📘 E-Issue 05 ––VCE Fall 2022
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

📒 E-Issue 04 ––IST Spring 2022
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

E-04++ Spring/Summer 2022
Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models
📘 E-Issue 03 –– TYO Fall 2021
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++ Fall/Winter 2021-22
Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?
Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022
Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022
 Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
AAN The Labor of Art and the Art of Labor: Christopher Benton on His First Exhibition in Al Ain
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

📕 E-Issue 02
NYC Spring 2021
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++ Spring/Summer 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

📙 E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB Summer 2020 
  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++ Fall/Winter 2020-21
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer
AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye
DXB Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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🗃️ Archive Year 2018 
    NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev
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   AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

🎙️ GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020
   1. What is GAD? 2015 to Now

    2. Where is GAD? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

    3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover
   4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor
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Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Interview by Sophie Arni

Published on August 23, 2020

        I first discovered necklaces and rings by Omani designer Hanan Sultan on Instagram and was immediately drawn to their minimal shape and play on texture. The pieces from her most recent collection bring out raw and natural material with subtlety and elegance. When I learned that they were made of Hojari Frankincense –– sourced directly from Oman –– my curiosity sparked. Based between Muscat, Dubai, and London, Sultan is a young designer who blurs the line between fashion, art, and jewelry. She is globally-minded, and it shows in her pieces. She has also developed close links to the United Arab Emirates, making her a perfect addition to our E-Issue 01 AUH/DXB ++ features.

Sultan decided to explore frankincense in jewelry for “its historic and contemporary characteristic similarities to gold.” In Omani culture, frankincense is a commodity given to a bride at her wedding by her groom. As she describes it, “frankincense is a type of resin that is usually used in incense and scents,” burning at weddings “as a sign of the emerging of two souls.” Her Hojari Frankincense pieces are thus not only aesthetically stunning and culturally significant, but they carry a divine smell too. “The body’s natural emittance of heat will help the scent of the frankincense to spread from the skin into the air,” Sultan explains.

Having just presented her 2020 Graduate Collection at Central Saint Martins, Sultan shared with us her work philosophy, her personal connection to frankincense, and her dream collaborations. This interview is meant for you to discover her work and help support the launch of her promising career. 

1. Hanan Sultan, Signet Rings in Hojari Frankincense (2020). Copyright Hanan Sultan. Courtesy of Hanan Sultan. Photo: Mona Haidar. 

Sophie Arni: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your connections to Muscat, Dubai, and London?

Hanan Sultan: I am a 22-year-old Omani that was born and brought up in Muscat, Oman, and have studied in Muscat, New York, and London. Most recently, I graduated from Central Saint Martins with a B.A. in Jewellery Design. I spent a lot of my childhood traveling to Dubai and London as I always had big dreams of living and starting my career in these two major cities. I am thankful to say that I have been living in London for the past four years and have spent the last two summers working internships in Dubai where I plan to be based after moving from London.

2. Hanan Sultan, Kumma Crown (2020). Montage proposed with 18ct gold plated silver, Hojari Frankincense and food colour. Copyright Hanan Sultan. Courtesy of Hanan Sultan. Photo: Abeer Sultan.

S.A.: Your UAL biography says that you “love both fine arts and fashion and find that jewelry is the perfect middle ground between the two.” Could you elaborate on how jewelry brings in both passion for fine arts and fashion?

H.S.: Jewelry incorporates different aspects of my passion for fine arts and fashion. At a surface-level, jewelry is part of fashion, it is universally used as an adornment to the body alongside garments and other accessories. However, on a deeper level, jewelry like other forms of art, is an object that carries meaning, history, value, and journey. Jewelry does not only consider the journey of the wearer, but it also considers that of the designer, the maker, and the manifestation journey of the object itself. Fine arts and fashion have both been forms of personal expression to me. I started noticing how people express themselves using fashion at a very young age and was allowed to express myself through drawings and paintings. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that jewelry allows personal expression through 2D, 3D, and 4D arts and design.

The more I looked into it, the more I realized that jewelry allows personal expression through 2D, 3D, and 4D arts and design.

Jewelry can be looked at as wearable art and could be passed down through generations as heirlooms or gifts. It is a part of the designer and how they wish to pass a piece of themselves onto the next generation. My designs are very personal, experimental, and are all one of a kind. Like Jackson Pollock, an Abstract Expressionist, I initially dance with my brush and let the concept, material, and tools guide me through the journey and processes of designing and making.
3. Hanan Sultan, Hojari Frankincense Necklace I in Hojari Frankincense (2020). Silk thread and 9ct gold. Copyright Hanan Sultan. Courtesy of Hanan Sultan. Photo: Abeer Sultan. The pendant references the round shape of a coin which symbolises dowry in Omani wedding jewelry. 4. Hanan Sultan, Hojari Frankincense Necklace II in Hojari Frankincense (2020). Silk thread. Copyright Hanan Sultan. Courtesy of Hanan Sultan. Photo: Mona Haidar.

S.A.: You have incorporated Hojari Frankincense into your practice and created a collection with it. How did you first encounter this material? Do you work with it in a rough texture or find yourself often polishing?

H.S.: My first encounter with Hojari Frankincense was probably when I was really young. I don’t remember a time where I did not know what it was. Growing up as an Omani in Muscat, it was and still is everywhere. It is in our homes, malls, souqs and even in our food. It is predominantly grown in Dhofar in the South of Oman, at the famous site of The Land of Frankincense. I start by working with raw and rough Hojari Frankincense, in its natural form of extraction before fabricating it into what you can see.

Growing up as an Omani in Muscat, [Hojari Frankincense] was and still is everywhere.

S.A.: Your Kumma Headpiece has links to the dowry marriage traditions in Oman. Could you tell us about how this reference relates to your concept of “Neo Traditionalism”?

H.S.: My collection communicates, explores, and challenges marriage traditions in Omani culture, through different forms of jewelry. I find it extremely important to identify myself by my cultural background yet not be trapped by its traditions. This way I can keep some old, meaningful, and important traditions and make new and improved ones. According to Oxford’s definition, ‘Neo Traditional’ alludes to the revival of “traditional methods, styles, and ways of life, especially while incorporating contemporary elements or influences.”

I find it extremely important to identify myself by my cultural background yet not be trapped by its traditions.

Wanting to create a piece touching on the idea of equality in marriage, I designed a crown that resembles an already established accessory used for men. My crown version of the Kumma is created for women as a female version of a Kumma to be gifted to a bride on their wedding day as a commitment of having equality within their marriage, breaking away from the gender roles of our societies. When presented as part of the dowry, it is presented for its symbolic means rather than its materialistic values in forms of traditional jewelry. I have recreated the tradition of giving a dowry by rejuvenating its real purpose by creating an already existing accessory alongside the contemporary use of the traditional material.

S.A.: Which occasions would be appropriate to wear your jewelry?

H.S.: Different pieces would be appropriate for different occasions. Some, like the Kumma Crown, are made for brides to wear on their wedding day, most appropriately at ‘the Arabic/Omani Wedding’. Other more subtle pieces such as the Signet Rings in Hojari Frankincense could be worn on a daily basis.

S.A.: What other artist or designer would you dream of collaborating with, and who would be your dream customer?

H.S.: I dream of collaborating with Annamaria Cammilli, Elsa Peretti, and Paloma Picasso. My dream customers would have to be Ahlam Al Shamsi, Balqees Fathi, and Kim Kardashian West.