Curious Inbox

  • Tints of Resilience Exhibition - At P21 Gallery - London 17 August-6 September, 2018
  • SAFAR Film Festival - A Literary Journey Through Arab Cinema - London 13-18 September, 2018

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.

In Conversation With Libyan Writer Najwa Benshatwan: Ghazi Gheblawi will be in conversation with Libyan author Najwa Benshatwan to discuss the themes running through her highly acclaimed novel ‘The Slave Pens’. Shortlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, the book sheds light on an ugly period of Libya’s history – when slave trade markets flourished during the Ottoman era, way before the Italian colonisation and prior to Libya’s declared independence in 1951. In ‘The Slave Pens’ Benshatwan brings forth the narrative of the slaves in a sensitive romantic tale that touches upon the era and taboo subjects that have not been exposed before within Libyan culture. She bravely tackles the cruel trade of human beings, coming at a time when Libya has turned into a smuggler’s paradise again with African migrants being unfairly bartered. Taking place 10 March, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Habibi Funk + Flamingods (DJ Set): Jannis Stürtz heads record label 'Habibi Funk' which focuses on reissuing 60's-80's Arab funk and electronic records. His latest release is a bumper compilation titled ‘Habibi Funk 007: An Eclectic Selection of Music From the Arab World’. As seen on his recent Boiler Room set in Lebanon, he jumps between rare Arab 45’s, hip hop and disco during his DJ sets. Joining him are the rambunctious party starters Flamingods. Borne out of Bahrain and famed for their electric live shows, their music puts a focus on exploration and DJ experimentation, often taking influence from different cultures by use of an extensive collection of instruments from as far as Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and Tanzania. Taking place 9 March, 2018 at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PG.

Le Trio Joubran: The three Joubran brothers - Samir, Wissam and Adnan - who hail from a Palestinian family synonymous with the rich musical heritage of the Oud, will be performing a special one night only concert at the Cadogan Hall. Playing together with percussionist Youssef Hbeisch, they craft complex and remarkably varied compositions that pay tribute to the instrument’s history, whilst revitalising its contemporary musical landscape with hints of blues, flamenco, jazz and rock. Their passages develop into mesmerising improvisations and brooding Arabic melodies that build up into quick-fire arrangements. Taking place 9 March, 2018 at the Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ​.

{Un}told Stories From the Arab World: A scheduled series of films and discussions on current issues from the Middle East and North Africa region. Whilst the artists and video-makers come from different backgrounds and parts of the world - either local, Diaspora or Western - their documentaries, fictions and video installations all connect to the human condition in today’s complex geopolitical societies in Arab countries, where often there is no room for expression on issues that affect the rights of the people, and the answer is often a passive complicity within mass observers. More than ever, the storytelling sets every character as a passenger within crucial time and space. Whether from a war zone, a no man’s land or an abandoned building, each film sheds light on places and zones that witnessed or engendered a life-changing moment for the narrators and ultimately their protagonists too. Taking place 15 February-7 March, 2018 at the P21 Gallery, 21-27 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Bismillah! (An ISIS Tragicomedy): Wound Up’s second staging of Matthew Greenhough’s show which enjoyed a critically acclaimed premiere run at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It brings Dean, who joined the army, and Danny, who joined the Islamic State. Bismillah! is their time together in a basement in northern Iraq as hostage and guard. Exploring the strange new reality of youth in modern day Britain, this unique tragicomedy of our time examines social alienation, radicalisation, disenfranchisement and the rock band Queen. Three years after the show took Edinburgh by storm, the play has lost none of its importance. In fact in the Trump era, post truth world of travel bans and extremism, the show is now more relevant than ever​. Taking place 28 February-4 March, 2018 at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN.

8 Borders, 8 Days (Film): Directed by Amanda Bailly, this is the story of a single mother from Syria and her children. With no answer to her application for resettlement, and every other path to safety closed off, a smuggler’s raft to Europe was the only way out. This film reveals the intimate details of why a mother is willing to risk her children’s lives for a better future and an immersive experience of their eight-day journey to safety. A one-off screening, it will be followed by a panel discussion with the director and guests. Taking place on 1 March, 2018 at the Bertha Doc House, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW.

Arabs Are Not Funny (Comedy): Bringing some of comedy’s finest up and coming and established names from the Arab world and surrounding regions, this is a very popular night out with all acts in English. The line-up includes: MC Sarah Agha (half-Palestinian, half-Irish actress from London, she is a member of the comedy group SYC at the Soho Theatre and was semi-finalist in Dublin's 'Craic Attack'), Zahra Barri (with a unique Eastern and Kanye Western perspective on all of life’s big questions), Mohamed Omar (Somali-born, Cardiff-raised and London based comic who brings in his third culture kid way of thinking), Fatiha El-Ghorri (underneath her colourful hijab is a mind full of cutting observations and engaging witticism of the life and times of a British Muslim), and Marouen Mraihi (a versatile comedian and improviser from Tunisia, equally comfortable performing in English, French, Italian and Arabic). Taking place on 23 February, 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP. 

Sounds Of Resistance: As part of Israel Apartheid Week 2018, this evening is dedicated to the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people and their fight for justice, standing up to 100 years of settler colonialism and celebrating 100 years of resistance. Presented by 'War on Want' and 'Artists for Palestine UK', this will be a compelling showcase of leading musical wordsmiths, including: Benjamin Zephaniah (iconic dub poet, novelist and playwright), Tamer Nafar (founding member of the legendary Palestinian rap trio DAM, whose wit and dedication have helped pave an impressive way for homegrown Arabic hip-hop), Remi Kanazi (Palestinian-American poet, writer and organiser whose most recent collection of poetry is called 'Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up From Brooklyn to Palestine') and Rasha Hilwi aka DJ Hilwi (a Palestinian writer, cultural journalist, cultural manager and DJ). Taking place 23 February, 2018 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

Once Upon A Time - Kan Ya Makan Storytelling Workshop: A workshop exploring the magical medium of storytelling, one of the most popular art forms in the Arab world, through the embodiment of El Hakawati (The Storyteller). Started in rural areas when shepherds used to gather under a tree to share stories with villagers, this art form gradually moved to cafés and diwans to become a tool of resistance and social justice. Everyone knows a good story, modern or ancient, that is worth being shared and listened to. This introductory session will explore techniques of storytelling and offer a platform to share these stories and explore them artistically through drama, dance, music, visual theatre and play. It will be facilitated by Elias Matar, a Palestinian drama therapist, workshop facilitator, performer and founder of the El Bayet Centre for Performing Arts & Drama Therapy in London. Taking place on 21 February, 2018 at the Arab Briitsh Centre, 1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE.

Burkas And Bacon Butties: A heart-warming ‘East meets West’ comedy charting a father-daughter relationship over the course of a year. Ashraf is an Egyptian, a Muslim and a taxi driver and Shazia is his half-Egyptian, half-Wigan, twenty-something daughter. Through multiple journeys in Ashraf’s taxi we explore the nuances of a mixed-culture family in contemporary Britain – the secrets kept and the stories told, and ask whether, despite the differences, family can win out regardless of the bacon butties. Based on writer Shamia Chalabi’s real life experiences, Burkas and Bacon Butties depicts the clashes, compromises and ultimately the comedy that can result from being born into two different cultures. Taking place 14-18 February, 2018 at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. 


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.