Curious Inbox

  • Astrolab - Artist Anissa Berkane -

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.

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.

El Far3i, Al Raseef & Z The People: Three music acts in one evening enchanted by diverse and accomplished musicians across Balkan, Soul, Arabic Folk, Acoustic Rap, Hip-Hop and more! El Far3i's music can be described as a mixture of Hip Hop, Arabic Folk and Acoustic Rap and Arabic poetry. He believes in the power of his music and exploring and adapting the lyrics to fit the current social and political conditions. Al Raseef is a dynamic street band that plays a fusion between Arabic and Balkan music in vibrant and varied grooves, with a contemporary and new fresh arrangements. Z The People is a singer, producer and keys player from the Palestinian diaspora who has carved a reputation for his style of mixing of Soul and Arabic music, wherein the songwriting reflects the struggle of two worlds colliding and the search for home in a scattered universe. Taking place 21 August, 2018 at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU.

Sounds of Freedom: An evening to celebrate the wonderful culture of Palestine and the struggle of its people for their right to return, liberation and national self-determination. Featuring a number of different acts, these include the young musicians and dancers from the Lajee Center, a cultural youth centre ini the heart of the Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine, as well as performance by the London-based women's dance company Hawiyya and poetry from the inspiring Baraka Youth Association, a group of Somali youngsters living in North Kensington. The event will also include appearances from award-winning British-Iraqi rapper and political activist Lowkey and renowned Palestinian author and academic Karma Nabulsi. Taking place 18 August, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

Of Fathers And Sons: For 12-year-old Osama and his peers, childhood is about playfighting, mastering times tables and inventing new games. But in a war-torn Syria now taken over by radical jihadist networks, Osama’s playground is an abandoned tank, games are making bombs in water bottles and school graduation is an ISIS training camp. In this brave, unflinching documentary, director Talal Derki returns to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses on the eldest child Osama and his younger brother Ayman, gaining an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up in an Islamic Caliphate. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and a Skype call with director Derki about the film and its themes on 17 Augustl, 2018 at Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW.

Women/Jerusalem/Threads: Curated by Nissa Abdurazzak, this is the first London showcase of the international travelling exhibition, 'Palestine: Story and Colour', with a focus on the collective representation of women costumes in paintings. In commemoration of 70 years since the Nakba, the day following Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, the show explores the issues of displacement and identity loss through an observation of the eroding costumes tradition in Palestine as represented in paintings by Palestinian diaspora artists. Featuring the works of Jordanian and Palestinian artists, the works reveal how art becomes a tool to assure the continuance of Palestinian history in Jerusalem. Taking place 4-11 August, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Kahlil Gibran 'A Guide For Our Times': A peace-building exhibition that features the work by 38 acclaimed Middle Eastern contemporary artists inspired by the Lebanese born poet-artist Kahlil Gibran and the universal message of peace and harmony found in his poetry, art and writings. The show visually highlights how Gibran, a supreme East-West figure, can be an unparalleled guide for our times, related to peace, harmony and the building of bridges between the creeds and cultures of the Middle East and the West. It also reflects on the compelling universal spiritual contribution that Gibran has made and continues to make to the world, relating to themes that unite all peoples and all religions. Taking place 6-10 August, 2018 at Sotheby's, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA.

Remember Baghdad: 'Remember Baghdad is a film about the last Iraqi Jews in Baghdad, Iraq and five families who look back on a scarcely imaginable time there, when Iraq was booming, it was pleasure-seeking, and there was inter-communal trust. Whereas today, after decades of war and instability, Iraq is a very different place. In spite of the danger, North Londoner Edwin Shuker decided to return to the country he loved and wanting to buy a house in Iraq so that he can say "the Jews have not all gone” and to plant a seed of hope for the future. On the hundredth anniversary of the British invasion in 1917, the film offers an unmissable insight into how the country has developed from a completely new perspective – through the eyes of the Jews who lived there for 2,600 years until only a generation ago. The screening will be followed by a short talk with Shuker and Baroness Nicholson on 8 August, 2018 at Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA.


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.