August - Summer Is Still Hot In The City!

August continues with the great sunny weather in London and it is the perfect excuse to go out and see what is on offer, in terms of cultural and artistic activity, and perhaps combine it with a dinner or drinks alfresco. There are plenty of MENA-inspired events coming up and looking as far ahead as November.

Below are just some of the highlights for this month, with a focus on the exhibitions taking place.

Kahlil Gibran 'A Guide For Our Times' - Sotheby's - 6-10 August, 2018

A peace-building exhibition that features the work by 38 acclaimed Middle Eastern contemporary artists inspired by the Lebanese born poet-artist Kahlil Gibran and the universal message of peace and harmony found in his poetry, art and writings. The show visually highlights how Gibran, a supreme East-West figure, can be an unparalleled guide for our times, related to peace, harmony and the building of bridges between the creeds and cultures of the Middle East and the West. It also reflects on the compelling universal spiritual contribution that Gibran has made and continues to make to the world, relating to themes that unite all peoples and all religions.

For more:

Emma Brown 'Sahrawi Women And Their Sahara' - Poplar Union - 1 August- 2 September, 2018

Made over seven years of documenting the work of London based Olive Branch Arts in the Sahrawi Refugee Camps in South West Algeria, this series of photographs explores Emma Brown's personal connections with the women, young and old who are the backbone of their community, and the harsh desert that they are compelled to live in. Despite extreme hardships, the Sahrawi community has managed to build a democratically run nation-in-exile on the refugee camps where women play a prominent role, defying Western preconceptions of Arab-Muslim societies.

Brown is an award-winning portrait and humanitarian photographer, whose visual storytelling takes a meditative approach that enables her to go almost unnoticed, allowing her to create lyrical, humanistic images.

For more:

Tints of Resilience - P21 Gallery - 17 August-6 September, 2018

I want to draw your attention to this particular exhibition not just for viewing once it is launched at the P21 Gallery, but also to support the the fundraising campaign to help pay for this worthy project. A collective show, 'Tints of Resilience' will be bringing together the works of eleven international artists, who are all  connected to the Middle East, in a rich tapestry of visual artworks, photography, poetry and film. 

Aiming to explore the potential of art in developing resilience in zones of conflict, the artists share their experiences in using art to cope with war, asylum, injury and search for identity, presenting both individual explorations and artistic collaborations with refugee children, social workers and art therapists. Tracing the intimate process of coping with family death, forced migration, identity crisis, cultural loss, and difficulties in integration, the exhibition offers a sharing space with a variety of artistic media, where the process stands alongside the end product including documentaries, paintings, illustrations and photography.

To support the campaign: 

For more: 

'What do you mean, here we are?' - Mosaic Rooms - 6 July-15 September, 2018

A retrospective of the renowned Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 1998, Townhouse emerged onto a scene dominated by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and its private affiliates. As one of the first independent art spaces in Cairo, Townhouse has borne witness to an unusual and intriguing trajectory.

Through a series of visual, video material and sound art as well as pamphlets, catalogues and ephemera, this exhibition tells the story of Townhouse’s evolution from a modest start in the backstreets of downtown Cairo to its emergence at the centre of the regional contemporary art scene, and further across more recent periods of turmoil and re-configuration. It will also raise larger questions about cultural production and artistic practice in capricious socio-political climates and the challenges faced by independent institutions operating under censorship. 

For more:

Neither Here, Nor There - The Foundary - 26 July-30 September, 2018

Featuring works by international and British BME women artists, the exhibition creates a space to explore dual heritage and feelings of displacement. It brings together eighteen artists from diverse backgrounds to also look into issues around women's rights and social justice; as well as the artists' responses and interpretations of the theme ‘Neither Here, Nor There’. 

Taking part are a mix of established and emerging artists, including: photographer Maha Alasaker (renowned for her project 'Women of Kuwait' and #ResistanceIsFemale), Aleesha Nandhra (illustrator, printmaker and member of PrintClub London), Areeba Siddique (Pakistani activist, Social Media Influencer and Blogger), Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al Lail (co-founder of Muslim women’s group 'Variant Space'), Faiza Hussain, Erin Aniker and Jess Nash (co-founders of 'We Are Here'), amongst others. 

For more:

My Curious Inbox - Full Listing of MENA-Inspired Events in London

As you know the drill by now, there is a lot more going on, with music, dance, performance, comedy, films and other artistic and cultural entries. Updated weekly, you can find the full listing in one place on My Curious Inbox page. Do make sure to scroll down to see the twenty-plus events so as not to miss out on anything. 

For all entries:

Twitter @NahlaInk

Lastly, if you wish to be in the super know of the latest of Arab-London creative news, you can also follow me on Twitter @NahlaInk. 

Best wishes to all!
Nahla Al-Ageli
Freelance Journalist + Blogger

London, August 2018

Image: Ghassan Ismail - The Lost & The Unlost - Tints of Resilience Exhibition - P21 Gallery - 17 August-6 September, 2018