Curious Inbox

  • Natacha Atlas - 8 February, 2018 - London - Bush Hall -

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 Syrian Ensemble: Out of the detritus of war a thing of beauty was born. The London Syrian Ensemble is a collective of some of Syria's finest musicians based in the UK. A group of both newly arrived and long-term residents who either studied or taught in the eminent Damascus Conservatoire. They bring the sounds of Syria through a diverse repertoire of classical and traditional music from the region.  The ensemble includes oud, kanun, ney, violin, viola, double bass and percussion and performances also include a range of fantastic guest vocalists. Taking place on 2 November, 2017 at St Mary's Music Hall, 8 Church End, Walthamstow, London E17 9RJ.

Comics and Cartoon Art from the Arab World: This display is a chance to explore the art, history and significance of Arab comics from the 19th Century Egyptian satirical press and children’s comics of the mid-20th Century, to the contemporary graphic novel and comics scene. This small display highlights a vibrant visual archive that illustrates and engages with issues concerning everyday life, politics and society across the Arab world and beyond. Part of the 'Treasures' of the British Library' exhibition, these works can be viewed up until 29 October, 2017 at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.

Naji al-Ali - A Tribute: Naji al-Ali (1938–87) was a Palestinian political cartoonist who drew over 40,000 cartoons, from sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics and political leaders to visionary symbols of inhumanity and the pity of war. Born in Galilee, he was a victim of the nakba in 1948 when his region was cleared to make way for Jewish settlers. Growing up in Lebanese refugee camps and prisons, he first scribbled protest cartoons on the walls before finding work in newspapers. Known for using the image of Handala, the barefoot child who silently watches all the evils perpetrated in the Middle East, it has since become an icon of Palestinian defiance. Shot by unknown assailants outside the offices of ‘al-Qabas’, a Kuwaiti newspaper in London, he died five weeks later in August 1997. Exploring the remarkable power and influence of his work and legacy, participants include cartoonist Steve Bell and academic Karma Nabulsi, with live music by Palestinian singer Reem Kelani. Taking place 27 October, 2017 at the Knowledge Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB​.

Culture in Crisis - At Home in Syria: An opportunity to get a first-hand insight into how people save and protect cultural heritage sites within war-zone areas today. Artist Zahed Tajeddin will be joined by author and Middle East cultural expert Diana Darke as they describe their battles to save their historic courtyard houses – his in Aleppo (Syria), hers in Damascus (Syria) – from theft, shelling and looting, giving a rare first-hand glimpse of how people and cultural heritage survive inside a war-zone. Organised by the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in association with the Gingko Library, taking place on 23 October, 2017 at the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL.

Living Histories, Contemporary Arab Art: A display highlighting recent acquisitions of posters, prints, drawings, photographs and artists’ books by contemporary Arab artists, with a focus on Syria. Much of the work has been produced following the uprisings that began in 2011 that have since resulted in full scale civil war. Forming a part of the British Museum collections in keeping with its role as a museum of history, these pieces speak of their time and invite the viewer to look at the troubled politics of the Middle East today through a lens that is different from the world of the immediacy of media reports. Taking place 5 June-22 October, 2017 at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

Memories of Cities: Five internationally renowned Syrian artists from across the generations explore the dualities of urban living through depictions of cities and localities that have inspired them. Although their works are enormously varied in technique and sensibilities, the artists are united by origin and circumstance, whether they are still living in war-torn Syria or abroad. As a project, this show aims to gather individual memories and combine them into a collective memory that activates the dynamics between past and present. The artists are: Ghassan Jadid, Khaled Al Saai, Manhal Issa, Nizar Sabour and Virginie Arakelian. Curated by Gallery Hiba, the exhibition takes place 10-21 October, 2017 at the Willesden Gallery, London NW10 2SF. 

Dark Water Burning World - The Island of Lesbos and the Boats of Syria​: An evening to explore, through poetry and art, the visible and invisible scars of loss scorched into escaping Syrians by the separation from their homeland. Now six years since the Syrian uprising, the sea between Turkey and the Greek islands is still a terrifying passage for Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. Poet Ruth Padel, who has had a lifelong relationship with Greece, visited the island in 2016 and went into the camps, talked to refugees, islanders and a local newspaper editor who found stark echoes of the Syrian refugees’ stories in memories of her own grandmother, a refugee from Smyrna in 1922. Padel then joined the Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj in a collaboration to mark the courage of the refugees and the generosity of the islanders. Kourbaj’s artwork is both in response to the Syrian tragedy and crisis and also inspired by the 5th century BC Syrian vessels in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Taking place on 20 October, 2017 at the Nash Lecture Theatre, King's College London, Strand Campus, Strand, London WC2R 2LS.

Castanights Presents A Night of Flamenco: Drawing on the Andalusian tradition of flamenco dancing and music as well as the burning passion for the art form within London's strong Spanish communities - from the little tapas restaurants to the flamenco festival at Saddler's Wells - for a fist flamenco night at the Jazz Cafe, they have commissioned one of the city's leading flamenco guitarists Ramon Ruiz to play alongside the Attab Haddad quintet, who fuse traditional flamenco with Middle Eastern and classical influences. In true flamenco spirit, joining both sets of performers on stage will be the professional flamenco dancer Ollie Giffin and singer Leo Power, who will add another dimension of Andalusian flair to the evening. Taking place on 15 October, 2017 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden, London NW1 7PG.

BFI London Film Festival 2017: In its 61st edition, the BFI London Film Festival will bring a diverse selection of 242 feature films from both established and emerging talent. This twelve-day-long celebration of cinema illustrates the richness of international filmmaking, with films to delight and entertain audiences, and films that probe and interrogate issues of significance. Considered the UK’s leading and most prestigious film festival, this year it will host 28 world premieres, 9 international premieres and 34 European premieres and will welcome a stellar line up of cast and crew.  Alongside its galas, special presentations and films in competitions, the festival has a thrilling range of new cinema in sections: Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Experimenta and Family. As in every BFI Film Festival, there will be films from and inspired by the MENA region. Taking place 4-15 October, 2017 at various West End and Non-West End cinema venues in London.

Tribute to Shafik Kabha: A tribute to a legend of Palestine's music scene, the show will be jam packed with Shafik Kabha's best tracks and greatest hits. As a special one off show, hosts Arts Canteen will be celebrating his life and music. Kabha has been hailed by some as a truly ‘pan-Palestine’ singer, with huge popularity in Gaza, the West Bank and Galilee. One is invited to get their dancing shoes ready for a night to remember with surprise guest artists and DJs on the night. Taking place on 13 October, 2017 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.


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.