Art Shines a Light
The Mosaic Rooms has also been hosting an exhibit entitled Working from Life by contemporary Moroccan artist Abderrahim Yamou. Says the museum on its website: “Yamou is inspired by the natural world, by organic processes, continuity and change, the tensions and instabilities of boundaries and of spaces in between.”
Running from the middle of the festival until the spring—long after the festival ends—the Victoria and Albert Musuem Porter Gallery will be hosting an exhibit entitled Light from the Middle East: New Photography featuring photographs by 30 artists from 13 countries including photojournalism, digital art, and staged photography.
This is the third year of the festival, which has now grown considerably and includes an extensive cultural program taking place at various venues.
When the festival started in 2010, programs were held at Leighton House. This year they have expanded to include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ismaili Centre, the Mosaic Rooms, and the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, amongst other sites.
Within the festival are to be found sub-festivals: the London MENA Film Festival (Middle Eastern and North African Film Festival) and the London Iranian Film Festival, making the Nour Festival one of the largest and most important explorations of Middle Eastern culture in London this year.
These festivals include feature films as well as short films and documentaries. Missing, a three-minute short from Jordan shows a child experiencing war who misses his more peaceful past. In My Mother’s Arms is a documentary that addresses the experiences of Iraqi children in an orphanage which is struggling to maintain the capacity to stay open. Majid from Morocco also deals with legacies of violence and war—in this case how a ten year old orphan tries to reconstruct memories of his parents and deal with the trauma he has experienced by losing his parents in a violent and devastating way.
During October there is a flowering of Algerian culture and film all across London—from the Algerian cultural festival hosted by RICHMIX on 20 October to the screening of Algerian films at the MENA Film Festival and the London Film Festival.
How Big is Your Love is a joint production from Algeria and Morocco set in Algiers that will screen at the MENA Film Festival, addressing how an eight-year-old Algerian boy moves to live with his grandparents in the context of the marriage upheavals from which his parents are suffering and explores this significant life transition.
Photography workshops will take place at the Victoria and Albert Musuem (V&A) and at Al-Manaar and the Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in November that explore that V&A’s Light from the Middle East exhibition. Participants will afterwards be invited to display their work at the museum.
An outdoor artistic commission by Nadia Hammoud, entitled Tea and Coffee, explores how tea and coffee bring people together in friendship, love, and conversation, at home and while traveling and can be viewed from October through March on Portobello Road.
The Nour Festival has a particularly extensive program of music on offer. In October the Attab Haddad Ensemble whose compositions are said to draw on Flamenco, Arabic and Turkish music will perform at the Leighton House Musuem while Tunisian musician Emel Mathlouthi, whose tracks are described by David Honigmann of the Financial Times as “anthems to popular risings from the Jasmin Revolution in her home country.” will perform at the Tabernacle.
A highlight of the musical program is the day symposium, Middle Eastern and North African Music: Contemporary Contexts, Future Trends, which will take place at the Ismaili Centre. The symposium will address “how to promote Middle Eastern and North African music in the UK, the consequences of social and cultural changes in the Arab World on the music industry, and doing business in Europe with music from the MENA region.”