Written by Joobin Bekhrad
The Nour Festival of Arts, a festival celebrating all that is wonderful about Middle Eastern arts & culture (sound familiar?), will be returning for its third edition in London this October and November. Although the festival was previously held exclusively at the exotic Leighton House Museum, this year’s event will see a series of cultural organisations also host and partake in the celebrations. The Victoria & Albert Museum, the Mosaic Rooms, and the Science Museum are just three of a number of prestigious venues that will feature an array of exciting events.
Organised by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the festival’s mandate is to celebrate the contemporary arts & culture of the Middle East and North Africa in the domains of film, literature, music, visual arts, fashion, dance, and cuisine (trust us, we’re not involved!).
Conceived in 2010 at the Leighton House Museum, an edifice symbolising the meeting place of East and West, the Nour (meaning ‘light’ in many Middle Eastern languages) Festival is religiously and politically neutral in its approach to celebrating arts & culture, and will be realised in collaboration with numerous partners, including the Iran Heritage Foundation, the Arab British Centre, the British Egyptian Society, and the London Arab Music Festival.
Among the brilliant events scheduled for this year’s edition, the Festival has noted a number of highlights which are expected to stand out in particular. For one, the festival’s Writer-in-Residence, Selma Debbagh, will host a series of workshops on writing and publishing. Additionally, Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi and Lebanese musician Charbel Rouhana will play a series of concerts at the Tabernacle, and festival goers can view a graphic and spatial design exhibition by Muiz Anwar and Dia Batal at the Leighton House Museum, as well as Moroccan artist Abderrahim Yamou’s first-ever UK exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms. Furthermore, the V&A Museum will host a group photography exhibition entitled Light from the Middle East, and in association with the London MENA Film Festival, screenings of films from emerging Middle Eastern and North African filmmakers will be shown at the Leighton House Museum.
This autumn, needless to say, will be anything but dreary in London!
This article first appeared in Reorient Magazine