World Picks: April — May 2021

18 April, 2021

Got an event, book, film, con­fer­ence or any­thing else you’d like to rec­om­mend? Drop us a line.
All list­ings are online, unless oth­er­wise noted.


19 April (MON) 23:59 BST | 18:59 EST | 15:59 PST | ON MARSM Documentary “Slingshot Hip Hop” Directed by Jacqueline Reem Salloum featuring the pioneers of Palestinian hip hop

 

Catch this archival film before it’s too late. Sling­shot Hip Hop (2008), direct­ed by Jacque­line Reem Sal­loum, charts the birth of Pales­tin­ian hip hop inside Israel and the Occu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries. At the begin­ning of the film, the group DAM, who record­ed the catchy polit­i­cal anthem “Meen Erhabi” (Who’s the Ter­ror­ist?), has a pho­to op with Pub­lic Ene­my’s Chuck D. The trio from Lyd­da, plays its first ille­gal gig across the Green Line in the Deheishe Refugee Camp, and helps two young res­i­dents there, Bilal and Rami, write and per­form a rap about a mar­tyred friend. A few months lat­er DAM phones Bilal in prison, after he and Rami were arrest­ed for throw­ing stones. The pow­er of rap to trans­form lives clear­ly did­n’t worked for them; but for oth­ers it remains a pow­er­ful impe­tus, despite seem­ing­ly insur­mount­able dif­fi­cul­ties. Tal­ent­ed young female vocal­ist Abeer Alz­i­naty con­tin­ues record­ing despite being not being able to sing onstage because of the threats her par­ents received. Extend­ed fam­i­ly mem­bers object­ed to a female cousin per­form­ing in public.

 

Rap is the music of lived expe­ri­ence and the pol­i­tics of occu­pa­tion are at the core of Pales­tin­ian rhymes. Rap­pers reveal the lim­its on their free­dom of move­ment when the cam­era fol­lows them on walks through their neigh­bor­hoods, where Arab schools and libraries are turned into Israeli police sta­tions. In Gaza, Mohammed al-Far­ra and mem­bers of the rap group PR spend end­less hours try­ing to get through check­points. Mah­moud Sha­l­abi strolls the ancient, cov­ered streets of Akka. But once he goes to Tel Aviv and is over­heard speak­ing Ara­bic, he is stopped and ques­tioned by the Israeli police. These young artic­u­late voic­es from ten years ago make you won­der where they are now.

 

Jacque­line Reem Sal­loum direct­ed Plan­et of the Arabs in 2005. She is an artist, and her most recent work for A Sym­bol of Lost Home­land cel­e­brates the life and work of Taw­fiq Canaan, the Pales­tin­ian physi­cian, oral his­to­ri­an and collector. 


Listen to MARSM mixtapes for free on  SoundCloud .

MARSM MIXTAPE #3 BY BASMA

Show­cas­ing an eclec­tic selec­tion of music arranged in sequences of unfore­seen son­ic analo­gies, this col­lec­tive mix was put togeth­er by Bas­ma, who is of Nubian Sudanese descent and is based in Lon­don. She hosts the Khar­toum Arrivals show on NTS Radio where she likes to tap into mem­o­ries tied to old Sudanese love songs.

About the mix: This mix fea­tures pop­u­lar and folk music from around Sudan, with sounds from Hal­fa, Kas­sala, Blue Nile, Dar­fur and Khartoum.

 

MARSM’s Month­ly Mix­tapes bring a curat­ed selec­tion of music from some of the most influ­en­tial audio­philes, col­lec­tives, DJs, musi­cians, and pro­duc­ers of the Ara­bic-speak­ing world. Tune in for some rare musi­cal gems, mas­ter­ful­ly com­piled for you into one con­tin­u­ous play.


Podcast SEARCHING FOR MINARETS IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH THARIK HUSSAIN, from The Arts in Isolation series at Asia House’s Converging Paths 2021

searching for minarets graphic 700.jpg

In 2019, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty request­ed that its his­to­ry dons and stu­dents join the British Mus­lim trav­el writer and broad­cast­er Tharik Hus­sain on Britain’s Mus­lim Her­itage Trail No. 2, a walk and lec­ture he gives in Brook­wood Ceme­tery, in Sur­rey. It was the final rest­ing place of sev­er­al kings of Yemen, a Sul­tan of Oman, the last Ottoman princess, along with famous Eng­lish trans­la­tors of the Quran and British roy­als who con­vert­ed to Islam. Hus­sain’s his­toric trails, in the words of the uni­ver­si­ty’s let­ter, “have the capac­i­ty to decol­o­nize the main­stream his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive of Britain.” 

As Hus­sain explains to Seif El Rashi­di from the Barakat Trust, “No one was telling me these sto­ries, as a Mus­lim in Europe, no one was telling me my stories.” 

In the tra­di­tion of Ibn Bat­tuta, Hus­sain’s lat­est book Minarets in the Moun­tains: A Jour­ney through Mus­lim Europe fol­lows in the foot­steps of sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry Ottoman explor­er and pop­u­lar writer Evliya Çelebi. Hus­sain trav­eled through such coun­tries as Ser­bia and Bosnia-Herze­gov­ina, among oth­ers, with his wife and young daugh­ter. El Rashi­di is an archi­tec­tur­al his­to­ri­an, with an inter­est in cul­tur­al preser­va­tion. He and Hus­sain explore the dif­fer­ences between 600 year-old Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties in the for­mer Yugoslavia, which sur­vived bru­tal war, and Britain’s own mul­ti­eth­nic Islam­ic heritage.


 

UNTIL SATURDAY, MAY 1, EXHIBITION mosaic فسيفساء AT reACT at P21 GALLERY

“My answer to this ques­tion can be best illus­trat­ed with anoth­er story…
The Ori­ent. The Mid­dle East. The Arab World. 
First-Gen­er­a­tion. Third Cul­ture. Immigrant. 
Ter­ror­ists. Refugees. Veiled women and men with long beards.
What does ‘Arab’ bring to mind …”

Fast paced, sur­pris­ing and pos­ing more ques­tions than answers, the short art film mosa­ic فسيفساء com­bines inter­views, crowd-sourced imagery and ver­ba­tim audio with archival black-and-white twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry colo­nial­ist footage. In a rich bar­rage of words, voic­es and some­times self-shot footage, young peo­ple from SWANA+ (South-West Asia and North Africa), at home and in the dias­po­ra, tell of their dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences, reac­tions and explo­rations of iden­ti­ty – whether through gen­der and sex­u­al­i­ty or food and lan­guage. The use of the quick cut and know­ing sub­ti­tles in Eng­lish and Ara­bic adds anoth­er lay­er of visu­al crit­i­cism to the film, and shows how cer­tain images and musi­cal moods can rein­force stereotypes.

 

Fea­tur­ing orig­i­nal sound by Sophie K. and visu­al design by Jere­my Rieder, mosa­ic فسيفساء was co-direct­ed by Lay­la Madanat, an Arab-British inter­dis­ci­pli­nary artist and social jus­tice activist, and Eleanor Naw­al, an British-Egypt­ian actor and writer. The exhi­bi­tion, curat­ed by Mishelle Brito, is part of P21’s reACT series, which pro­motes and sup­ports emerg­ing and stu­dent artists with work ded­i­cat­ed to or inspired by the Mid­dle East and the Arab world.


Until June 12, Exhibition Light Upon Light: Light Art Since The 1960s at the King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center, Al Aqiq, Riyadh 13511, Saudi Arabia

While in many inter­na­tion­al cities, muse­ums are closed under lock­down rules, the exhi­bi­tion Light upon Light is open to the pub­lic and online. Thir­ty inter­na­tion­al artists play with, reflect and gen­er­ate light in immer­sive and inter­ac­tive instal­la­tion, video and sculp­ture. The Japan­ese artist Yay­oi Kusama, who loves pol­ka dots, daz­zles with Infin­i­ty Mir­ror Room – Bril­liance of Souls, 2014. For the instal­la­tion Mito­chon­dria: Pow­er­hous­es, 2021, Sau­di physi­cian and artist Ahmed Mater uses a Tes­la res­o­nance trans­former coil and cre­ates a flow of high volt­age and alter­nat­ing cur­rent elec­tri­cal light­ning strikes, which melt sand and form glass sculpture.

Still from Alia Ali's film  Mahjar .

Anoth­er Sau­di artist, Man­al Al Dowayan, takes a less vis­cer­al approach with the words in poet­ic light: Nos­tal­gia Takes Us to the Sea But Desire Keep Us from the Shore, 2010. Al Dowayan was in con­ver­sa­tion with British Muse­um cura­tor Vene­tia Porter and artists New­sha Tavako­lian, from Iran, and Lau­ra Boush­nak, from Pales­tine, and spoke about the fast past of change tak­ing place in her coun­try, an event avail­able on YouTube.  

Light upon Light was curat­ed by Susan David­son, for­mer­ly from the Guggen­heim Muse­um and Sau­di cura­tor Raneem Zaki Far­si. It is the first edi­tion of Noor Riyadh, the first city-wide pub­lic art pro­gram; and Art Riyadh, a nation­al pub­lic art ini­tia­tive, new projects that coin­cide with Vision 2030 to reduce Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s depen­den­cy on oil and diver­si­fy its econ­o­my through tourism and cul­ture. Despite the reli­gious con­no­ta­tions of the exhi­bi­tion’s title Nûr ‘alâ Nûr, in Ara­bic, the high-end art project has been crit­i­cized for “art-wash­ing” the coun­try’s dire human rights record.


Through April, Exhibition Muslims With Christians and Jews; Covenants and Coexistence at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures 

exhibition covenants coexistence 700.png

Cel­e­brat­ing Islam­ic Her­itage Month, an annu­al event in Jack­son, Mis­sis­sip­pi since 2016, the Mus­lims with Chris­tians and Jews: Covenants and Coex­is­tence exhi­bi­tion at the Inter­na­tion­al Muse­um of Mus­lim Cul­tures (IMMC) explores the his­tor­i­cal and cur­rent rela­tion­ship between Islam and Amer­i­ca. Through his­tor­i­cal covenants and treaties the Prophet Muham­mad made with Chris­tians and Jews liv­ing in sev­enth cen­tu­ry Med­i­na, ideas of coex­is­tence and gov­er­nance influ­enced Amer­i­ca’s found­ing fathers, through what they knew and said about Islam. Curat­ed by Lina Ali, Jeanne Luck­ett and Oko­lo Rashid, Mus­lims with Chris­tians and Jews also fea­tures the voic­es of African Amer­i­can Mus­lims and con­nects that ear­ly strug­gle for free­dom in Amer­i­ca to today’s Islam­o­pho­bia and the ongo­ing fight in the coun­try for civ­il and human rights.


Opening Late Spring Until September 12, 2021, Exhibition EPIC IRAN Epic Iran at the Victoria & Albert Museum

epic iran v and a museum 700.png

The Epic Iran exhi­bi­tion explores 5,000 years of Per­sian art, design and cul­ture though sculp­ture, ceram­ics and car­pets, tex­tiles, pho­tog­ra­phy and film. The his­toric objects and art­works reflect the Iran’s vibrant his­toric cul­ture, archi­tec­tur­al splen­dors, the abun­dance of myth, poet­ry and tra­di­tion, and the evolv­ing, self-renew­ing art and cul­ture of today. From the Cyrus Cylin­der and intri­cate illu­mi­nat­ed man­u­scripts of the Shah­nameh to ten-meter-long paint­ings of Isfa­han tile work, Shirin Neshat’s two-screen video instal­la­tion Tur­bu­lent, and Shirin Ali­abadi’s strik­ing pho­to­graph of a young woman chew­ing bub­blegum, the exhi­bi­tion presents an over­ar­ch­ing nar­ra­tive of Iran from 3000 bc.

It cov­ers: the Land of Iran; Emerg­ing Iran start­ing in 3200 bc when writ­ing first occurred; The Per­sian Empire and the Achaemenid peri­od; Last of the Ancient Empires and Alexan­der the Great; the Book of Kings, on the Shah­nameh; Change of Faith, after the Arab con­quest in the mid-sev­enth cen­tu­ry ad; Lit­er­ary Excel­lence on poet­ry, patron­age and art; The Old and the New of the Qajar dynasty; and, final­ly, Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Iran, which charts mid-cen­tu­ry mod­ernisms to the present day, with Farhad Moshiri and Sha­di Ghadiri­an, among oth­er artists.

Epic Iran was orga­nized by the V&A with the Iran Her­itage Foun­da­tion, in asso­ci­a­tion with the Sarikhani Col­lec­tion. Due to covid restric­tions, the exhi­bi­tion will open in late spring.

RSVP here.


FRIDAY, MAY 7, 2021 12:00 pm EST | 17:00 pm BST  | 9:00 am PST, Conversation on the Poetics of Exile: NYC, Tehran, Paris
in The Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance series at the University of Notre Dame

poetics of exile may 7.jpg Four writ­ers dis­cuss the poet­ics of dis­lo­ca­tion and exile from dif­fer­ent places and points of view. Négar Djava­di was born in Iran in 1969 to a fam­i­ly of intel­lec­tu­als opposed to the Shah and then lat­er to Khome­i­ni. Hav­ing escaped the coun­try by cross­ing the moun­tains of Kur­dis­tan on horse­back with her moth­er and sis­ter, she arrived in France at the age of eleven. She wrote the debut nov­el Dis­ori­en­tal and is a screen­writer in Paris.

Salar Abdoh, also born in Iran, now lives between Tehran and New York City. Abdoh teach­es in the MFA pro­gram at the City Col­lege of New York and is the recip­i­ent of the NYFA Prize and the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts award. He has authored four nov­els, includ­ing the most recent, Out of Mesopotamia. Mod­er­at­ing the con­ver­sa­tion will be writer and trans­la­tor Hana Mor­gen­stern, uni­ver­si­ty lec­tur­er in Post­colo­nial and Mid­dle East Lit­er­a­ture at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty, a fel­low at Newn­ham Col­lege and co-direc­tor of the Doc­u­ments of the Arab Left and the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Papers projects.

 

Ask­ing the ques­tions with her is Aza­reen Van der Vli­et Oloo­mi, direc­tor of cre­ative writ­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Notre Dame and author of Call Me Zebra, the win­ner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award, and the John Gard­ner Fic­tion Award. She was also long-list­ed for the PEN/Open Book Award. Van der Vli­et Oloo­mi is the direc­tor of Notre Dame’s MFA Cre­ative Writ­ing Pro­gram and a Fel­low of the Kroc Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al Peace Stud­ies. Her nov­el Sav­age Tongues will be pub­lished lat­er this year.

 

The event is organ­ised by Lit­er­a­tures of Anni­hi­la­tion, Exile & Resis­tance: An Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Approach to the Glob­al Mid­dle East and North Africa, and is a bi-annu­al sym­po­sium and lec­ture series. It focus­es on the study of lit­er­a­tures that have been shaped by his­to­ries of ter­ri­to­r­i­al and lin­guis­tic pol­i­tics, colo­nial­ism, mil­i­tary dom­i­na­tion and gross human rights vio­la­tions. The ini­tia­tive grap­ples with the con­struct­ed nature of his­to­ry; reimag­ines Amer­i­can and glob­al alter­na­tive nar­ra­tives from the posi­tion of sup­pressed voic­es; and exam­ines how minori­tized writ­ers and schol­ars have his­tor­i­cal­ly inno­vat­ed lit­er­ary pro­duc­tion and the­o­ry in the process of respond­ing to sys­temic violence. 

RVSP here.


APRIL–JUNE 2021, Online series of talks HISTORIES and ARCHIVES OF ARABIC PUBLISHING, from the British Library and the Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

history of arabic publishing 750.png

These lec­tures and con­ver­sa­tions will explore pub­lish­ing prac­tices in Ara­bic as a site for unfold­ing intel­lec­tu­al net­works, artis­tic prac­tices and polit­i­cal imag­i­nar­ies from the 1960s until the present. Lead­ing prac­ti­tion­ers in the field will exam­ine past and present prac­tices of pub­lish­ing in Ara­bic, and address ques­tions of scale of oper­a­tions and reach; medi­ums and for­mats; audi­ence and lan­guage; and the social and polit­i­cal con­text. The series, which also con­sid­ers con­tem­po­rary col­lect­ing prac­tices of pub­lish­ing archives, high­lights col­lec­tions’ capac­i­ty to fore­ground pub­lish­ing archives not mere­ly as a sig­ni­fi­er of oth­er his­tor­i­cal process­es but as a his­tor­i­cal process in their own right.

The first ses­sion, on Tues April 27 at 17:00 PM BST | 12:00 PM EST | 9 AM PST (reg­is­ter via Zoom), brings togeth­er artists and cura­tors Ala You­nis and Maha Mamoun, in con­ver­sa­tion with art his­to­ri­an Hala Auji, to talk about Kay­fa ta: On Shapeshift­ing Texts and Oth­er Pub­lish­ing Tac­tics. In 2012, You­nis and Mamoun found­ed Kay­fa ta, an inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ing ini­tia­tive that emerged from a need to extend beyond the lim­it­ed read­er­ship and dis­tri­b­u­tion of non-main­stream alter­na­tive books. 

The sec­ond ses­sion, on Tues 11 May at 17:00 PM BST | 12:00 PM EST | 9 AM PST (reg­is­ter via Zoom), will be giv­en by Huda Smit­shui­jzen Abi­Farès, found­ing direc­tor of the Khatt Foun­da­tion and Khatt Books pub­lish­ers. She will speak on The Ara­bic Design Library: Alter­na­tive Nar­ra­tives from the Arab World, and the impor­tance of doc­u­ment­ing and pre­sent­ing an alter­na­tive design his­to­ry from parts of the world that are rarely cov­ered in main-stream design pub­li­ca­tions. She will be joined by Cairo-based mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary design­er, researcher and writer Moe Elhos­seiny, who will dis­cuss the Ara­bic Cov­er Design Archive: Dig­i­tal Archives as Design Activism.

For the third ses­sion, on Tues 25 May, at 17:00 PM BST | 12:00 PM EST | 9 AM PST (reg­is­ter via Zoom), Zeina Maas­ri, senior lec­tur­er in the School of Human­i­ties at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Brighton, will speak along­side Berlin-based artist col­lec­tive Fehras Pub­lish­ing Prac­tices (Sami Rus­tom, Omar Nico­las and Kenan Dar­wich) about their respec­tive projects on Ara­bic pub­lish­ing dur­ing the Cold War.

His­to­ries and Archives of Ara­bic Pub­lish­ing is co-curat­ed and con­vened by Hana Sleiman, Research Fel­low in His­to­ry at Mur­ray Edwards Col­lege, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge, and Daniel Lowe, Cura­tor of Ara­bic Col­lec­tions at the British Library, in part­ner­ship with the Del­fi­na Foun­da­tion, Mur­ray Edwards Col­lege, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge, and the Mid­dle East His­to­ry Group, Fac­ul­ty of His­to­ry, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cambridge.


UNTIL JUNE 6, 2021
EXHIBITION
SUGAR ROUTES I, 2013, BY ZINEB SEDIRA, AT LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL THE STOMACH AND THE PORT

sugar routes zineb sedira world picks.png The exhi­bi­tion Sug­ar Routes by Alger­ian-ori­gin artist Zineb Sedi­ra high­lights the sweet­ness of sug­ar ver­sus the bit­ter­ness of the sto­ry behind its trade and con­sump­tion. Pho­tographs of sug­ar from dif­fer­ent parts of the world housed in a mod­ern ware­house in Mar­seille recount the his­to­ry of transocean­ic human migra­tion, the tri­an­gu­lar trade routes of the eigh­teenth and nine­teenth cen­turies and the con­tin­ued trade of sug­ar across the Atlantic for mass con­sump­tion in a con­tem­po­rary con­text. The moun­tain­ous piles present a land­scape of extrac­tion where mul­ti­ple geo­gra­phies con­vene and merge with one anoth­er, with the ware­house as an in-between space of encounter before the sug­ar is processed for con­sump­tion. A sculp­ture of an anchor made from cane sug­ar found in the French silo acts as a metaphor for migra­tion and diaspora. 

Sug­ar Routes, orig­i­nal­ly com­mis­sioned by Mar­seille Provence 2013, Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture and the Port of Mar­seille, is part of Liv­er­pool Bien­ni­al 2021, which takes over the city’s pub­lic spaces, his­toric sites and art gal­leries. Its 11th edi­tion, The Stom­ach and the Port, curat­ed by Manuela Moscoso, inves­ti­gates notions of the body and ways of con­nect­ing with the world.


 THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021 FROM 18:00 TO 19:30 PM BST | 13:00 TO 14:30 EST |  10 AM PST Discussion on We Wrote in Symbols: Love and Lust by Arab Women Writers, at the Arab British Centre with Saqi Books, with Selma Dabbagh, Lisa Luxx, Saieda Rouass, Yasmine Seale and Hanan Al-Shaykh

we wrote in symbols event.jpg The anthol­o­gy We Wrote in Sym­bols cel­e­brates the works of 75 women writ­ers of Arab her­itage who artic­u­late love and lust with artistry and skill. From a masked ren­dezvous in a cir­cus, to meet­ings in under­ground bars and unmade beds, there is no such thing as a typ­i­cal sex­u­al encounter. Edi­tor Sel­ma Dab­bagh, dis­cuss­es the book with four con­trib­u­tors: lisa luxx, queer poet, essay­ist and activist of British and Syr­i­an her­itage, whose debut poet­ry col­lec­tion Fetch Your Moth­er’s Heart will be released by Out-Spo­ken Press in May; Saei­da Rouass, a nov­el­ist from Lon­don and author of Eigh­teen Days of Spring in Win­ter and Assem­bly of the Dead; Yas­mine Seale, a British-Syr­i­an writer, trans­la­tor and author of Aladdin: A New Trans­la­tion and the forth­com­ing Agi­tat­ed Air: Poems after Ibn Ara­bi; and Hanan al-Shaykh, the cel­e­brat­ed nov­el­ist, play­wright and jour­nal­ist from Lebanon, whose books include I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops and The Occa­sion­al Vir­gin. Dab­bagh is a British-Pales­tin­ian writer whose debut nov­el Out of It (Blooms­bury) was the 2011 Guardian Book of the Year. She has also worked as a writer for fea­ture films and radio plays and is a writer for fea­ture films and radio plays.

 


Arabic publishingEpic IranexileHanan Al-ShaykhPalestinian hip hopSalah AbdohSelma DabbaghZineb Sedira

Malu Halasa is a London-based writer and editor. Her six co-edited anthologies include—Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, with Zaher Omareen; The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design, with Rana Salam; and the short series: Transit Beirut, with Rosanne Khalaf, and Transit Tehran, with Maziar Bahari. She was managing editor of the Prince Claus Fund Library; a founding editor of Tank Magazine and Editor at Large for Portal 9. As a former freelance journalist in the London, she covered wide-ranging subjects, from water as occupation in Israel/Palestine to Syrian comics during the present-day conflict. Her books, exhibitions and lectures chart a changing Middle East. Malu Halasa’s debut novel, Mother of All Pigs was reviewed by the New York Times as “a microcosmic portrait of … a patriarchal order in slow-motion decline.”

guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments