Another year is coming to an end and I sincerely extend happy season's greetings at this time of celebration, rest, closure and renewal. I am glad to say that for Nahla Ink, 2017 was full of positive activity, having been honoured to be a media-partner with a number of artistic projects and having had access to so many terrific MENA-inspired events, festivals and initiatives.
Looking forward to the New Year, I am planning to upgrade the Nahla Ink website to make it a bit more user friendly; and, I am also open, as always, to any invitation to collaborate on the wavelength of promoting and exploring Arab-connected creative narratives from a London base.
As in my usual newsletters, for this month of December I highly recommend that you make time to visit the exhibitions currently available. There are many to choose from and they are listed on My Curious Inbox page, so below are just three I want to highlight:
Dhikr Pictural - At the P21 Gallery
A solo for Algerian visual artist Anissa Berkane, this exhibition aims to engage with all the senses and attract different audiences, be they art-lovers, rationale-geeks or the spiritually-curious. The fruit of nearly twenty year of artistic, intellectual and spiritual processes, Berkane's paintings take one on a journey of origins to remind us of the supreme message of love and tolerance, as highlighted through ornamental executions, numerical mysteries and metaphysical implications. Inspiring to reconnect truthfully with the 'Self' and look beyond the unknown, one can reach out to what is 'Divine'. With a rich parallel programme of events included, the five-week show is on until 6 January at the P21 Gallery.
Rüya Foundation Presents Latif Al Ani
For photography lovers, this is the first UK exhibition of Iraqi photographer Latif Al Ani. Born in 1932, he is considered the founding father of Iraqi photography and was prolific in documenting everyday life in the country. The majority of his work was produced over three decades often referred to as a ‘golden age’ for Iraq, a period of increased cosmopolitanism and openness in the country. From the late 1950s until the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988), Al Ani captured the social fabric of the country. Modern and multicultural, the images may appear surprising to audiences today, subverting stereotypical perceptions of Iraqi experience. It also includes images of classical ruins and antiquities as well as aerial views of the country. Taking place for a limited time until 16 December, 2017 at the Coningsby Gallery.
Hassan Massoudy - Breath, Gesture and Light
Another sole show that is dedicated to master artist-calligrapher Hassan Massoudy. Born in 1944 in Najaf, southern Iraq, he moved to Baghdad in 1961, where he learnt the classical styles of calligraphy and studied graphic design and fine arts. Later when he moved to Paris, he also enrolled at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where his work would be influenced also be Léger, Matisse, Soulages and Picasso. But after receiving his degree in 1975, he returned to calligraphy, employing classical styles in a newer and freer manner. For this artist, the word itself remains the most sublime creative force and his work features the texts of a diverse range of writers, from poet Charles Baudelaire and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to Virgil and Ibn ‘Arabi. Currently taking place until 27 January, 2018 at the October Gallery.
Another Day in Baghdad - Support Campaign
I also want to draw your attention to a fund-raising campaign to support the film 'Another Day in Baghdad'. Rooted in the real life experiences of two female authors in post-invasion Iraq, it unites cast and crew from the Middle East and Europe for the first ever international film production led by Maysoon Pachachi, a female director of Iraqi origin. Ready to shoot with the talented cast lined up as well as the amazing locations decided upon, they just need additional funding to hire the Iraqi cast and crew for this independent project.
My Curious Inbox
As always, I refer you to the full listing of MENA-inspired events in London, with more exhibitions, films, talks, music and much more on My Curious Inbox page.
Make sure to scroll down so as not to miss out on anything at: www.nahlaink.com/curious-inbox.
To be in the super-know, you can also follow me on Twitter @Nahlaink.
Best wishes to all!
Freelance Journalist + Blogger
London, December 2017
Image: Astrolab - Anissa Berkane - Dhikr Pictural Exhibition - At the P21 Gallery until 6 January, 2018