We are officially in the grips of a cultural and artistic high season in London, with so much on offer that one will inevitably be missing out on some of the goodies, as one needs must carefully pick and choose what they can manage and squeeze in with a look to their work, family and social schedules.
Below are just some highlights to give you a taste of the fantastic variety of what is available.
The BFI London Film Festival 2017
One of the big events this month is the annual launch of the fantastic BFI London Film Festival. In its 61st edition, this year brings a diverse selection of 242 feature films and 128 shorts from both established and emerging talent from across the globe. Over twelve days running from 4-15 October, London will host a celebration of cinematic output that illustrates the richness of international filmmaking and bringing together a stellar line up of cast and crew for many of the productions screened.
To help you navigate the BFI festival online programme for the films that are inspired or in some important way connected to the MENA region, I have listed them for you in an article so you can find the ten feature films coming up. I do highly recommend immediate booking before tickets for them sell out.
The 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Another significant launch will be that of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. Dedicated to contemporary African art from across the continent, it strives to promote the diverse set of African perspectives from around the world. Featuring top international galleries that specialise in African art and showcasing the work of more than 130 emerging and established African and African diaspora artists, it takes place at Somerset House from 5-8 October. With a number of collateral exhibitions, one big solo show will be for the British-Moroccan Hassan Hajjaj.
For more information: http://1-54.com/london/
Pop Art from North Africa Exhibition
Having opened two weeks ago, this is an unmissable show that puts together the artworks of fifteen creative individuals from North Africa who are all inspired by the Pop Art movement. In the style of one of the 20th century’s most influential movements that was spearheaded by Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton in 1950s Britain, the works on display tackle the social, political and cultural environments unique to North Africa.
Through the paintings, digitally manipulated images, animation, music and street art, the exhibition takes the audience on a voyage through urban landscapes, exploring the human condition and indicating the tortuous clash between tradition and modernity, in homage to the pioneers of the Western pop art, such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
With a parallel programme of events still ongoing from 22 September-4 November, you can find out more information: http://p21.gallery/exhibitions/exhibition-pop-art-from-north-africa
Memories of Cities Exhibition
Another exhibition that looks promising is the 'Memories of Cities' that will bring five internationally renowned Syrian artists from across the generations to explore the dualities of urban living through depictions of cities and localities that have inspired them. Although their works are enormously varied in technique and sensibilities, the artists are united by origin and circumstance, whether they are still living in war-torn Syria or abroad.
As a project, it aims to gather individual memories and combine them into a collective memory that activates the dynamics between past and present. Curated by Gallery Hiba and taking place 10-21 October at the Willesden Gallery.
For more information: https://www.galleryhiba.com/new-exhibition
My Curious Inbox
Other than these four MENA-related entries, there is of course as always plenty more going on for the Arab-Londoner and for those who seek an insight into our culture from the artistic perspective that brings with it so many rewards.
For the full listing that includes even more exhibitions, some fantastic music and dance coming up, as well as talks, comedy and so much more, do visit my Curious Inbox and make sure to scroll down three pages altogether so as not to miss out on anything.
You can find them all here: www.nahlaink.com/curious-inbox.
Best wishes to all!
Freelance Journalist + Blogger
London, October 2017
Image: 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Logo