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.

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.

At Home in Gaza and London: Following the lives of people living in two locations separated by great political, economic and physical divides. Using a mix of live-streaming and recorded video, a shared performance space is created where artists work together. They occupy each other’s homes, streets and other social spaces. Sharing their everyday behaviour and concerns, as they dissolve into each other or become ghostly protagonists in the drama. By using global communication, some of the more hidden realities of home life in Gaza and London are elucidated. Taking place 28 June-1 July, 2018 at Station House Opera, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN.

Lowkey + Guests: Lowkey headlines Refugee Week 2018 in a concert to mark 20 years of the festival. A leading light of the UK hiphop scene and a strong campaigning voice for the rights of refugees, British-Iraqi Lowkey is the ideal artist to be taking the lead at such an important time in the festival’s history. As one of the UK's most potent and electrifying rappers, Lowkey is a towering figure of the British hiphop scene who renews the tradition of conscious activism for a generation brought up with the' War on Terrorism'. Fusing politically charged lyrics and agile dissection of topics such as race, war, global poverty and internationalist politics with anthemic choruses and an unrelentingly energetic performance, Lowkey commands a keen and growing legion of followers, still treading new ground and generating fresh enthusiasm 14 years after releasing his first mixtape. Taking place 24 June, 2018 at KOKO, 1A Camden High Street, London NW1 7JE.

Human Bridges: Celebrating Refugee Week, Dima Karout Art Studio will present: 1. An art exhibition telling the story of ten Syrian artists who originally connected at the Fine Arts University of Damascus in the year 2000 but whom today have all lost their home, but wherein the thin line of friendship built through art survived and virtually crossing continents. Based on gifts offered to Dima Karout over the years, the objects travelled with her from Damascus to Paris to Sacramento to Montreal and now they landed in London. Like the humans they represent, the objects carry a strong metaphor for connection and represent a piece of home, telling the personal stories on sides of a bridge. 2. Nasher, an installation of suspended canvas with handwritten true stories told by Syrians to describe crucial moments that marked their life during the conflict. 3. Fingerprints, a printing workshop where participants can discover already carved wooden pieces inspired of Old Damascus walls and patterns, use these motifs to print and create postcards they can offer to a friend or a stranger to build a bridge with another human. Free to attend, taking place on 23 June, 2018 at  Manor House, 34 Old Road, London SE13 5SY.

ARABÉCÉDAIRE: A solo exhibition dedicated to the influential Egyptian modernist painter Hamed Abdalla (1917-1985), that will explore his extensive archives and library, looking at him both as an artist and as a researcher. Curated by Morad Montazami, this will be the first exhibition in the UK of this significant Egyptian artist. The title of the exhibition is rooted in the French word ‘Abécédaire’ meaning a visual alphabet primer. Abdalla’s work centred on his development of what he called the ‘creative word’, written words expressed in paint, blending abstraction and human forms. This exhibition will focus on six resonant words to examine the development of Abdalla’s visual language and political ideas through previously unseen material and archives. Taking place 13 April-23 June, 2018 at the Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW​.

Fragments Of A Journey: An informal showing of two pieces of work in progress, both performed by refugees, on the theme of displacement. The first part 'Safar is the result of a dance project led by Hawiyya Dance Co, that will present a group of women, accompanied by musicians on stage, who will perform a dabke dance as a celebration of the resilience and resistance of refugee women. Their performance explores movement as a tool of expression for both individual and cultural identity, while reflecting on the concepts of journey and womanhood. The second part 'Fragments' has been devised through workshops run by Single Homeless Project in collaboration with theatre-maker Mo’min Swaitat, It draws on music and movement rooted in participants’ home cultures, as well as impressions of London and the chaotic beginnings of resettlement. The show focuses on the journey from dystopia to the unknown, depicting the shattering and reintegration of cultures, memories, time and space, as experienced through the body in motion. Taking place 20 June, 2018 at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse​, Shakespeare Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT​.

Towards A New Divan: Tafahum Ensemble and Gingo Library come together in a celebration of two centuries of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 'West-Eastern Divan', the collection of lyrical poems inspired by the fifteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz. Featuring the world premiere of a new musical composition by Tafahum, this special night will be introducing Gingko’s momentous project 'A New Divan', the culmination of which will be a festival of music and poetry hosted in the UK by the Hay and Shubbak festivals in summer 2019 and in Germany by the Berlin-based Barenboim-Said Akademie in the autumn. 'A New Divan' will eventually be bringing together twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the ‘East’ and twelve from the ‘West’ - who will engage in a lyrical conversation inspired by the culture of 'the Other​' and seeking to continue the dialogue which Goethe started with Hafiz. Taking place 20 June, 2018 at Wilton's Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, London E1 8JB​.

Performance Desperately In Need Of An Audience: To be performed by the Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation, this is a tale of exile into the world where thousands chose to bear the burden of migration, leaving behind their homes and loved ones, in the hopes of finding themselves human again beyond the seas. A silent performance, it bends the rules of puppet theatre, as stage props and settings becomes puppets as well. From the farm animals cowering in the villages, to the raining missiles and overhead airplanes, to the little suitcase that’s all packed up but refuses to leave. Employing humour, lightness, magic, playfulness and satire, the horrors of exile are rendered more accessible and touching. Taking place 17 June, 2018 at the Courtyard Theatre, 40 Pitfield St, London N1 6.

The Pop Art Exodus: A new contemporary art exhibition bringing a collection of politically themed digital prints produced by the Lebanese visual artist Mohammad Z Bassyouni. The exhibition has been put together as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day and dedicated to the Palestinians who were kicked out from their own homeland. Introducing the subject of the Nakba in a playful way, the artist chose to draw inspiration for his work from the popular and commercial culture, utilising the phenomenon of Pop Art that emerged in mid 1950s as a response to rapidly growing consumerism. The story of the Nakba is therefore not only narrated in the much more tolerating manner but also in the style in which this issue has not yet been explored before. Taking place 1-16 June, 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.