It is officially Spring! Although the weather hasn't been so great, I am still optimistic for a bit more sunshine in the coming weeks. But whatever the heavens choose to send us, Arab-London is going to be a very busy month and I have selected a few highlights from the upcoming events, although there is always more that you can find on Nahla Ink.
The Music - 'Arab Idol' Mohammed Assaf
Palestinian heartthrob Mohammed Assaf will be performing on 10 April at the Barbican, offering a rare opportunity to hear him sing new material from his latest album alongside familiar favourites from his time on 'Arab Idol', the TV Talent show that catapulted him to fame. I also recently attended the film 'The Idol' which is based on the true story of this handsome young man and seen the difficult challenges that he had to overcome to get to where he is today. Assaf is truly an inspiration.
The Exhibitions - At the P21 Gallery and the Mosaic Rooms
This month also sees the opportunity to attend several thought-provoking exhibitions.
My top two are 'Sea Change, Chapter One, Character One, In the Rough' at the Mosaic Rooms and 'The Eggsperiment - A Painting for Syria' at the P21 Gallery.
The former is about a visual novel by Hajra Waheed that is dedicated to reclaiming a sense of the intimate, the personal and the poetic from the consequences of regional development, political upheaval and civil conflict. Through the narratives of nine characters who disappear over nine chapters, this multimedia work engages the viewer in an active sense of looking for the individual story amidst the mass and in turn reflecting the reductive value of the media's portrayal of contemporary crisis, particularly in terms of migration.
Whilst the latter is of an experimental first painting by the artist Genevieve Detering. With a simple and bold style, she uses primary colours, geometric shapes and clean lines to contrast with the unique oval shape of the canvas to create a modern, graphic image of a fertilised egg. The painting communicates hope and a chance of life, but also the fragility of both when under threat. The egg brought to life through the simple geometric shapes allows for a universal message transcending language, age, culture and education. The Eggsperiment painting will be up for bidding during the exhibition with 70% of the proceeds going towards a charity of the artist's choice in aid of the Syrian crisis.
Palestine-Inspired Theatre - Scenes from 68 Years
Arab-inspired theatre is always a welcome rarity in London. Palestinian-Irish playwright Hannah Khalil draws upon stories from family and friends' lives to paint an alternative picture of Palestine - one rarely glimpsed in mainstream media and told with typical Palestinian black humour. With a cast of six actors in the UK and one in Palestine via Skype, they will take the audience on a whistle-stop tour through space and time, from 1948 to the present day. Khalil brings the real human stories of the dreams, the comedy, the sadness and the frustrations of daily life in Palestine in the shadow of the separation wall. Taking place 6-30 April, 2016 at the Arcola Theatre.
The Full Listings - My Curious Inbox
Of course, there is plenty more activity happening with other exhibitions to view, music to attend, lectures, as well as comedy. For the full Arab-London listings that are updated on a weekly basis, I guide you to My Curious Inbox.
My Curious Inbox: http://www.nahlaink.com/curious-inbox
Best wishes to all!
London, April 2016