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SEOUL, June 7, 2018 (News Wires) -- With missile tests, nuclear threats and ruthless destruction of opponents, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been an ominous presence hanging over the South.

These days, however, customers at a cafe in the center of South Korea can find an image of the North Korean leader staring up at them from their coffee cups.

Since a beaming Kim held a summit in April with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the In & Out cafe in Jeonju city, three hours south of the capital Seoul, has been serving lattes decorated with frothy images of the two leaders.

A sign also offers customers the chance to take a photo and be featured on latte foam along with Kim and Moon.

“I watched the inter-Korean summit and was very impressed,” said owner Kim Jeong-il, who coincidentally shares his name with Kim Jong Un’s father. “My shop is named ‘In & Out,’ and I made (the latte) praying for peace in the hope that we would be able to go ‘in and out’ of South Korea and North Korea.”

HAVANA, May 7, 2018 (Reuters) — A group of Cuban artists launched an alternative arts festival this weekend in Havana in response to the Communist government saying it was postponing the official biennial by a year to prioritise funding on rebuilding after Hurricane Irma.

The artists had been indignant at the delay of the state-run arts extravaganza, which typically takes over Havana for a month and allows them to showcase their art to international collectors, galleries and curators.

They said they felt the decision to postpone it to 2019 had to do with the political transition this year and a fear of anything that could cause instability. Cuba named a new president last month, Miguel Diaz-Canel, to replace Raul Castro.

While the “00Biennial” which runs for 10 days until May 15 does not have the scope of the official one, it is offering an unusual independent platform for artists in a country where the state dominates all aspects of society.

Photo shows Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara (2nd from right), organiser of the ‘00Biennial’, speaks during its opening in Havana, Cuba on May 5, 2018.

Tokyo, May, 3, 2018 - The waterfall appears to run down the wall of a room and across the floor, but the flow is an illusion -- a digital exhibit at a new interactive museum in Tokyo.

The flower-filled waterfall is the work of Japanese collective teamLab, known internationally for their innovative "digital art" that combines projections, sound and carefully designed spaces to create other-worldly, immersive experiences.

After exhibitions around the world, they are opening this summer a museum dedicated entirely to their unique brand of artwork.

By Youssra el-Sharkawy

Aiming to bring Egyptian art into international limelight, a group of Egyptians have started to translate some of the famous cinema, TV, and theatre scenes as well as songs into English.The idea for this came to Wessam Magdy, an electronics engineer, when he was accompanying some Chinese friends who wanted to know the meaning of some Egyptian songs. He, then, translated some of the songs for them.

"I, then, thought about establishing a troupe with my friend Ahmed Abd al-Aal and other friends to do this and we translated some  well-known Egyptian theatrial scenes and songs to make more foreigners know about them," Magdy, founder of the troupe, told the Egyptian Mail.

Magdy and Abd al-Aal are talented singers and have a good sense of music.This allows them to produce works that can be a good introduction to Egyptian art. "Our main aim is to spread Egyptian culture all over the world," he added.

One of the famous songs which the group translated into English was "Mawlay," a 1972 religious song praising God and expressing devotion to Him. It was written by Sayyid al-Naqshabandi, set to music by legendary composer Baligh Hamdi and sung by Abd al-Fattah Mustafa. The song, originally in Classical Arabic, is usually sung especially during the month of Ramadan. "Mawlay" was published by the troupe in June last year, went viral on social media and was viewed over 4,000 times.

Magdy sang the translation to the same melody:" My Lord, I am at your door and I have raised my hand". He did not translate the exact meaning but wrote a very similar one to go with the melody.    

"We wanted not only to translate the words into English, but also to deliver the feeling. Some Arabic words when translated have no meaning in English. So, when we translate the song, we make sure that people feel and understand the meaning," Magdy told the Mail.

To produce good quality songs, the group  rented a professional studio, played and sang in it.The troupe is composed of five lyricists and musicians. They translated over 70 traditional Egyptian songs, and started to publish some of them via their Facebook page in 2017.

"We started with improvisation but now we can translate any Arabic films or songs," he said.  The group has  also translated scenes of popular Egyptian TV soap operas starring Actor Mohamed Ramadan, old songs by Um Kolthoum and Abdul Halim Hafez, recent songs by Amr Diab  and others into English.

For Magdy, translating and dubbing the songs into English would not only promote Egyptian culture but would also attract tourists who would know more about Egypt's arts and heritage.

"The project needs to be supported and promoted so it grows and reaches more people. It can also generate money," said Magdy, who added that the group was self-funded

NEW YORK, March 19 (AFP) — Wax effigies, mannequins and reliquaries will be among the uncanny and often unsettling works on display at a Met Breuer exhibition exploring artists' attempts to replicate the living presence of the human body.

“Just how perfectly should figurative sculpture resemble the human body?” asks the exhibition “Like Life: Sculpture, Colour, and the Body (1300-Now),” which goes on view March 21 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's modern and contemporary art annex in Manhattan.

In contrast to idealised representations of the human form, exemplified by the white marble statues of classical tradition, this exhibition will feature sculpture that blurs the distinctions between original and copy, and between life and art, with often unsettling results.

Seven hundred years of sculptural practice will be seen through this frame, with a focus on the techniques used to realise lifelike sculptures of all kinds.

Tactics include the application of colour to imitate skin and flesh, the use of casts taken from real bodies, sculpted figures dressed in clothing, the use of movable limbs and automated bodies, and — perhaps the oddest of them all — works using real human blood, hair, teeth and bones.

Perhaps the most unusual of the oddities on display will be a wax figure of 18-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, built around Bentham's own skeleton, dressed in his clothes and seated in a wooden cabinet; when not at the Met Breuer, this “Auto-Icon” greets visitors at University College London.

Throughout the show, masterpieces will be juxtaposed with lesser-known works — with sculptures by Rodin, Degas, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons and Yinka Shonibare among them — as the museum highlights the “anxieties and pleasures” of viewing such 3D simulations of the human form.

“Like Life: Sculpture, Colour, and the Body (1300-Now)” will be at the Met Breuer from March 21 to July 22.

PARIS, March 15 (AFP) — One of Pablo Picasso’s most unsettling paintings returns to Paris on Friday, more than a century after he painted it here, as a taster for what is being billed the art “sale of the century”.

With the art market surging, the nude “Young Girl With a Flower Basket” is expected to make at least $100 million when it goes under the hammer in New York in May along with works by Monet, Renoir and Gauguin from the private collection of US billionaires Peggy and David Rockefeller.

Auction house Christie’s expects the sale of the 1,600 works of art amassed by the couple to top $600 million — easily beating the world record set in Paris in 2009 when the collection put together by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge made $484 million.

They include one of Monet’s water lily paintings as a well as one of his famously smoky views of St Lazare station in Paris and three Miro murals which are expected to fetch $25 million.

“It’s a really historic moment, the biggest private collection ever put up for auction,” Christie’s French head Francois de Ricqles told AFP.

It not only represents the works collected by “a couple of great taste”, he said, “but with the addition of the items they inherited reflects the passion of generations of the Rockefeller family for art”.

David Rockefeller, the former head of Chase Manhattan Bank, died last year aged 101, two decades after his wife.

The entire proceeds of the sale will go to charitable causes including Harvard University and conservation groups in the state of Maine, where the Rockefeller family had summer homes.

The Picasso, a masterpiece from his pink period in 1905, is one of 10 works being shown by Sotheby’s in the French capital in the run-up to the sale.

Once owned by Picasso’s friend, the American poet and novelist Gertrude Stein, it has not been shown in Paris in more than 50 years.

Stein initially was troubled by the side-on view and the girl’s “repulsive” feet, but her husband Leo loved it. When they split up, however, she kept the painting for herself, leaving him their Cezannes.

The Rockefellers were equally attached to it, not allowing it to leave their home on 65th Street in New York after they bought it in 1968.

Selected works from the collection are being displayed around the world leading up to the sale.

The Paris show also includes Georges Seurat’s picture of sailing boats, “La Rade de Grandcamp”, which is expected to make up to $30 million and Eugene Delacroix’s “Tiger Playing with a Tortoise” (1862), which has an estimate of $7 million.