Sahar Assaf on Theatre in Lebanon Today

The Segal Centre's recently held an event on contemporary theatre in Lebanon.  The centre has previously showcased readings of plays by Arab dramatists Rama Haydar and Bashar Murkus.  On the 17th of October, to celebrate a new exchange partnership with the Theatre Initiative at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Segal Centre invited Sahar Assaf,  Assistant Professor … Continue reading Sahar Assaf on Theatre in Lebanon Today

Arab Films Entered for Oscars

There are films from 92 countries entered for the Foreign Film category of the Oscars. Among these are eight films from Arabic-speaking countries. Several of the films deal in various ways with the impact of the conflict in Syria. There is the documentary from Syria, “Little Gandhi,” which follows the life and death of Syrian … Continue reading Arab Films Entered for Oscars

On the Use of English in Arab(ic) Music

Ahdaf Soueif once said that “the use of English by Arab authors is expanding at a faster rate than the use of French." I haven't seen any empirical evidence for this, but it seems likely -- or if not exactly faster than French, than at least at an equal rate. Watching 47soul’s recent release “Raf Etair” … Continue reading On the Use of English in Arab(ic) Music

Focus Young Arab Choreographers Opens May 25

Focus Young Arab Choreographers is a project is supported by the Italian culture ministry and eleven different dance festivals in Italy.  The aim is to promote cultural dialogue and exchange between Arab and Italian artists and choreographers. The programme opens May 25 and runs until September 23. Six young choreographers from the Arab world will … Continue reading Focus Young Arab Choreographers Opens May 25

The Oscars and the Berlinale

With the 88th Academy Awards ceremony to take place this Sunday, Al Bawaba looks back at nine films from the region to be nominated for an Oscar, including Hany Abu Assad's Paradise Now (2005) and Omar (2013), and Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory (2006) and Outside the Law (2010), but also Incendies (2010), adapted from … Continue reading The Oscars and the Berlinale

Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Re:Orient in Stockholm, which arranges cultural events focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, is celebrating Music Freedom Day as well as International Women's Day  with their week long Revolutionary Voices program from March 2-8. The program includes documentary screenings, a couple of panels and a concert, featuring Rim Banna, Tania Saleh, Dina … Continue reading Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

From Mathaf to Madrid

The exhibition Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums is being held from 9 February to 19 June 2016 at the Santander Art Gallery in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, the "first major loan exhibition in Europe of works from Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art in Doha."   This selection, more … Continue reading From Mathaf to Madrid

International Prize for Arabic fiction shortlist

This year, the shortlist for the IPAF (International Prize for Arabic fiction) includes "a Syrian novel about Islamic State’s occupation of Raqqa to an Egyptian dystopian thriller" among other novels that “address the tragedy of the present-day Middle East.” The Syrian novel is A Sky Close to Our House by Shahla Ujayli,  although since we … Continue reading International Prize for Arabic fiction shortlist

Sundance and “The Middle East”

Essa Chhabra writes of five films at Sundance that "Reveal What Life Is Like in the Middle East Now." Who comes up with these headlines? The films that take on "the formidable task of telling stories from the conflict and turmoil of the Middle East" include Brian Oakes' Jim: The James Foley Story, and Elite Zexer's Sandstorm, about Bedouin … Continue reading Sundance and “The Middle East”

On El Seed’s Calligraffiti and “Beirut’s Banksy”

 "Beirut's Banksy" is a terrible label. The murals and portraits of Lebanese artist Yazan Halwani are not even particularly Bansky like, unless Banksy unironically celebrates celebrities? Halwani's images are generally remediations of pan-Arab/nationalist symbols, the immediately recognisable and nostalgia-enducing images of "Arab poets, musicians and actors, encircled by intricate Arabic calligraphy." People from the golden age of music … Continue reading On El Seed’s Calligraffiti and “Beirut’s Banksy”

Arab Film Festival Australia

The Australian Arab Film Festival kicked off a few days ago and goes on to the 30th of August. The festival runs in Sydney until 16th August, Melbourne from 21st -23rd August and Canberra from 28th -30th August. The full program is here. Among the films on show are:   In a small Lebanese coastal village … Continue reading Arab Film Festival Australia

Alif’s Debut Album

Electronic Intifada describes Alif as "a kind of alternative Arabic supergroup." CairoScene calls them "A motley crew of the Arab world best loved underground musicians." Both agree that their debut album, Aynama-Rtama, is very, very good - as would be expected from a group comprised of Khyam Allami, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Khaled Yassine, Bashar Farran and Maurice Louca. There … Continue reading Alif’s Debut Album

She Who Tells A Story

The exhibit “She Who Tells A Story” is a photography exhibit, a smaller scale Light from the Middle East which is dedicated to the work of women artists, featuring work by twelve women photographers from Iran and the Arab world. The photographers are: Iraqi Jananne Al-Ani, Yemeni Boushra Almutawakel, Iranians Gohar Dashti, Shadi Ghadirian, Newsha Tavakolian and Shirin Neshat, Egyptians Nermine … Continue reading She Who Tells A Story

Wonder Beirut: The Story of a Pyromaniac Photographer

An exhibition of the Wonder Beirut project by creative partners Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige is on exhibit at CUAG until April 14th. The artists describe the project, which they worked on from 1997 to 2006, as "our production of postcards of war," inspired by the contrast between the touristy postcards and the reality of the city … Continue reading Wonder Beirut: The Story of a Pyromaniac Photographer

When Arab Women Artists “Revisit The Harem”

Where does tongue-in-cheek parody end and self-exoticization begin? At what point does the Arab woman artist, stepping into the so-often imagined space of "The Harem" risk pandering to an audience that seems to have a never-ending appetite for orientalist remediations? Lebanese photographer Rania Matar's wonderful and insightful A Girl in Her Room series (capturing teenage girls in … Continue reading When Arab Women Artists “Revisit The Harem”

Arab Women Behind the Camera

Aquila Style recently featured five Arab women artists from Lebanon, Saudi and Yemen. The article features three photographers (Lebanese Rania Matar, Yemeni Boushra Almutawakel, and Saudi Reem Al Faisal) as well as Lebanese film-maker Lamia Joreige, Saudi visual artist Sarah Abu Abdalla. The focus on Arab women's photography is interesting given that Arab photography in general has not … Continue reading Arab Women Behind the Camera

Rising Star Mayssa Karaa

The National reviews rising star Mayssa Karaa's concept show, When Music Matters, performed at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Festival. The young Lebanese singer first rose to international fame with her Arabic rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, featured on the soundtrack of the film American Hustle. As Saeed Saeed puts it: the song … Continue reading Rising Star Mayssa Karaa

The Second AFAC Film Week

In its second Film Week, The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is bringing works by filmmakers from seven Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia) to Cairo. The week-long programme will run between 15 and 22 April at Zawya cinema. The films to be shown include: Return to Homs by Talal Derky … Continue reading The Second AFAC Film Week