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.

Baha Yetkin and 'Thumbelina' Musical Fairytale (Double Bill): Fantastical encounters lead Thumbelina to faraway lands where she finds the meaning of freedom and true love. A Hans Christian Andersen tale brought to life in a one-woman show by Egyptian-German singer-composer Merit Ariane Stephanos, through song from Europe to the Middle East, referencing Sephardic folklore, Gershwin, Darwish and Montsalvatge. This follows Turkish oud-player Baha Yetkin, virtuoso of the Turkish Makam, a constantly evolving music form from Istanbul's 13th century, one of the world's great music traditions. Taking place on 18 July, 2018 at Sands Films Studios, 82 St Marychurch Street, Rotherhithe SE16 4HZ.

Naila And The Uprising (Film): A documentary that tells the story of the Palestinian resistance leader Naila Ayesh, which offers a window in the history of a fierce, relentless and discerning network of Palestinian women who led a civil resistance movement during the First Intifada in 1987. Candidly using domesticity as a tool for progress, these female freedom fighters hid resurgent bulletins in bread baskets, made and distributed food items to replace produce boycotts and started up businesses to sustain their initiative. Using a combination of archive footage, modern-day interview footage and animation to tell the hidden history of these female insurgents, 'Naila and The Uprising' is a fierce yet inspirational story of people power. Viewing available from 12-19 July, 2018 at the Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW.

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.

PALFEST: A day of literature, music and Palestinian food, inlcuding contributions from: Maan Abu Taleb, Diana Buttu, William Dalrymple, Kassem Eid, Omar Robert Hamilton, Rachel Holmes, Hannah Khalil, Kareem Samara, Kamila Shamsie, Ahdaf Soueif and William Sutcliffe. Since 2008, Soueif and her colleagues in PalFest, 'The Palestine Festival of Literature', have brought artists from outside Palestine to taste this bitter and complex experience, an experience evoked in 'This is not a Border' (2017). Breaking the cultural siege imposed by Israel, PalFest reaffirms, in Edward Said’s words, 'the power of culture over the culture of power' and strengthens Palestine’s cultural links with the rest of the world. In collaboration with APUK, 'Artists for Palestine UK', the festival takes place 7 July, 2018 at Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB.

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.

At Home in Gaza and London: Following the lives of people living in two locations separated by great political, economic and physical divides. Using a mix of live-streaming and recorded video, a shared performance space is created where artists work together. They occupy each other’s homes, streets and other social spaces. Sharing their everyday behaviour and concerns, as they dissolve into each other or become ghostly protagonists in the drama. By using global communication, some of the more hidden realities of home life in Gaza and London are elucidated. Taking place 28 June-1 July, 2018 at Station House Opera, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN.

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.

Human Bridges: Celebrating Refugee Week, Dima Karout Art Studio will present: 1. An art exhibition telling the story of ten Syrian artists who originally connected at the Fine Arts University of Damascus in the year 2000 but whom today have all lost their home, but wherein the thin line of friendship built through art survived and virtually crossing continents. Based on gifts offered to Dima Karout over the years, the objects travelled with her from Damascus to Paris to Sacramento to Montreal and now they landed in London. Like the humans they represent, the objects carry a strong metaphor for connection and represent a piece of home, telling the personal stories on sides of a bridge. 2. Nasher, an installation of suspended canvas with handwritten true stories told by Syrians to describe crucial moments that marked their life during the conflict. 3. Fingerprints, a printing workshop where participants can discover already carved wooden pieces inspired of Old Damascus walls and patterns, use these motifs to print and create postcards they can offer to a friend or a stranger to build a bridge with another human. Free to attend, taking place on 23 June, 2018 at  Manor House, 34 Old Road, London SE13 5SY.

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​.


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.