Curious Inbox

  • Artwork - Libyan Artist Mohamed Abumeis - With Kind Permission (3)

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.

London Design Biennale 2018: The 2018 London Design Biennale is devoted to the theme of 'Emotional States'. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House and representing 35 countries and cities, it will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities and social equality. Visitors will enjoy engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions - all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world. As emotions are universal with shared meanings that transcend borders, together the different countries’ responses to the theme will present an exciting laboratory of ideas that will investigate the important relationship between design, strong emotional responses and real social needs. The Arab countries participating include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt. Taking place 4-23 September, 2018 at Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA.

South Social Meets Tunisia: Hosted by South Social Film Festival, the next screening explores Tunisian cinema with the film 'Of Skin and Men' (L'Amour Des Hommes) by Mehdi Ben Attia. Set in contemporary Tunis, Amel is a young photographer, who has just lost her husband Nabil in an accident. Her happiness, living with her beloved husband in a beautiful family apartment, has turned to grief. Her father-in-law, Taïeb, encourages her to re-engage herself in photography and so she begins shooting a series of erotic scenes, becoming truly immersed in her work. Fearless and unafraid of scandal, her work involves looking at men in the same way as men look at women and leading to unexpected developments. Offering a close look at the war of sexes and gender relationships, looking at a now democratic country that still has to learn how to use freedom. The screening will be followed by Q+A and a live concert. Taking place 22 September, 2018 at TheatrePeckham, 221 Havil Street, London SE5 7SD.

Acid Arab (DJ Set): Absorbing myriad musical influences from oriental and Arabic to Turkish and Indian, Acid Arab's Musique De France won them legions of admirers including Gilles Peterson, who invited the duo to perform live at the Worldwide Awards last year. Their electric live show shook a sold out Jazz Cafe last year, and now they return for a go behind the wheels in the booth! As they have stated: “We are fascinated by eastern music and its codes, such as complex rhythmic structures (binary and ternary superimposing upon each other), which drive dancers to trance just like acid house does. We’d like to take these codes and use analog techno devices (beatboxes, bassline machines) to create something new: an oriental acid music which combines the coldness of techno and the emotional and dramatic power of the East." Taking place 21 September, 2018 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden, London NW1 7PG.

SAFAR Film Festival 2018: Presented by the Arab British Centre, the fourth edition of the SAFAR Film Festival will be celebrating the symbiotic and enduring relationship of literature and film in the Arab world through a vibrant programme of features, shorts, and documentaries, spanning over 50 year. Curated by renowned Egyptian film critic Joseph Fahim, the festival addresses an important and fertile period of filmmaking and writing, presenting classic adaptations from Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, from some of the most famous directors and authors of the region, alongside films from Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Palestine, Iraq and Qatar. SAFAR is the only festival in the UK solely focused on programming Arab Cinema and this year’s theme will present a rich and diverse programme that will be showcasing pioneering, classic films rarely seen outside the region alongside the best in contemporary storytelling. Taking place 13-18 September, 2018 the films will be screening at both the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and Ciné Lumière. The full schedule can be found through the link below.

What do you mean, here we are?: 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.

Palestine Verses: An annual poetry night that began in 2014 after the assault on Gaza, for people who wanted to express solidarity, share experiences and voice their emotions. Hosted by Interpal, this is an evening of performance and poetry, featuring spoken word artists Richard Sudan, Atlas X, and Tom Bishop with an open mic session. Helping to raise funds, awareness and most importantly, to show love and solidarity with the people of Palestine, this event will take place 14 September,  2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA. 

This Is Home (Film): What happens to Syrian refugees given haven in a western country? This striking suburban Baltimore set film paints a fascinating picture of the USA through the eyes of four families going through the country’s refugee self-sufficiency resettlement programme. The journey towards acculturation includes buying hijabs featuring the stars and stripes; discovering twelve hour working days; and beginning to confront the challenging gender expectations of their new home. 'This Is Home' gives a novel portrait of America, whilst conveying the resilience of its shipwrecked subjects in a moving and compelling fashion. A UK premiere, coming as part of the Open City Documentary Festival, the screening is on 8 September, 2018 at the Curzon Soho, 99 Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, London W1D 5DY.

Banipal Book Club: The popular book club returns and will be discussing the novella and film adaptation of 'Men in the Sun' by Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani. Kanafani’s novella, first published in Arabic in 1962 and subsequently translated into many languages, tells of the Palestinian experience following the creation of Israel through the stories of four men. Abu Qais, Assad and Marwan are trying to reach Kuwait in the hope of finding work and improving their families’ impoverished situation. Abul Khaizuran, a fellow Palestinian, offers (for a fee) to smuggle them across the border in the tank of the water truck he drives for a rich Kuwaiti. The film based on the novella, 'Al-Makhdu’un' (variously translated as 'The Dupes or The Deceived'), was first shown at a film festival in Syria 1972. Taking place as part of the wider collaboration between the Banipal Magazine Issue 62 and the SAFAR Film Festival 2018, the book club is on 6 September, 2018 at the Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE. This is free to attend but you must RSVP in advance via the link below.  

Tints of Resilience: A collective exhibition curated by Rania Mneimneh, this brings together the works of eleven international artists in a rich tapestry of visual artworks, photography, poetry and film. Exploring the potential of art in developing resilience in zones of conflict, it places art at the heart of adversity and examining its ability to reconnect and maintain the bonds with home, people, and tradition. The artists, who are all connected to the Middle East, share their experiences in art-making and using art to cope with war, asylum, injury and search for identity, presenting both individual explorations and artistic collaborations with refugee children, social workers, and art therapists. Tracing the intimate process of coping with family death, forced migration, identity crisis, cultural loss, and difficulties in integration, the show offers a sharing space with a variety of artistic media, where the process stands alongside the end product including documentaries, paintings, illustrations and photography. Including a parallel programme of presentations, taking place 17 August-6 September, 2018 at the P21 Gallery,  21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Emma Brown's 'Sahrawi Women And Their Sahara': Made over seven years of documenting the work of London based Olive Branch Arts in the Sahrawi Refugee Camps in South West Algeria, this series of photographs explores Emma Brown's personal connections with the women, young and old who are the backbone of their community, and the harsh desert that they are compelled to live in. Despite extreme hardships, the Sahrawi community has managed to build a democratically run nation-in-exile on the refugee camps where women play a prominent role, defying Western preconceptions of Arab-Muslim societies. Brown is an award-winning portrait and humanitarian photographer, whose visual storytelling takes a meditative approach that enables her to go almost unnoticed, allowing her to create lyrical, humanistic images. Taking place 1 August-2 September, 2018 at the Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, Poplar, London E14 6TL.

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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.