Curious Inbox

  • Rachid Koraïchi - 'Masters of Time' Exhibition - October Gallery - 21 June-28 July, 2018

Curious Inbox

Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.

Azzedine Alaïa: The first UK solo exhibition to celebrate the work of Tunisian-born couturier and designer Azzedine Alaïa. Conceived and co-curated with Monsieur Alaïa before his death in November 2017, the exhibition charts his incredible journey from sculptor to couturier, his nonconformist nature and his infectious energy for fashion, friendship and the female body. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Alaïa personally constructed each garment by hand and refused to bow to the pressures of fashion week deadlines, instead working to his own schedule. His collaborative approach earned him an esteemed client list, including Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Michelle Obama and Rihanna. Rather than a retrospective, the show interlaces stories of his life and career alongside personally selected garments, ranging from the rare to the iconic and spanning the early 1980s to his most recent collection in 2017. Taking place currently until 7 October, 2018 at the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG.

'What do you mean, here we are?': 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. Taking place 6 July-15 September, 2018 at the Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW.

Kahlil Gibran 'A Guide for Our Times: 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. Taking place 6-10 August, 2018 at Sotheby's, 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA.

Broken Wings (Musical): An autobiographical account of Kahlil Gibran's first love, 'Broken Wings' is a musical adaptation of the poet’s 1912 masterpiece. Set in New York City in 1923, an ageing Gibran narrates from his cold studio; and, through poetry and music, transports one back two decades and across continents, to turn-of-the-century Beirut and his 18-year-old self. Reflecting on his deep feelings for Selma Karamy - the daughter of family friend and respected local businessman who was betrothed to someone else - and how both had to fight to reconcile their love for one another, whilst navigating the rules, traditions and expectations that their society lays before them. A moving production, this explores what inspired the author to write and what moved him to such profound philosophy in his later life, bringing up themes that remain relevant today: the fight for gender equality, the freedom to love who we love, tradition versus modernity, wealth versus happiness, immigration and the importance of ‘home’. Written by Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan and directed by Bronagh Lagan, it will be taking place 1-4 August, 2018 at Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street London SW1Y 4HT​.

Rachid Koraïchi: A solo exhibition for the Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi, whose impressive oeuvre includes silk hangings, ceramics, sculptures, as well as works on canvas and paper. Incorporating calligraphy as a graphic element in his work, Koraïchi sees art as an ancient path into the unknown, wherein the signs and symbols from civilisation’s oldest languages are abstracted and deconstructed to create a new visual vocabulary. In this newly presented series entitled 'Les osties bleues' - a reference to Sacramental bread - he explores human connections to the earth as a source of life. Set on blue and white canvases and wall mounted square ceramics, the artist continues to use a limited palette emphasizing the graphic power of his inscriptions. Taking place 21 June-28 July, 2018 at the October Gallery, ​24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL​.

The Past Is Present Becoming Egyptian In The 20th Century: A display featuring a broad selection of objects from 20th-century Egypt that together explore the ways in which ancient Egypt has provided inspiration for modern Egypt to brand itself through everyday goods. Focusing on the emblem of Banque Misr (Bank of Egypt) that was established in 1920 as the first bank owned and managed by Egyptians, its emblem includes a depiction of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, and lotus flowers, symbols of rebirth. Other objects further illustrate the connection between national economy, ancient imagery and the construction of modern identity, including: a milk bottle with the same logo as the bank, magazines, cigarette packages, a banknote, and a vinyl record. These newly acquired objects show the complex ways that ancient heritage was reclaimed and integrated into the everyday life of a society that was both modernising and confronting immense political change. Taking place 24 May-22 July, 2018 at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

Baha Yetkin and 'Thumbelina' Musical Fairytale (Double Bill): Fantastical encounters lead Thumbelina to faraway lands where she finds the meaning of freedom and true love. A Hans Christian Andersen tale brought to life in a one-woman show by Egyptian-German singer-composer Merit Ariane Stephanos, through song from Europe to the Middle East, referencing Sephardic folklore, Gershwin, Darwish and Montsalvatge. This follows Turkish oud-player Baha Yetkin, virtuoso of the Turkish Makam, a constantly evolving music form from Istanbul's 13th century, one of the world's great music traditions. Taking place on 18 July, 2018 at Sands Films Studios, 82 St Marychurch Street, Rotherhithe SE16 4HZ.

Meriem Bennan 'Siham & Hafida': Presenting the Moroccan-born Meriem Bennani’s immersive video installation 'Siham & Hafida', this is the first time the work has been presented outside of the United States. Shot by the artist on handheld camera, Siham & Hafida juxtaposes the raw essence of docu-style TV with surreal digital animations to narrate the intergenerational complexities of evolving cultural forms, embodied by two popular Moroccan chikha singers of different ages. Its presentation in the Gallery takes the form of a multi-channel projection that overlaps walls with large-scale scale props as a series of interconnected screens, creating a dynamic and playful expanded-cinema effect throughout the whole space. Bennani, who lives and works in New York, has been developing a shape-shifting practice of films, installations and immersive environments, composed with a subtle agility to misappropriate the clichés of North-African culture. Taking place 16 May-14 July, 2018 at Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University London, Kingston School of Art, Grange Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2QJ.

Simona Abdallah Heartbeat: Arts Canteen, in association with the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), will present an exceptional evening of classics and fusion with renowned Palestinian-Danish percussionist Simona Abdallah, where she will be able to move between each piece in an energetic manner unlike any usual beats you’ve heard before. Simona Abdallah plays the Arabic percussion, primarily the Darbuka- a goblet-shaped drum. She fuses her ancestral Arabic rhythms with House, Electronica and World music. A DJ live set will be playing the warm-up set that should raise the energy level to the roof and the dance floor seem less hostile to people who've just walked in! Taking place on 14 July, 2018 at the Courtyard Theatre, 40 Pitfield Street, London N1 6EU.

Naseer Shamma's Quartet: Naseer Shamma is one of the world’s pre-eminent oud players and composers, revered both in his home country of Iraq and worldwide, who was recently named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. For this special performance, he brings with him three distinguished players from around the world, each experts in their respective musical traditions who are united in their understanding of a transcendental musical language. All master instrumentalists from Iraq, Pakistan and Spain, they will bring forward a mesmerising performance of oud, Flamenco guitar, tabla and sitar.​ Taking place 11 July, 2018 at the Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS.

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Below are entries of current Arab-British related events taking place in London that you might wish to attend, festivals and exhibitions that are happening and other entries I receive in my Nahla Ink Inbox. Please contact me if you would like to be listed.