We are delighted to invite you to the second in a series of events exploring themes of resistance and social change inspired by AKU-ISMC’s new book and current exhibition by Lebanese-Egyptian artist Bahia Shehab at the AKC Gallery.
Poet in the City Producers with Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations present an evening of conversation and live performance, exploring art as resistance in a climate of censorship.
Inspired by the powerful street art of activist and political protestor, Bahia Shehab, a panel of artists and activists will navigate the relationship between art and protest, guided by their personal experiences of conflict and resistance. Join us for an evening of poetry and performance hosted by writer and activist Salma El-Wardany and featuring contemporary poets Ola Elhassan and Zad El Bacha, and multi-instrumentalist Kareem Samara, that reflects on interrogating the power of art to signify resistance in public spaces, surpass censorship, and process personal experiences of violence and oppression.
Writer, poet and activist, Salma El-Wardany was born in Egypt and raised in the North of England, returning home to Cairo just in time for the Arab Spring. Between protesting and fighting in the revolution, she started a blog to document her experiences, discuss womanhood and explore the tumultuous identity of being female, of colour and Muslim. Since returning from Egypt she's set up an international business, worked with Edinburgh University on the Dangerous Woman Project, The British Library, The Wellcome Collection, given 2 TEDx Talks and writes for magazines like HuffPost, Buzzfeed, and Stylist. Salma was most recently published in the best-selling anthology ‘It’s Not About the Burqa’ and is working on her debut novel while also performing her poetry across the U.S and U.K, and is a BBC Radio London presenter. She also contributes to BBC 5Live and Monocle Radio.
Ola Elhassan is a Sudanese electrical engineer who grew up in Denmark and Sudan. She has been calling herself a poet for just over a year now. She has performed at the Ace Hotel Shoreditch alongside Nick Makoha, Kevin Coval and Safia Elhillo during their Break Beat tour of 2018, and more recently at the Somalinomo x Sawti event at the Roundhouse, curated by Amina Jama and Sumia Jaama.
Zad El Bacha's work combines their political and community building experience with Middle-Eastern poetic traditions to write on migration, sexual trauma, and sexual and gender identity. They won the London Writer's Awards this year for their narrative non-fiction work, and are the co-founder of Coriander, a theatre company of queer people of colour. They were commissioned to perform on the main stage for 10,000+ people at Ventimiglia Città Aperta, a protest on the border between Italy and France against the racist violence of the Salvini-Five Star Movement government. They were also one of the winners of Italy’s biggest poetry slam, PoverArte, in 2016, and have featured at the Ruskin School of Art and Hatchards with The Mays, among others.
Kareem Samara is a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer and political organiser. His particular area of interest is in diasporic identity and de-colonial possibilities of sound and music, with particular focus on sonic representations of place and time. As well as performing solo with traditional Arabic instruments and electronics, Kareem is a serial collaborator with musicians and poets worldwide. He performs solo and as a member of a trio with Ryan Harvey and Shireen Lilith, with whom he has released Thin Blue Border Volume 1 & 2 on Firebrand records, exploring the link between struggles such as Black Lives Matter, the Arab Spring and beyond.
Poet in the City Producers is a group of talented 16-25 year olds producing live events, discussions and campaigns to ensure young people have a stake in the future of poetry.
Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and Poet in the City Producers
Time and Venue
Thursday 26 November 2019, 19.00-20:30
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN
Book here to attend in person.