April has arrived and Spring is in the air. For this month, I have some news and some favourite events that I recommend below. I do however advise that you refer to the whole listing of Arab-inspired arts and culture entires in London on My Curious Inbox page that is updated on a regular basis and goes well into future months.
Retracing A Disappearing Landscape (Exhibition & Parallel Programme)
To begin with, I highlight something that is very special to the Libyans in London and that I am super proud to be directly involved with as a media partner and overseeing the press side of things.
Curated by my sister Najlaa El-Ageli (Noon Arts Projects), 'Retracing A Disappearing Landscape' is an interdisciplinary exhibition that presents visual artworks, commissioned installations, films and photography to creatively explore people’s direct experience of and fascination with memory and personal history, as well as the collective narratives that arise in connection to modern day Libya. The first of its kind internationally, it also hosts a parallel programme of talks that adds more depth and insight into the themes that come up in the viewing of the artworks and interaction with the installations.
Altogether involving over 25 contemporary artists and professionals, both Libyan and non-Libyan, their backgrounds draw upon diverse disciplines that include: poetry, literature, history, research, photojournalism and documentary filmmaking. Already launched, we had a spectacular turn out and I believe that the parallel programme will garner just as much interest and attendance in the coming weeks. Taking place until 12 May at the P21 Gallery, do try and make this one!
The Mosaic Rooms Celebrating Ten Years!
It is worth mentioning that the Mosaic Rooms will be marking the 10th year anniversary and presenting an ambitious programme that will run from Spring 2018 to Autumn 2019. Overseen by Rachael Jarvis, director of the Mosaic Rooms, the season will be made up of six exhibitions split into two alternating strands: a series focussed on seminal Arab and Iranian modernist artists from Egypt, Iran and Morocco curated by Morad Montazami and a series of group shows presenting contemporary art from these three countries organised in partnership with regional institutions and curators.
The Mosaic Rooms have been a significant and integral MENA-related non-profit arts venue in London offering a great gallery space and bookshop dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary Arab culture through free contemporary art exhibitions, multidisciplinary events (including film screenings, current affairs talks, book launches and more), artist residencies and learning and engagement programme. I wish them happy celebrations!
Emel Mathlouthi Live In London (Music)
One of my favourite singers, Emel Mathlouthi has been called 'the Voice of the Tunisian Revolution' and her songs carry all the fire and charge that one would expect from such an accolade. She will be with her band to perform her incredibly unique blend of electronic and traditional Tunisian music. With influences ranging from F Buttons, James Blake to Joan Chandos Baez, Sheikh Imam and Marcel Khalife, Mathlouthi is a truly cutting edge global artist who has played at prestigious events, such as the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, and has been censored for the political content and steel of her music. Taking place 18 April, 2018 at Archspace London.
Showtime From The Frontline (Theatre)
A new play from award-winning comedian Mark Thomas. Dodging cultural and literal bullets, Israeli incursions and religion, Thomas and his team had set out to run a comedy club and put on two nights in the Palestinian city of Jenin, but only to find that it is not so simple to celebrate freedom of speech in a place with so little freedom. The Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold for the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade during the Second Intifada, is not a place synonymous with laughs, yet it is home to the Jenin Freedom Theatre and people with a wealth of stories to tell.This is taking place 10 April–21 April at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
The Artisans Of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar (Exhibition)
An exhibition that celebrates the people, culture and activity that takes place in a historic district of Cairo, that is home to 1,000 artisan workshops and 25 historical Islamic monuments. Darb Al-Ahmar, a maze of narrow and windy alleyways, connects visitors with a past and a way of life that can be found in very few places left in the world today. A huge array of crafts are made there from brass lanterns, to tents, glassware, and furniture inlaid with mother of pearl using designs that are unique to Egypt, Cairo and the district. Capturing the life and diversity of the place, the exhibition features photographs, video interviews and some of the objects that are made in Darb Al-Ahmar with the aim of encouraging the audience to visit this community. Taking place until 24 April at the Royal Geographical Society.
Curfew: Taking A Dance Step Into Resistance (Latest Article)
Here I refer you to my latest article re 'Curfew' if you haven't seen it already. Curfew is a brilliant production that shows how dance - inspired by the soul of Dabke - can be an empowering means of political resistance in Palestine. I was fortunate to have attended both performances at Rich Mix where I moderated the post-performance Q+A and received great insight from the dancers, those in London and those who came all the way from Ramallah in the West Bank.
You can read it here: http://www.nahlaink.com/features/curfew-taking-dance-step-resistance
My Curious Inbox & Twitter
There is, of course, always more MENA-connected events happening in London and you can find these on My Curious Inbox page.
Do make sure to scroll down so as not to miss out on anything!: http://www.nahlaink.com/curious-inbox
Also, if you want to be in the super-know, you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NahlaInk
Best wishes to all!
Freelance Journalist + Blogger
London, April 2018