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.

Yto Barrada - Agadir: A major London commission, Moroccan artist Yto Barrada weaves together personal narratives and political ideals to create a complex portrait of a city and its people in a state of transition. The sweeping form of the Curve at the Barbican will be transformed with a dramatic installation – encompassing a mural, film commission, sculptures, and a series of live and recorded performances – ​to consider how a city and its people might address the process of reinvention following disaster. Barrada takes as her starting point a surreal text by Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine - Agadir (1967) - reflecting on the devastating earthquake of 1960 that destroyed much of the modernist Moroccan city.​ Over the past two decades, the artist's multimedia practice has explored questions ranging from migration to abstraction, from fossils to botany, examining the strategies of resistance employed every day in her native Morocco. Taking place 7 February-20 May, 2018 at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS​​.

In Conversation with Nawal El Saadawi: A chance to attend Nawal El Saadawi, one of the greatest writers to come out of the Arab world, as she discusses her life and writing. Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, El Saadawi has shown an incredible ability to create new worlds in the fight against oppression. In the face of censorship, imprisonment and exile, she has refused to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class. El Saadawi’s remarkable life story starts with the childhood that produced the freedom fighter: from the trauma of female genital mutilation at seven years old to eluding the grasp of suitors at the age of ten. Later, as a young adult qualifying as doctor, she moulded her own creative power into a weapon. A rural doctor and an activist for female empowerment, El Saadawi challenged the authorities that tried to obstruct her and was imprisoned and later exiled. She is also a prolific writer of novels, memoirs, plays, non-fiction work, and short stories. Taking place 19 May, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX​.

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Award-winning Canadian writer Marcello Di Cintio will be in conversation with British-Palestinian novelist Selma Dabbagh as part of a UK tour celebrating his book 'Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense'. Based on his time as writer-in-residence with the Palestine Writing Workshop, it is about the stories he encountered. Stories of how, for example, revolutionary writing was smuggled from the Naqab Prison; or stories from the Gallery Café, whose opening three thousand creatives and intellectuals gathered to celebrate; and, the lost generations of stories contained within the books that are held in Israel’s National Library. Inspired by these and subsequent investigations, his book celebrates Palestine through the lens of literature. Taking place 15 May, 2018 at Kensington Central Library, 12 Phillimore Walk, London W8 7RX.

Yaz Fentazi & Robyn Hemmings: Yaz Fentazi and Robyn Hemmings perform and give the audience a magical sense of ‘travelling’ in their minds with their very colourful and rich music that draws on the vast traditions of jazz, blues, classical and North African-Middle Eastern music. Built around their original compositions, the duo’s irresistible grooves and vibrant full sound create a sizzling party atmosphere. They have appeared many times on BBC radio and TV, have performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Womad and the Ealing jazz festival as well as internationally. Taking place on 15 May, 2018 at Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton Oval, London SW2 1JG. Free entry.

Palestine On The Thames (Nakba In My Present): Marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba by exploring its meaning and celebrating Palestine, this two day event will feature a number of presentations by speakers who will share their views, feelings and experiences about what Nakba means to them. It will also host a vibrant programme including: an art exhibition by Nabil Anani, embroidery workshops by Auntie Suzy, dabke workshops by Hawiyaa Dance Company, stalls and pop-up shops with a raffle, food and good discussion. Taking place 12-13 May, 2018 at Uthink P.D.P., Riverside Building, Winslow Road, London, W6 9WA. 

Untold Stories: Untold Stories is the culmination of London-based Egyptian artist Nevine Fathy's practice over the past two years. Her work, which is primarily figurative with a visual focus on the relationship between figure and space, presents psychological narratives that provoke re-examination of reality and perception while exploring the universality of human experience, body language and nonverbal communication. The exhibition features figurative and abstract oil paintings exploring different paint applications where the materiality of the paint tells a subtle story on its own. Taking place 9-12 May, 2018 at the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau, 4 Chesterfield Gardens, London W1J 5BG.

Retracing A Disappearing Landscape: Curated by Najlaa El-Ageli (Noon Arts Projects) and the first of its kind internationally, this six-week interdisciplinary art exhibition will be exploring people’s direct experience of and fascination with memory and personal history as well as the collective narratives that arise in connection with modern day Libya. Involving the participation of over 25 contemporary artists and professionals, it will feature visual artworks, especially commissioned installations, film, photography (archival and recent) and seven parallel presentations that will offer more depth and insight into the exhibition themes and shared stories. With the mixed input of both the artists and professionals - whose diverse backgrounds draw upon the arts, poetry, literature, history, research, photojournalism and documentary filmmaking - this will be an eye-opener for special guests and the British public. Taking place 30 March-12 May, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Hamza Namira: Hailed as the 'new Sayed Darwish', Hamza Namira is one of the most celebrated faces of modern Arabic music. A songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist from Egypt, Hamza has become a luminous expression of his homeland’s resilience and ambition. Emerging as a major public figure, most notably since the Egyptian revolution of 2011, he uses his work to explore and engage with the prominent social issues of today. Well aware of a range of dilemmas his generation is facing, he addresses them in an emotive and inclusive manner, weaving through Egyptian traditional and folk music, pop, rock and jazz along the way. He will be debuting his new album 'Hateer Min Tany' (translates as 'Rising Again') with his Cairo-based ensemble on 12 May, 2018 at the Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ.

Guy Manoukian & Guest Stars: In aid of the British Lebanese Association Scholarship Fund, the internationally renowned Lebanese musician, composer and pianist, Guy Manoukian returns to London for a sensational concert featuring his sublime music and hit songs from his best-selling albums. Manoukian has been on the international stage for the last 15 years and a winner of Best Dance Album both at the Arabian Music Awards in Dubai and the Armenian Music Awards in Los Angeles. He has he worked with big names in the US attracted by his unique fusion of oriental melodies with modern arrangements and has performed at sell out concerts in Singapore, Cairo, Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles and the Sydney Opera House and many more. Featuring guest stars Abu, Lena Chamamyan and Gipsy King family members Mario Reyes and Paul Santiago, this promises to be a very special evening​. Taking place 8 May, 2018 at the London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London W1F 7TE​.

Oxford Maqam: Hailed as 'revolutionary' and 'powerfully atmospheric' by Songlines magazine, Oxford Maqam's stunning renditions pay an influential homage to Egypt’s early musical theatre and the creative and stylistic developments of the ‘Nahda’ Era, the Renaissance of the Arab world. In this concert, the UK’s premier Arabic ensemble returns to London's Brunei Gallery in what is their tenth year of performing as a 'takht', a Middle Eastern ensemble of instruments. They will be presenting some old favourites as well as brand new pieces, including rarely heard nationalist and love songs from the repertoire of Egypt's early recording era diva, Munira Al-Mahdiyya. Following the success of their debut album 'The Wax Cylinder Recordings', the band is currently working on their second album for release next year, a project that is based on one of the earliest sources of written transcriptions of a modern Egyptian song – a source that was largely neglected in the Arab world until Zoheir El Shayeb's recent translation. Taking place 5 May, 2018 at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG.

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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.