1 week to go - Full programme of events
for Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2017
LIVERPOOL Arab Arts Festival (LAAF);
the UK's biggest annual celebration of Arab arts and culture; has revealed a
host of new performances and attractions to join the exciting programme of
events made public in spring.
Newly announced details include works exploring border discrimination,
migration, and Trump's travel, alongside fun filled free events like a food
trail down Liverpool's famous Lodge Lane and music performances by London Syrian
The 9 day festival of theatre, music, visual art, dance, literature, film, food
and family fun takes place from 8 July to 16 July 2017.
This year LAAF explores the
theme of 'The space between us', responding to Liverpool's City wide
67-17 50 Summers of Love season, celebrating the release of the Beatles' Sgt
Pepper's album. The title is taken from a lyric from:- 'Within You Without You'
track on side 2 of the album written by George Harrison, which tells of
overcoming the forces that prevent us from recognising what unites the world.
As ever, LAAF will be punctuated by fun filled, free events for all the family,
and organisers have now announced more details of some of the activities and
performers on those key dates.
Artists taking the stage at Eid on the Square,
on 8 July 2017, Tiber Square, Lodge Lane, a joyful community celebration marking the end of Ramadan will include:- Anwar
Ali and Dave Owen, Sound of Yemen, and Reham Al-Hakimi as part of a colourful,
packed programme of family friendly cultural entertainment, food, arts and
crafts, made possible thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
As part of the day's activities, Kuwait born food writer Sarah Al Hamad will
lead the:- 'Lodge Lane Food Trail,' taking food lovers on a tour of some of the
diverse independent restaurants and food businesses in the area; the go to
place for world cuisine in the City.
At LAAF at the World Museum, on Saturday, 15 July 2017, people
of all ages can discover the creativity, captivating stories, and fascinating
traditions of the Arab diaspora. Added to the bill announced in spring are
London Syrian Ensemble, a collective of some of Syria's finest musicians based
in the UK, who will play a diverse repertoire of classical and traditional music
from the region, and resident storyteller Alia Alzougbi, who will share humorous
and evocative tales from the Arab world.
Ancient and contemporary Egypt will collide in the heart of the museum's ancient
Egyptian artefacts collection, with Joon Dance's Ancient Modernity, a:- "living,
breathing, dancing museum of modern Egyptian culture."
As is now tradition, LAAF will close with the 'LAAF Unison Family Day,'
on Sunday, 16
July 2017, at the Sefton Park Palm House, which will return the event they say
will be:- "bigger, bolder and brighter than
ever before." As well as 'the new star of Nubian pop' Alsarah and the Nubatones,
audiences will have the chance to see London Syrian Ensemble perform, as well as
high energy traditional and modern street dance performances from a collective
of Cairo's best dance talent. Reham Al-Hakimi and the Al Awadhel Band will be
back by popular demand. Along with the programme of international music and
dance acts there will be an:- Arabian souk, cultural cuisine, and activities for
all the family.
Adding a new venue to the programme, LAAF brings a selection of
thought provoking interactive work and participatory projects to Liverpool
Central Library, on Wednesday, 12 July to Friday, 14 July 2017. 'Tania El Khoury's As Far
As My Fingertips Take Me' is a conversation through a gallery wall between an
audience member and a refugee. Through touch and sound, an artist shares stories
of people who have recently challenged border discrimination.
Liverpool Central Library is also the location for 'Coat of Many Words,'
of workshops, which will weave together the personal memories, experiences and
stories of members of migrant communities now living in the City. The narratives
will become a unique historical garment, which will then go on display at World
Museum, and form the focal point for:- 'Coat of Many Words - Migrant Stories,'
discussion event where people who have travelled from the Arab World and
elsewhere around the globe, now living in Liverpool, share personal journeys in
their own words.
Over at Bluecoat, and ahead of:- 'Comma Press' forthcoming anthology Literatures
from Banned Countries, on Thursday, 13 July 2017, will bring together writers
from some of the seven banned countries affected by President Trump's divisive
immigration ban. With readings by Zaher Omareen, Cristina Ali Farah and Al-Saddiq
Al-Raddi, this event asks what good is art in response to such times?
In addition to 2 evenings of films presented with Arab British Centre, Monday, 10
July and Friday, 14 July 2017, PictureHouse at FACT will host a showing of CLASH, Mohamed
Diab's gripping new film focusing on Egypt's turbulent recent social upheavals, Sunday, 9 July
To mark the launch of LAAF 2017, and as part of Bluecoat's 300th anniversary
celebrations, founders of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival Bryan Biggs (Artistic
Director of Bluecoat) and Taher Qassim (Chair of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival)
will reflect on LAAF's journey from a small 'weekender' at Bluecoat, to becoming
the UK's biggest celebration of Arab arts and culture, and 1 of Liverpool's
most celebrated events, on Friday, 7 July 2017.
Throughout the festival, internationally renowned visual artist Rachel Gadsden
will work in partnership with guest artists Ali Saeid Ashour and Amna Hussein on
the production of artworks live and in collaboration with audience members. This
work is part of an Unlimited International Research and Development project
called:- 'It was Paradise.'
Taher Qassim, Chair of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, said:- "We work hard
to bring the best and most exciting talent to Liverpool each year, and 2017 is
While the events, from music to dance to performance to a food led celebration,
are very different, many of them share a common theme; that of bringing
cultures closer together. And of course, the theme of this year's LAAF explores
the boundaries and spaces between us. It's certainly going to be a stimulating,
thought provoking and entertaining 9 days."
Previously announced acts and events include:-
► The return of world renowned Palestinian singer and musicologist Reem Kelani
for an intimate concert in the Philharmonic Hall's Music Room.
► 2 thought provoking plays at Unity Theatre:- 'The Crow Plucked Your Sinews' and
bittersweet political comedy:- 'And Here I Am.'
► 'Wafaa Bilal's 168:01' will be an ambitious restaging of the acclaimed Iraqi born visual
artist's work, which serves both as a monument to cultural losses during Iraq's
history and a platform for potential rebirth.
► 'Sacre Printemps' sees choreographers Aïcha M'Barek and Hafiz Dhaou create a
visceral streetscape of today's Tunisia, inspired by the pressures of building a
new society using life sized silhouettes from the late Parisian street artist Bilal Berren.
► In partnership Arab British Centre, LAAF will present films at PictureHouse, at
FACT Liverpool, 'As I Open my Eyes,' Leyla Bouzid's brilliant directorial debut of the
story of a young Tunisian woman at a crossroads in her life, and 'This Little
Father Obsession,' a fresh, original and disarmingly honest look at the hold of
patriarchy in contemporary Lebanese society directed by Selim Mourad.
For more information on the full Liverpool Arab Arts Festival programme, and to
book tickets, visit:-