalu fatanna


She walked with a swaying gait
her beauty amazed me

Her eyes have taken me prisoner 
Her stem folded as she bent over

Oh, my promise, oh, my perplexity
Who can answer my lament of love and distress
but the graceful one, the queen of beauty?

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venerdì 3 gennaio 2014

In Memory of the Aleksandrinke - Alexandrian Women

The “Aleksandrinke”, Slovenian women who owing to the difficult economic circumstances in what was at the time Italian Primorska at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century went to Egypt in search of employment, many of whom remained there, are a special phenomenon among Slovenian emigrants who should not be forgotten. They were between 4800 and 6000 mostly young mothers and girls from the Gorica area who worked in then-flourishing Alexandria and Cairo, mainly as maids, nannies, cooks and nursemaids for the families of wealthy townsfolk, the majority of whom were European. The economic heyday of Alexandria, which paralleled the construction of the Suez Canal in the second half of the 19th century, made it possible for Slovenian women to earn at least twice as much as they would at home in the economically straitened Gorica area, and spread the good reputation of disciplined, hard-working and well-kempt Slovenian maids far and wide. The situation in Cairo, 250 km away, was the same. The town chronicles speak clearly about how valued Primorska women were in Egypt, stating that a full 195 bourgeois families were vying for three Slovenian maids, as there simply weren’t any more available. At the same time, their good reputation led to some of them going back to Egypt several times, many of them to stay.

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