The Renaissance Issue

Issue 34 (Winter 2021/22)

Slowly, and surely, the world is getting back to normal. It’s event season in Dubai, and at the Chanel fashion show, or the Valentino cocktail, or the Hermès extravaganza, you would hardly know there was a pandemic at all. Days in isolation, quarantine, or lockdown dwindle, and as Covid marches on to its fate as an endemic disease like the common cold or seasonal flu, life is reborn. So here, an issue celebrating all kinds of rebirth – The Renaissance Issue. We explore the Middle East’s Renaissance, the Nahda, that took place all across the region during the mid-nineteenth century, a cultural movement led by thinkers, writers, and other artists. Of course, a Renaissance issue would not be complete without Italy – Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and not an insignificant number of ninja turtle nods. We have Madonna – a lot of Madonna – because if one woman in the world knows about a re-birth it’s her. We get into some Renaissance fairs, in which people from far and wide gather, dress up in medieval outfits, and enjoy such activities as jousting and general feasting. We have fashion shoots in castles (Dior) and forests (Gucci) and other renaissance-adjacent things. And we have Nouf Almoneef, the Saudi creative who’s part of the burgeoning renaissance of the arts and culture scenes in the Kingdom. One Renaissance man called William Shakespeare once said “all that glitters is not gold”, but this issue is. This issue is pure gold.

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