May: Ramadan Is Just Round the Corner! Still Some Highlights for You

Time moves so quickly and it is May already with the fasting month of Ramadan just round the corner! This explains why the Arab-London arts and culture scene will quieten down for a little bit as observers dedicate themselves to the spiritual energising of self during the four sacred weeks.

Still, there is plenty to do before Ramadan and a few brave events scheduled even during it!

Below are just some highlights of what is on offer.

Reading Review: Banthology Stories from Unwanted Nations

This week I reviewed the powerful 'Banthology' collection of short stories commissioned by Comma Press in response to President Donald Trump's executive order made early last year - banning the entry of people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States. This anthology for me was a great read as it creatively addresses the concepts of international borders and the movements of people as well as relaying the stories of those who end up paying the heaviest price when discriminatory laws are put into place. 

For the full review:

Musician Guy Manoukian & Guest Stars at London Palladium

Internationally renowned Lebanese musician, composer and pianist, Guy Manoukian, will be performing in the London Palladium on 8 May, featuring his sublime music and hit songs from his best-selling albums. Also featuring guest stars Abu, Lena Chamamyan and Gipsy King family members Mario Reyes and Paul Santiago, this promises to be a very special evening​.

For more:

Exhibition: Retracing A Disappearing Landscape at the P21 Gallery

You can still catch the 'Retracing A Disappearing Landscape' multidisciplinary exhibition at the P21 Gallery. On until 12 May, this explores people’s direct experience of and fascination with memory and personal history as well as the collective narratives that arise in connection with modern day Libya. 

Involving the participation of over 25 contemporary artists and professionals, it features visual artworks, especially commissioned installations, film, photography (archival and recent) and seven parallel presentations to offer more depth and insight into the exhibition themes and shared stories. There are still three great presentations coming up this month that you can find on the gallery website as well.

For more:

Exhibition: ARABÉCÉDAIRE at the Mosaic Rooms

Another current show on until 23 June is the solo exhibition for the influential Egyptian modernist painter Hamed Abdalla, exploring his extensive archives and library, looking at him both as an artist and as a researcher. Curated by Morad Montazami, the title derives from the French word ‘Abécédaire’ meaning a visual alphabet primer and refers to Abdalla's work that is centred on his development of what he called the ‘creative word'.

For more: 

Festival: @70 Celebration of Contemporary Palestinian Culture at RADA

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian exodus aka the Nakba, this week-long festival of theatre, dance, films and talks will commemorate the Palestinian experience of dispossession and loss of a homeland, scheduled for 14-20 May.

Organised by three artists from Gaza – writer and director Ahmed Masoud, writer and director Ahmed Najar and Khaled Ziada, founder and director of Arabic culture promoters MARSM - they have worked closely with Amnesty International, the Hoping Foundation, Amos Trust, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Al  Zaytouna Dance Theatre to bring together this creative response to decades of injustice. 

For more:

Nawal El Saadawi In Conversation at the Southbank Centre

Egyptian Nawal El Saadawi, one of the greatest writers to come out of the Arab world, will be in London for a special presentation where she will discuss her life and writing. Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, El Saadawi has shown an incredible ability to create new worlds in the fight against oppression. In the face of censorship, imprisonment and exile, she has refused to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class. Taking place on 19 May at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.

For more:

My Curious Inbox & Twitter @Nahlaink

For the regularly updated listing of MENA-inspired events, you can refer to My Curios Inbox:

Also, if you want to be in the super know, you can always follow me on Twitter @NahlaInk

Best wishes to all!

Nahla Al-Ageli

Freelance Journalist + Blogger

London, May 2018

Image: By Laila Sharif