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An oasis for art, songs with the shopping, and a chef's adieu

Art Oasis at Dubai Summer Surprises is putting an environmental twist on aesthetics this year.

Art Oasis at Dubai Summer Surprises is putting an environmental twist on aesthetics this year. Its Green Vision theme encourages artists to explore their relationship with place, environment and sustainability - a subject organisers hope will give its 30 multinational artists plenty of inspiration. The exhibit will be open until Wednesday.

Sonia Kashmiri's summer collection showcases not just her creativity, but the inspiration of a stable of designers from her native Pakistan. Ms Kashmiri, who launched her UAE-based Alter Ego brand to provide young, fresh talent with a platform to show and sell their works globally, has lived her entire life in the UAE. The new collection is on sale at the Grafika boutique in Abu Dhabi's Al Wahda Mall. "Alter Ego represents 12 young Pakistani designers who do not have the resources to exhibit their designs on an international platform," Ms Kashmiri said. "We launched in Dubai two months ago and now it's time to bring our designs to Abu Dhabi." She designs women's casual wear. "The concept of Alter Ego is that we do clothes that are easily transferable between cultures," she said.

There are many things that attract us to the Abu Dhabi Health and Fitness Club, least of which are all the varied exercise options. Sure, we like the ambience of the outdoor pool and we're intrigued by the idea of indoor skydiving. But we love fine dining, and Sardinia is one of the better restaurants in the city, despite being a little hard on our wallets. That's why we were devastated to hear that the head chef, Fabrice Canelle, left the restaurant a month ago over a pay dispute. "I was asked to take a 50 per cent pay cut," Canelle said. "I refused, of course, and so it was time to resign." Canelle was one of the first chefs to bring molecular gastronomy to Abu Dhabi, and the restaurant consequently won a slew of awards. We will be keeping an eye on Sardinia to see if the replacement is able to fill the void he leaves.

Keep your ears tuned for the Dubai Voices while you are out and about shopping in the malls during the next few weeks. The 16-member multicultural choir, which sings in English, Arabic, Tagalog and Farsi, has been performing three different acts during the Dubai Summer Surprises weekends, featuring interpretations of Broadway musicals, classic pop, jazz, world music and other favourite songs. We're looking forward to hearing the choir's versions of Abba classics!

It is not so long ago that Paris Hilton was in the capital, dancing the night away at the Emirates Palace hotel's Etoiles nightclub and restaurant, where she made quite an appearance in her fuchsia pink Arabian princess-inspired outfit. Her large entourage included her mother, dressed in what appeared to be a black abaya. "Had an amazing All Girls dinner with my mother and the most elegant, sweet, gracious and beautiful women in Abu Dhabi. Love them all," Hilton said on her Twitter page.

When she was in Dubai, however, at Crowne Plaza's Quantum Venue, Paris did not leave such a good impression. She made her way to the DJ booth. "Techno sucks!" she shrilled into the microphone. "You guys are a sexy crowd, I love Dubai!" The DJ, hearing his music publicly criticised, used some choice words over the PA system in response. We really can't blame him, especially after Paris's description of her visit to Dubai on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the American late-night talk show, included some nonsense about having to wear a burqa when visiting the UAE.

* The National

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