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.

Flamenco Arabe: One of a series of concerts produced by Arts Canteen that aims to highlight the connection and build on it with original compositions and renditions of melodies from Andalucia and the Arab world that shows the common thread that runs through these traditions. While flamenco music was born, and still lives, among the scenic green hills of Andalusia in southern Spain, some performers have moved beyond both the geographical and the stylistic boundaries of traditional flamenco to incorporate a variety of new styles into their work. Others still have turned inward, searching for the obscure origins of flamenco, and have found the pervasive Arab influences - touching everything from the style of performance to the very rhythms and scales of the songs themselves. With his top-flight ensemble, Attab Haddad Quintet thus blends the Andalusian, Mediterranean and Arabic sounds with contemporary jazz approaches to create story-like compositions with the breadth of the Sahara and the intricacy of the Alhambra Palace. Taking place 8 June, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

Maya Youssef at Songlines Encounters: Born in Damascus, Maya Youssef is a virtuoso on the qanun, the magnificent Arabic zither that is at the heart of Arabic classical music. Now based in the UK, thanks to an Arts Council Exceptional Talent Scheme, she released her highly-praised debut album Syrian Dreams in November. Accompanied by percussion and cello, she performs music lamenting the war in her homeland and celebrating its rich cultural and architectural heritage. This concert is part of the Songlines Encounters Festival, an annual celebration bringing high-quality artists from around the world championed by Songlines magazine to play music at Kings Place. Taking place 2 June, 2018 at King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

Syria's Conflict Behind The Lens: Rick Findler is an award-winning photojournalist who has covered some of the most dangerous and violent conflicts on the planet. He has documented the Libyan civil war, al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia and the rise and fall of ISIS across Syria and northern Iraq. But out of all of the countries he has been to, none are more prevalent in today's news than Syria - a country that he has revisited on a number of occasions since a first project in 2012. In this heart-pounding talk, Finlder will take the audience right to the front lines, sharing how he was smuggled across the closed borders of Syria in the dead of night and near misses from a Syrian regime sniper, reflecting on what it is really like to work in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Hosted by Funzing Talks, taking place on 24 May, 2018 at Beach Blanket Babylon Shoreditch, 19-23 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA. 

@70 Celebration of Contemporary Palestinian Culture: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba or 'catastrophe'. @70 is a week-long festival of theatre, dance, films and talks commemorating the Palestinian experience of dispossession and loss of a homeland. Three artists from Gaza – writer and director Ahmed Masoud, writer and director Ahmed Najar and Khaled Ziada, founder and director of Arabic culture promoters MARSM - have worked closely with Amnesty International UK, the Hoping Foundation, Amos Trust, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Al  Zaytouna Dance Theatre to bring together this creative response to decades of injustice.

The programme includes: 'The Shroud Maker' (a one-woman comedy by Ahmed Masoud), 'Project 51' by Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre with Hava Dance Group (a dance performance written and directed by Ahmed Najar), Sanaa Moussa (Palestinian singer), the 'Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return by Palestine Solidarity Campaign' (a conference including sessions on international law, the historical background of the displacement, experiences of refugees and the various discourses encompassing the right of return), 'Portraits of Palestine' (a case study from the British Colonial Archive) and the screening of 'Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image' (a film by Azza El-Hassan). Taking place 14-20 May, 2018 at RADA Studios, 16 Chenies St, Fitzrovia, London WC1E 7EX.

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.


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.