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.

Arab Are Not Funny: Join some of comedy’s finest up-and-coming and established names at Arabs Are Not Funny, the best in stand-up comedy from the Arab world and surrounding regions. The confirmed comedians for this edition are: Omar Hamdi (an Egyptian-Welsh comic who has supported A-list comedians including Russell Kane, Ava Vidal and Milton Jones and is a regular sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe), Samar Selby (a mixed Middle Eastern-British born comedian who began her journey into stand-up comedy in 2010, storytelling about the journey of being a female Arab in the western world and challenging stereotypes), and stand-up comedian, writer and actor Bilal Zafar (he has been described as ‘fascinating and hilarious in equal measure’ by i-D’s Ian Jones and is also a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe). Taking place 4 May, 2018 at the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP.

Vibrations - Kuwait to Jamaica: A screening of Zahed Sultan’s documentary ‘Vibrations’ along with a panel talk and short performance. The film traces the steps of Zahed Sultan, Kuwaiti multimedia artist and social entrepreneur, whose grassroots approach to work in social causes and music are the inspiration for a recording project that takes him to uncharted territory - Jamaica. The film reveals Sultan's approach to re-imagining the folk music traditions of Kuwait and his journey to discover the roots of Jamaica's musical and societal heritage – with a cast of characters he meets along the way who help him realise the unlikely bridges that exist between two seemingly disparate cultures – ties that remind us of our shared struggles as people and our ability to empower ourselves in a rapidly changing world. After the screening Zahed will then host a panel talk in more detail about the film and the cultural themes and societal issues raised. Taking place 3 May, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

How the Nakba Reveals Itself Today: Artists are architects of change. This panel will explore the influence of the Nakba on displaced Palestinian artists and looking at how the Nakba reveals itself in their work, as well as looking at the narratives that have emerged throughout seventy years. Taking place as part of the The Festival of Muslim Cultures and Ideas(MFest), it will feature singer Reem Kelani, writer Selma Dabbagh, poet Mustafa Abu Sneineh and Dina Matar. Taking place 29 April, 2018 at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.

Lekhfa & Tamer Nafar (from DAM): A captivating double bill of some of the Middle East’s most trailblazing underground musicians. From dystopian poetry to bass-heavy hip-hop beats and stripped down Egyptian dance tracks, this showcase celebrates the contemporary musical projects making headlines and pushing the boundaries of the alternative Arabic music scene. Lekhfa, the brainchild of Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, three legendary musicians who came of age in 1990s Cairo. Decades later, each having paved their way through the alternative Arabic music scene, have united to create a stunning new album that gives birth to an off-kilter sound of beats, grit and resistance. They are joined by Tamer Nafar, founding member of the legendary Palestinian rap trio DAM Palestine, whose cunning solo show is a beat-defying homage to his thoughts, life and inspirations, and a cleverly defined extension of his hip-hop roots and Palestinian heritage. Taking place as part of a UK Tour, they are in London 27 April, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA. 

Omar El Nagdi Exhibition: Renowned artist and considered one of Egypt’s most celebrated painters, Omar El Nagdi has over time participated in many exhibitions and Biennales in Egypt, Europe, the US and Russia. He is also the recipient of many local and international art prizes, and obtained the French Parliament’s medal. His paintings have been acquired by museums and renowned institutions throughout the world. There is also a museum on his name in France. Known for his symbolist style and colours, his work is inspired by Egyptian life to which he adds a humanist and mystic perspective. Taking place 21-25 April, 2018 at Egyptian Cultural & Educational Bureau, 4 Chesterfield Gardens, Mayfair, London W1J 5BG.

The Artisans Of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar: An exhibition that celebrates the people, culture and activity that takes place in this historic district of Cairo, that is home to 1,000 artisan workshops and 25 historical Islamic monuments. Darb Al-Ahmar, a maze of narrow and windy alleyways, connects visitors with a past and a way of life that can be found in very few places left in the world today. A huge array of crafts are made there from brass lanterns, to tents, glassware, and furniture inlaid with mother of pearl using designs that are unique to Egypt, Cairo and the district. Capturing the life and diversity of the place, the exhibition features photographs, video interviews and some of the objects that are made in Darb Al-Ahmar. The show aims to dispel negative misperceptions of Cairo (and to an extent Egypt), raise interest in the district and encourage the audience to visit it and support the artisan community who live there. Taking place 23 March-24 April, 2018 at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR.​

Showtime From The Frontline (Theatre): A new play from award-winning comedian Mark Thomas, the production will be touring the UK before ending with a London run. Dodging cultural and literal bullets, Israeli incursions and religion, Thomas and his team had set out to run a comedy club and put on two nights in the Palestinian city of Jenin, but only to find that it is not so simple to celebrate freedom of speech in a place with so little freedom. The Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold for the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade during the Second Intifada, is not a place synonymous with laughs, yet it is home to the Jenin Freedom Theatre and people with a wealth of stories to tell. Thomas tells the story alongside Faisal Abualheja and Alaa Shehada, two performers, actors and now aspiring comics from the Jenin Club. Taking place 10 April–21 April, 2018 at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN.

Emel Mathlouthi Live In London: Emel Mathlouthi is called 'the Voice of the Tunisian Revolution' and her songs carry all the fire and charge that one would expect from such an accolade. For this special evening, she will be with her band to perform their incredibly unique blend of electronic and traditional Tunisian music. With influences ranging from F Buttons, James Blake to Joan Chandos Baez, Sheikh Imam and Marcel Khalife, Mathlouthi is a truly cutting edge global artist who has played at prestigious events, such as the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, and has been censored for the political content and steel of her music. Taking place 18 April, 2018 at Archspace London, Tripspace 339-340 Acton Mews, E8 4EA London​

Sticks And Stones (Comedy): Presented by Arts Canteen, a brand new comedy show about culture, conflict, and dreams that will be unlike any thing you’ve seen before! BAFTA-winning TV presenter and comedian Omar Hamdi returns to Rich Mix for an exclusive solo show. The Welsh-Egyptian satirist takes aim at prejudice, racism, Islamophobia, and social and political misdeeds wherever he finds them. Omar makes the personal political and the political personal, with a disarming every-man charm. Omar Hamdi has clearly found a popular niche in his natural fascination with the human mind and inspired hybrid of standup that promises to be both informative and entertaining. Taking place 13 April, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.​

Khaled Mattawa: Libyan poet Khaled Mattawa will present a special talk on 'Poems Moving Pictures<>Pictures Moving Poems​' as part of the 'Retracing A Disappearing Landscape' interdisciplinary exhibition. Promising to be a fascinating discussion, it will be in tandem with the overall context of the show: to explore people's direct experience of and fascination with personal memory as well as the collective narratives that arise in connection to modern day Libya. Mattawa is a renowned Libyan poet, highly acclaimed Arab-American writer and a leading literary translator. He is the author of four collections of poetry, is the co-editor of two Arab American literature anthologies and the translator of eleven volumes of modern Arabic poetry. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in major American literary reviews and anthologies and his is the recipient of many literary awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a USA Artists Award and a MacArthur fellowship. Taking place on 31 March, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.


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.