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.

24 Hours on Hamra Street: A new video installation by artist Lina Khatib in collaboration with the Damascus-based heavy metal band Maylasoon. The exhibition is a comment on the prevailing sense of routinisation through which conflicts, especially in the Middle East, are perceived. Over twenty four continuous hours starting at 5am, the artist sat on the pavement of Beirut’s busiest street discreetly shooting, every hour, a few minutes of daily life. The restricted view of the quotidian pace of Hamra Street, recorded through a phone camera placed at ground level and exhibited in this installation, draws the audience’s gaze to a view of the world as seen by the numerous, mostly Syrian, refugees, children, beggars, and homeless people who, since 2011, have been driven by conflict to literally live on the street, but whose presence has become so familiar on the streets of Beirut that they have been rendered invisible. Accompained by a short documentary by Maysaloon that chronicles their struggles in terms of the Syrian war, the exhibition dates are 28 September-5 October, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Yazz Ahmed Presents An Evening of ‘Psychedelic Arabic Jazz’: Internationally acclaimed trumpeter and composer Yazz Ahmed brings her seven-piece hafla band to Queen Elizabeth Hall's Purcell Room for an evening of ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz'. Fusing the music of her native Bahrain with modern British jazz, experimental electronics and manipulated field recordings, her 2017 album 'La Saboteuse' was considered a touchstone of modern jazz and improvisation. This concert, marking the release of her EP 'La Saboteuse Remixed', will also include music from Ahmed's suite 'Alhaan Al Siduri', inspired by Bahraini folk music and featuring special guest vocalist Brigitte Beraha. Whilst visual artist Tupac Martir, a co-collaborator with art-rock band 'These New Puritans', supplies lighting and special effects. Taking place 1 October, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.

Neither Here, Nor There Exhibition: Featuring works by international and British BME women artists, the exhibition creates a space to explore dual heritage and feelings of displacement. The group exhibition brings together eighteen artists from diverse backgrounds to also look into issues around women's rights and social justice; as well as the artists' responses and interpretations of the theme ‘Neither Here, Nor There’. Taking part are a mix of established and emerging artists, including: photographer Maha Alasaker (renowned for her project 'Women of Kuwait' and #ResistanceIsFemale), Aleesha Nandhra (illustrator, printmaker and member of PrintClub London), Areeba Siddique (Pakistani activist, Social Media Influencer and Blogger), Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al Lail (co-founder of Muslim women’s group 'Variant Space'), Faiza Hussain, Erin Aniker and Jess Nash (co-founders of 'We Are Here'), amongst others. Taking place 26 July-30 September, 2018 at The Foundary, Oval Way, London SE11 5RR.

47Soul + Kefaya: 47Soul, the four member group that came together in Jordan in 2013, specialise in a cheerfully widescreen fusion of electronic hip-hop and traditional dabke dance music, mixed in with a dash of reggae, sturdy melodies and chanting vocals alternating between English and Arabic words. The genre is becoming a symbol of Arab youth culture, offering a necessary refreshing change to the common representation. After releasing their debut EP, they started touring the world - to spread a universal message that amphasizes unity by accepting diversity - and have fired up crowds at Glastonbury, Womad and back in their home. They will be joined by Kefaya, the international music collective formed and led by London-based musicians and producers Giuliano Modarelli and Al MacSween, who will deliver their unique blend of global folk rhythms and cutting-edge, 21st century sound. Taking place 29 September, 2018 at Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD.

Ahmed Mukhtar & Veles Ensemble: Ahmed Mukhtar, the Iraqi musician, composer and founding director of the Taqasim Music School, will be performing as part of the London Strings Festival with the Veles Ensemble. The Veles Ensemble will open the evening of contrast with a true classic, Beethoven's String Trio Op. 9 No.1 in G-major, that is often considered to be one of Beethoven's most important early works. It will be followed by Zoltan Kodály's Intermezzo, a wonderfully fresh and light scherzo, written by the then 23 year young composer while finishing a dissertation on the Hungarian folk song at the Budapest academy. After these, Mukhtar will present Iraqi music with Oud solos and joined by the Veles Ensemble to finish with arrangements of his own compositions. Taking place 26 September, 2018 at Saint Margaret Pattens Church, Eastcheap, London EC3M 1HS.

Uncensored - Banned Books Week Quiz: Kicking off Banned Books Week, this event will feature an uncensored quiz led by the brilliant Bidisha S K Mamata and hosted by Saqi publishers. Guests are invited to bring along a pen and their bookish friends and be prepared to be shocked by the real and dangerous – and often ludicrous – state of book censorship, past and present, around the world. There will be prizes and approximately ten rounds of questions, with audience engagement actively encouraged and wherein heckles are only accepted in the form of haiku! Bidisha is a writer, journalist and broadcaster specialising in social justice, international affairs, gender and the arts, as well as being a Trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation. Saqi is a 35-year-old London-based Middle East specialist and independent publishing house that is no stranger to the banning of its books all over the Middle East or facing threats over its published material. Taking place 23 September, 2018 at the Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH.

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.


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.