The start of every new year is an occasion to commit - or recommit - to positive and peaceful messages to the world, especially for those of us who belong to the Arab diaspora living outside the MENA region but still very much connected. Instead of always bracing ourselves and apologising for the worst on the global scale, we can instead back the grassroots activities that bring with them pure enjoyment, intelligent contemplation and helping in the overall transformation of where we are and where we want to go.
It is so important that together we continue to attend, promote and encourage those who work so passionately in their special fields; be they visual artists, musicians, intellectuals, writers or even comedians who make make us laugh every so often at our unusual predicament. The arts are truly the safest and most creative route to providing new, deep, complex and powerful narratives that aid in the understanding between cultures and unite us all in great spirit.
As always from our amazing London base, lots of events are already coming up in January and looking well into February and March.
The music line up includes: an Arab Christmas at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Natacha Atlas at the Bush Hall, Omar Souleyman, 47Soul at the Jazz Cafe, TootArd Live, El Far3i and Z The People, as well as Basem Saleh who will perform at Leighton House Museum. In terms of the exhibitions, do look out for Hassan Massoudy at the October Gallery, the disPLACED show at the P21 Gallery and Basma Alsharif at the Mosaic Rooms. Of note also is the 'Alien Land' theatrical production that will be touring the UK.
All of these events and more are listed for you on My Curious Inbox page that you can access at: www.nahlaink.com/curious-inbox. Do make sure to scroll down the page so as not to miss out on over 20 entries so far!
Also, this month, I feature the works of the Tunisian visual artist Ilyes Messaoudi, whose creative influence is firmly rooted in his North African heritage. Messaoudi’s most recent collection is a series of paintings inspired by the legendary tale of Scheherazade. Colourfully juxtaposing popular Tunisian quotes with traditional and contemporary Tunisian cultural icons, you can view his work and keep up with his projects at: https://www.instagram.com/llyesgallery/
Best wishes to all!
Freelance Journalist + Blogger
London, January 2018