So recently I came across what is called “The Arab Mona Lisa”. werA couple of months ago in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Suroor Al Nahyane unveiled of the Arab Mona Lisa piece in the UAE for the very first time by the Emirati artist who goes by “samar arts”. Inspired by the Mona Lisa of Leonardo Da Vinci, the Arab Mona Lisa is meant to symbolize the core of oriental Arab beauty which I completely fail to see. To me the Arab Mona Lisa lacks the very essence of what is commonly considered Arab beauty. Where is the heavy eyeliner and the deep beautiful brown eyes we are accustomed to seeing? Also Arabs aren’t that white or pale…Is it just me or does the painting look more like a self-portrait of the artist herself??

Whether you like the painting or not, the point I am trying to emphasize on here is the lack originality we as Arabs tend to have. Why do we have to have an Arabic version of EVERYTHING?! An Arabic Dr.Oz, X-factor, The Voice, Arab idol, Arab’s Got Talent and the endless other TV shows that pop up every now and then claiming to be “the new original thing”. Why can’t we ever come up with a new idea instead of Arab-izing every Western thing we see and like? Where is the innovation???!

We don’t need an Arab Mona Lisa to prove we have talented artists, or prove that we too have many Leonardo Da Vinci’s… We do not need that! What we desperately need is brand new ideas that stem from pure Arabic backgrounds and do not aim to copy/remake any previous work but aim to be original, inventive and unique because a second remake of something will never be as good as the original especially when it comes to reality television competition shows.

By Mai El Naga