Looks like it was a good year for Lady Gaga: the Associated Press recently named her the Entertainer of the Year. The controversial 25-year-old pop star beat late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs by a mere three votes.
Gaga is also featured in Forbes magazine's list of top-achieving people under age 30. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, human rights activist Ronan Farrow and teenage sensation Justin Bieber are also included.
The list identified 30 people for each 12 categories, including law, science and finance. Jonah Hill, Jennifer Lawrence and Jaden Smith were on the entertainment list, while the music category features Adele, Katy Perry and Rihanna.
The full list is available at www.forbes.com/under30 and will be published in the January edition of the magazine.
Palestinian artist turned away
Larissa Sansour, a Palestinian photographer and artist, released a statement to the media on Tuesday alleging that her shortlisted work for the prestigious Lacoste Elysée Prize has been removed from the competition. Sansour claims the decision came after organisers referred to her work as "too pro-Palestinian".
"I am very sad and shocked by this development. This year Palestine was officially admitted to Unesco, yet we are still being silenced," said Sansour, who refused to approve a statement from the prize's representatives stating that she withdrew from her nomination to "pursue other opportunities".
The prize is organised by the Musée de L'Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, in collaboration with French fashion brand Lacoste. It gives each of the shortlisted artists €4,000 (Dh19,300) to help realise their work and €25,000 to the winner.
Sansour's work, titled Nation State, features manipulated photographic images depicting a sci-fi vision of a Palestinian state in the form of a single skyscraper housing recreations of cities including Jerusalem, Ramallah and Sansour's hometown of Bethlehem.
Her name has been removed from the prize's website.
"As a politically involved artist I am no stranger to opposition, but never before have I been censored by the very same people who nominated me in the first place," said Sansour.
Fashion labels are becoming increasingly involved in the arts and patronage. The artist said that this "puts a major dent in the idea of corporate involvement in the arts. It is deeply worrying".
Dubai group pushes for emerging artists
INtheFRAME (ITF) is a new non-profit arts organisation founded in Dubai by Noor Kadhim and Khatija Sacranie, aimed at pushing forward emerging talent and investing in educational causes around the region. The current focus of this is the Iraqi Art Project, featuring an exhibition and auction of work by some of Iraq's leading artists (including Dia Al Azzawi) in January.
To raise its profile, ITF has organised a two-day arts and painting workshop in DIFC on December 23 and 24. Paintbox's sessions are entirely interactive - with visitors encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get painting - and led by Alia Dawood and Michelle Harvey, two recent arts graduates from Central Saint Martins in London.
The event takes place in the Atrium of DIFC Gate Village between 10am and 6pm on Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.intheframe.org.
Taylor Swift's CoverGirl ad pulled
A mascara advertisement featuring Taylor Swift has been pulled from US magazines following a complaint that it had been digitally altered to enhance the looks of the chart-topping country music star, according to reports by the Associated Press.
The National Advertising Division said Procter & Gamble, maker of CoverGirl cosmetics, "discontinued the advertisement in question" after it challenged its claims.
"The ad featured a celebrity looking up to highlight her long eyelashes," it said in a statement Tuesday, referring to Swift. "Beneath was the disclaimer, 'lashes enhanced in post-production'."
The self-regulatory forum for the ad industry had questioned CoverGirl's claim that its NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara doubled the volume of bare lashes and that it was 20 per cent lighter than "the most expensive mascara".
There was no immediate comment from Procter & Gamble or from Swift, who in a CBS television interview last month spoke of how conscious she is of the influence she has among her fans.