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.

Broken Wings (Musical): An autobiographical account of Kahlil Gibran's first love, 'Broken Wings' is a musical adaptation of the poet’s 1912 masterpiece. Set in New York City in 1923, an ageing Gibran narrates from his cold studio; and, through poetry and music, transports one back two decades and across continents, to turn-of-the-century Beirut and his 18-year-old self. Reflecting on his deep feelings for Selma Karamy - the daughter of family friend and respected local businessman who was betrothed to someone else - and how both had to fight to reconcile their love for one another, whilst navigating the rules, traditions and expectations that their society lays before them. A moving production, this explores what inspired the author to write and what moved him to such profound philosophy in his later life, bringing up themes that remain relevant today: the fight for gender equality, the freedom to love who we love, tradition versus modernity, wealth versus happiness, immigration and the importance of ‘home’. Written by Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan and directed by Bronagh Lagan, it will be taking place 1-4 August, 2018 at Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street London SW1Y 4HT​.

Rachid Koraïchi: A solo exhibition for the Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi, whose impressive oeuvre includes silk hangings, ceramics, sculptures, as well as works on canvas and paper. Incorporating calligraphy as a graphic element in his work, Koraïchi sees art as an ancient path into the unknown, wherein the signs and symbols from civilisation’s oldest languages are abstracted and deconstructed to create a new visual vocabulary. In this newly presented series entitled 'Les osties bleues' - a reference to Sacramental bread - he explores human connections to the earth as a source of life. Set on blue and white canvases and wall mounted square ceramics, the artist continues to use a limited palette emphasizing the graphic power of his inscriptions. Taking place 21 June-28 July, 2018 at the October Gallery, ​24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL​.

Banipal Book Club - Midaq Alley: The Banipal Club will be discussing the book 'Midaq Alley' by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz. As the Banipal 62 issue will have the theme of literature and film, the Club will also consider the film adaptations of the novel. Published in Arabic in 1947, it was translated into English by Trevor Le Gassick in 1966. In preparation, attendees can access the 1963 Arabic film 'Zuqaq al-Midaq' ( or on YouTube, or clips of the 1995 Mexican adaptation El Callejón de los Milagros (‘Alley of Miracles’, the Spanish name for the novel), which stars Salma Hayek and transfers the story from Cairo to Mexico City ( The Club meetings are free but please RSVP, either by email at or via the Facebook page. Taking place 25 July, 2018 at the Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE.

The Past Is Present Becoming Egyptian In The 20th Century: A display featuring a broad selection of objects from 20th-century Egypt that together explore the ways in which ancient Egypt has provided inspiration for modern Egypt to brand itself through everyday goods. Focusing on the emblem of Banque Misr (Bank of Egypt) that was established in 1920 as the first bank owned and managed by Egyptians, its emblem includes a depiction of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, and lotus flowers, symbols of rebirth. Other objects further illustrate the connection between national economy, ancient imagery and the construction of modern identity, including: a milk bottle with the same logo as the bank, magazines, cigarette packages, a banknote, and a vinyl record. These newly acquired objects show the complex ways that ancient heritage was reclaimed and integrated into the everyday life of a society that was both modernising and confronting immense political change. Taking place 24 May-22 July, 2018 at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

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.


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.