Curious Inbox

  • 'Retracing A Disappearing Landscape' Exhibition - P21 Gallery - Until 12 May 2018

Curious Inbox

Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.

Azzedine Alaïa: The first UK solo exhibition to celebrate the work of Tunisian-born couturier and designer Azzedine Alaïa. Conceived and co-curated with Monsieur Alaïa before his death in November 2017, the exhibition charts his incredible journey from sculptor to couturier, his nonconformist nature and his infectious energy for fashion, friendship and the female body. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Alaïa personally constructed each garment by hand and refused to bow to the pressures of fashion week deadlines, instead working to his own schedule. His collaborative approach earned him an esteemed client list, including Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Michelle Obama and Rihanna. Rather than a retrospective, the show interlaces stories of his life and career alongside personally selected garments, ranging from the rare to the iconic and spanning the early 1980s to his most recent collection in 2017. Taking place currently until 7 October, 2018 at the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG.

'What do you mean, here we are?' (Exhibition): A retrospective of the renowned Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 1998, Townhouse emerged onto a scene dominated by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and its private affiliates. As one of the first independent art spaces in Cairo, Townhouse has borne witness to an unusual and intriguing trajectory. Through a series of visual, video material and sound art as well as pamphlets, catalogues and ephemera, this exhibition tells the story of Townhouse’s evolution from a modest start in the backstreets of downtown Cairo to its emergence at the centre of the regional contemporary art scene, and further across more recent periods of turmoil and re-configuration. It will also raise larger questions about cultural production and artistic practice in capricious socio-political climates and the challenges faced by independent institutions operating under censorship. Taking place 6 July-15 September, 2018 at the Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW.

Broken Wings (Musical): An autobiographical account of Kahlil Gibran's first love, 'Broken Wings' is a musical adaptation of the poet’s 1912 masterpiece. Set in New York City in 1923, an ageing Gibran narrates from his cold studio; and, through poetry and music, transports one back two decades and across continents, to turn-of-the-century Beirut and his 18-year-old self. Reflecting on his deep feelings for Selma Karamy - the daughter of family friend and respected local businessman who was betrothed to someone else - and how both had to fight to reconcile their love for one another, whilst navigating the rules, traditions and expectations that their society lays before them. A moving production, it explores what inspired the acclaimed author to write and what moved him to such profound philosophy in his later life, bringing up themes and debates that remain relevant today: the fight for gender equality, the freedom to love who we love, tradition versus modernity, wealth versus happiness, immigration and the importance of ‘home’. Written by Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan, directed by Bronagh Lagan, and with orchestrations by Joe Davison, it will be taking place 1-4 August, 2018 at Theatre Royal Haymarket 18 Suffolk Street London SW1Y 4HT​.

Rachid Koraïchi: A solo exhibition for the Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi, whose impressive oeuvre includes silk hangings, ceramics, sculptures, as well as works on canvas and paper. Incorporating calligraphy as a graphic element in his work, Koraïchi sees art as an ancient path into the unknown, wherein the signs and symbols from civilisation’s oldest languages are abstracted and deconstructed to create a new visual vocabulary. In this newly presented series entitled 'Les osties bleues' - a reference to Sacramental bread - he explores human connections to the earth as a source of life. Set on blue and white canvases and wall mounted square ceramics, the artist continues to use a limited palette emphasizing the graphic power of his inscriptions. Taking place 21 June-28 July, 2018 at the October Gallery, ​24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL​.

Simona Abdallah Heartbeat: Arts Canteen, in association with the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), will present an exceptional evening of classics and fusion with renowned Palestinian-Danish percussionist Simona Abdallah, where she will be able to move between each piece in an energetic manner unlike any usual beats you’ve heard before. Simona Abdallah plays the Arabic percussion, primarily the Darbuka- a goblet-shaped drum. She fuses her ancestral Arabic rhythms with House, Electronica and World music. A DJ live set will be playing the warm-up set that should raise the energy level to the roof and the dance floor seem less hostile to people who've just walked in! Taking place on 14 July, 2018 at the Courtyard Theatre, 40 Pitfield Street, London N1 6EU.

Naseer Shamma's Quartet: Naseer Shamma is one of the world’s pre-eminent oud players and composers, revered both in his home country of Iraq and worldwide, who was recently named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. For this special performance, he brings with him three distinguished players from around the world, each experts in their respective musical traditions who are united in their understanding of a transcendental musical language. All master instrumentalists from Iraq, Pakistan and Spain, they will bring forward a mesmerising performance of oud, Flamenco guitar, tabla and sitar.​ Taking place 11 July, 2018 at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS.

Bachar Zarkan’s 'Hallaj of Hope': Striking a resilient harmony between Sufi musical performance and contemporary poetry, Bachar Zarkan’s anticipated London performance marks the debut of his remarkable project 'The Hallaj of Hope'. Together with a brand-new ensemble, Zarkan pays homage to the divine poetry of the Sufi mystics and thinkers such as Ibn Arabi, Ibn Al-Faridh, and Al-Hallaj, and extends their rich legacy to the work of contemporary poet and literary icon Mahmoud Darwish. Further testimony to Zarkan’s astonishing musical agility, the works are presented and based on the inner musicality of their text; the inherent ‘poetic word’ decides the rhythmic structure of the works, and through it, ingeniously couples authentic Arabic modes alongside contemporary Arabic music, Taking place 6 July, 2018 at Kings Place 2018 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

Lowkey + Guests: Lowkey headlines Refugee Week 2018 in a concert to mark 20 years of the festival. A leading light of the UK hiphop scene and a strong campaigning voice for the rights of refugees, British-Iraqi Lowkey is the ideal artist to be taking the lead at such an important time in the festival’s history. As one of the UK's most potent and electrifying rappers, Lowkey is a towering figure of the British hiphop scene who renews the tradition of conscious activism for a generation brought up with the' War on Terrorism'. Fusing politically charged lyrics and agile dissection of topics such as race, war, global poverty and internationalist politics with anthemic choruses and an unrelentingly energetic performance, Lowkey commands a keen and growing legion of followers, still treading new ground and generating fresh enthusiasm 14 years after releasing his first mixtape. Taking place 24 June, 2018 at KOKO, 1A Camden High Street, London NW1 7JE.

Sounds For Syria: The London Syrian Ensemble are a collective of some of the Damascus Conservatoire’s finest musicians, now based in the UK. Performing during Refugee Week, their sound mixes traditional Middle Eastern instruments – oud (lute), ney (flute), kanun (zither) –with violins, violas, double bass, percussion, and guest vocalists. They will perform twentieth-century Syrian classics and premiering some new music on the night. Trained in the powerful rhythms and the hundreds of lush impassioned melodic loops or maqams of Syrian musical tradition, they will present a suite of instrumental pieces, improvisations and songs with a huge emotional range and depth. Taking place 23 June, 2018 at the Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. (Please note all proceeds of the concert will go to the 'Marhabtayn Trust' and partners).

ARABÉCÉDAIRE: A solo exhibition dedicated to the influential Egyptian modernist painter Hamed Abdalla (1917-1985), that will explore his extensive archives and library, looking at him both as an artist and as a researcher. Curated by Morad Montazami, this will be the first exhibition in the UK of this significant Egyptian artist. The title of the exhibition is rooted in the French word ‘Abécédaire’ meaning a visual alphabet primer. Abdalla’s work centred on his development of what he called the ‘creative word’, written words expressed in paint, blending abstraction and human forms. This exhibition will focus on six resonant words to examine the development of Abdalla’s visual language and political ideas through previously unseen material and archives. Taking place 13 April-23 June, 2018 at the Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW​.

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Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.