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.

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.

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.


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.