Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
16/07–14/10 – Various venues
The new-look version of the annual festival returns this summer with an extensive multidisciplinary programme of digital and in-person events to showcase Arab culture. The first wave of the festival programme, spanning from July to August, includes the world premiere of Eating the Copper Apple by poet lisa luxx which raises questions about identity from several complex perspectives.
An installation by artist Jessica El Mal named Grounds for Concern (16/07-15/08) questions the concept of land ownership and the true boundaries enforced by human-made borders. An insightful panel discussion entitled Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World (22/07) will focus on journalists reporting on their changing homeland. Among the guests are Aida Alami, Eman Helal, Heba Shbani and the editor of the book on which the event is based Zahra Hankir.
LAAF is the UK’s longest running festival of Arab arts and culture, encouraging people to explore and appreciate Arab people and their rich heritage. This year’s event will be an artist-led response to the climate emergency in the Middle East and North African region (MENA). The climate crisis is being disproportionately felt in the MENA region as it faces scorching temperatures, rising sea levels and diminishing resources. Through performances and visual art, the festival will see artists express the lived experiences of those from the region as well as addressing the interconnected issues of imperialism, climate justice and capitalism.
There will also be a new LAAF commission titled 22, a major project that invites 22 Arab creatives from 22 nations to create a multidisciplinary artistic anthology of climate emergency in the MENA region today.
In response to Covid-19, this year’s LAAF will be expanding from its usual two-week festival period in the summer to a much longer festival spanning nearly four months. The programme will include a mix of physical and online events to celebrate the best in Arab arts and culture, while connecting physical audiences in Liverpool with digital audiences around the world.