Beginning 1 October until 30 November, the fourth edition of the Nour Festival of Arts will showcase contemporary art, design, film, music and literature from the Middle East and North Africa across over twenty venues in London.
The festival will take place mostly within the borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, where Arabic is the second spoken language of many of the inhabitants.
According to event organisers, this year's festival will be the most dynamic ever, as it will offer a large array of attractions, including: "six art exhibitions, sixteen film screenings, fifteen thought-provoking talks and debates, fourteen performances across dance and drama, music and poetry, four evenings of special events, three cookery classes, eight workshops, a Souk and a Tour Bus."
The festival's film section will present a series of films under themes: The London Kurdish Film Festival and The London Iranian Film Festival are planning to feature the works of film-makers from their respective countries, showcasing issues related to Kurdish and Iranian communities. The Short film evening will present eleven short movies from the MENA region – including Morocco, Qatar, Libya, Jordan and Palestine, including a film titled Honayn's Shoe by Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Ghazala.
The music section will feature performances of original music from various artists, who will demonstrate sounds from their respective countries, including elements of creative fusion. Brussels-born Anglo-Egyptian Natacha Atlas is one of several musicians forging cultural bridges through her music. Egyptian composer and musician Georges Kazazian will also enchant audiences with his compositions for the oud, included in his album Sabil.
Egyptian artists will also feature within the performance section of the Nour Festival. Dancer and choreographer Salah El Brogy "will respond to Soraya Syed’s Hurriyah exhibition with a solo performance, created especially for the spaces of Leighton House." Soraya Syed is a London-based calligraphic artist who explores the concept of 'freedom' in her works, which will be displayed during the festival.
Festival organisers have prioritised talks that will include artists and writers from the MENA region. Among topics tackled will be contemporary perspectives on known Arab literary works, and the current status of art and literature in the Arab and Islamic world.
Some discussion topics will revolve around the 'Arab Spring' and current politico-cultural realities of the chosen countries. As such, Tarek Osman, author of internationally acclaimed 'Egypt on the Brink, Which Foreign Policy?' will discuss the effect of the Arab Spring on Egyptian culture.
Featuring artists and intellectuals from across the Middle East and North Africa, London's Nour Festival hopes to cover the many facets of the region, allowing audiences to get acquainted with the many cultures in question and revise previous convictions they may have formed.
According to festival organisers, they hope to shed light (Nour) on the many preconceptions about the region, spark debate and provide interesting insight.
For more information about the Nour Festival for Arts, check their website here.