Best of Abu Dhabi: Learning the Games People Play Through The Narcicyst's Rise

November 8, 2014 10:57 AM

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The talented, charismatic, popular Iraqi-Canadian rapper named The Narcicyst first appeared on my cultural radar in 2009 when I watched Ali F. Mostafa's iconic Emirati feature City of Life. The Narcicyst, AKA Yassin Alsalman revealed through his portrayal of Khalfan the hopes, realities and fears of the citizens of Dubai, a city that's moving mega fast on the modern metropolis super-highway, yet continues to strive to respect and uphold the important traditions of its past. In some ways, Alsalman is a similarly, wonderfully complex combination of these opposites, having one foot deeply planted in his Iraqi heritage, and UAE upbringing, and one equally strong foothold within his Canadian life. As most of us do who have left our homelands to begin a life, and try our fortunes, in another country, Alsalman continues to travel back and forth between his new home and his cultural home, having even tried to move back to the Emirates, for good, last year.

In his latest short film, a senses-overload experience titled Rise, Alsalman explores his roots and his ability to step away to comment on them. It's a great thing, watching films by multi-cultural human beings and artists, because these always help explain a part of myself that remains puzzling at ...

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