By Noor Bahman

Al-Riwaq’s annual Market 338, from November 29 – December 15, is an infusion of youth culture, a two-week haven where creative innovators present their work.

This year’s participants have excelled at taking their Arabic heritage and incorporating it into modern versions of clothes, accessories, furniture and food. Aysha Al-Araify’s “Bossy Kitchen” is all about mixing traditional Arabic food with contemporary recipes that have a reminder of tradition in every bite. Alaa Balkhy, the designer behind Fyunka, insists that a tag reading ‘Made in Jeddah’ be put on all her designs to express her pride in her hometown.

Much enthusiasm has also been shown for reviving the music of renowned Arabic singers like Fairuz and Um Kulthum. Jaffar Al-Alawy, founder of Makan, inscribes select lyrics from their songs onto furniture in homage to Arabic culture and language. From graphic and fashion designers to artists and poets, Market 338 represents the limitless potential of Arab society.

For more info – Al-Riwaq’s website

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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