Photography: AB Photography Photography: Wafaa Bilal Photography: Zoe Lafferty Photography: Crispin Hughes Photography: Tania El Khouy Photography: Nousha Salimi

Running from July 8th until the 16th, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) boasts a diverse range of artforms. Ranging from theatre, music and film, to literature, dance and food, LAAF provides a programme of events aiming to bring different cultures and communities closer together – Festival Chair Taher Qassim explains the ethos of the festival in more detail in our Issue 79 Final Say. Here, we share our recommendations for 2017’s LAAF.

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

168:01 – WAFAA BILAL

FACT – 22/06-01/10

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the University of Baghdad’s College of Fine Arts’ Library was burned by looters, destroying their entire collection. With 168:01, Wafaa Bilal presents white shelves with eerie blank books, inviting visitors to replace the blank books with their own contributions with funds going to pay for educational texts for the College.

FREE

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

AS I OPEN MY EYES

Film – Picturehouse at FACT – 10/07

Winner of two prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Leyla Bouzid’s AS I OPEN MY EYES focuses on 2010 pre-revolution Tunisia, where Farah (Baya Medhaffar) becomes the frontwoman of an underground rock band. When there is a police crackdown on their performances, Farah must choose between medical school or musical rebellion. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with actor Baya Medhaffar.

Tickets available here.

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

AND HERE I AM

Unity Theatre – 12/07

Scripted by award-winning writer Hassan Abdulrazzak and based on actor Ahmed Tobasi’s childhood, AND HERE I AM presents a black comedy, showing the protagonist’s life from armed resistance fighter to artist and refugee, spanning both the First and Second Palestinian Intifadas. The performance will be followed by a post-show discussion with actor Ahmed Tobasi and director Zoe Lafferty.

Tickets available here.

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

AS FAR AS MY FINGERTIPS TAKE ME

Installation – Liverpool Central Library – 12/07-14/07

Taking place through a gallery wall, AS FAR AS MY FINGERTIPS TAKE ME acts as a medium for dialogue through touch and sound between an audience member and a refugee. Devised by Tania El Khoury and performed by Basel Zaraa, this interactive installation allow people who have recently experienced border discrimination to show and share their stories.

FREE but booking required here.

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

BANTHOLOGY: LITERATURES FROM BANNED COUNTRIES

With Zaher Omareen, Cristina Ali Farah and Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (pictured).

Bluecoat – 13/07

In January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, as well as halting refugee admissions for 120 days. LITERATURES FROM BANNED COUNTRIES brings together writers from some of the seven banned countries and asks what the role of art is in such times?

Tickets available here.

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

ALSARAH AND THE NUBATONES

Sefton Park Palm House – 16/07

Led by Sudanese-born, Brooklyn-based singer Alsarah, ALSARAH AND THE NUBATONES bonded over a mutual love of Nubian music, as well as the intersections between culture, music and migration. Together, their music comes alive, combining traditional music from central Sudan and Nubian songs of diaspora and migration with contemporary influences. Read our interview with Alsarah here.

FREE

LAAF 2017 HIGHLIGHTS Image 7

LAAF UNISON FAMILY DAY

Sefton Park Palm House – 16/07

Acting as the finale for LAAF, Family Day brings an array of exciting acts and activities to the beautiful Sefton Park Palm House. Aside from ALSARAH AND THE NUBATONES, this year’s line-up includes LONDON SYRIAN ENSEMBLE and REHAM AL-HAKIMI AND THE AL AWADHEL BAND, who will be performing a range of traditional and contemporary Syrian and Yemeni music respectively. In addition to music and dance acts, there will be cultural cuisine, an Arabian souk, and family activities, including storytelling, henna and children’s craft – this crowning jewel in the LAAF calendar is not to be missed!

FREE

 

Liverpool arab Arts Festival takes place from 8th to 16th July. For more details on the programme and tickets, head to arabartsfestival.com

RELATED
CURRENT ISSUE Bido Lito! Issue landscape Ad PLAYLIST
Portrait Ad Ad