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Hassan Khan: Taraban

Taraban is inspired by two Egyptian songs by Youssef El Manialawy from the early 20th century. Hassan Khan worked with a group of singers and musicians to develop a piece that employs the same modes and transitions as the original songs, yet allowing for improvisation. The musicians working with Khan played the oud, qanoun, violin and riqq. On stage, Khan uses filters, processors, virtual synthesizers, live mics, a battery of feedbacking mixers and laptop manipulation on top of the pre-composed and recorded sections. All the music performed is live. Hassan Khan (b. 1975) is an artist, musician and writer based in Cairo. Recent ...

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ملف من الأرشيف: نظيرة زين الدين

[ينشر ملف من الأرشيف عادة بالتعاون مع جريدة السفير. لكن المادة أدناه من تأليف بنان غرامش]       نظيرة زين الدين  الاسم: نظيرة زين الدين الحلبي. تاريخ الولادة: ولدت عام 1908 لعائلة لبنانية. والدها شيخ ورئيس أول محكمة استئناف في لبنان، وهو القاضي سعيد زين الدين. مكان الولادة: من عائلة ريفية في قرية "محلة نصر" بمحافظة البحيرة في منطقة الدلتا في وقت عانت فيه أسر الفلاحين من الضرائب والقوانين المجحفة التي فرضتها الحكومة في مصر بحق الفلاحين. المهنة: مفكرة ومصلحة من المنادين بالإصلاح والتجديد. تجرأت على الدخول في مجال الفقه الإسلامي المُحْتَكر من قبل الرجال. قدمت قراءة تفسيرية جديدة للقرآن فيما يتعلق بالآيات التي ...

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The Flow and Entrapment of Syrian Jazira Music

[Crop of Image of Omar Souleyman performing at Perth International Arts Festival 2011. Image by Stuart Sevastos.]

I was surprised when I received an email from a Palestinian friend asking if I would like to go to a concert by a Syrian singer, Omar Souleyman, who was performing at a popular club in central London in 2010. The email included a link to a YouTube clip of Souleyman singing at a local wedding in Syria. I was familiar with Souleyman’s genre of music and knew to correctly associate it with the northeast region of the country, known as the Jazira, but I had never heard of him before. A group of us eventually went to the concert. Preceded by a Japanese band, Souleyman took the stage wearing the traditional dress of thob and kuffiyya. Seemingly the only Arabs in the club, ...

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نقش حرّان اللجاة: خيبر أم جُبير؟

[صورة الكلمة التي تمثل الرقم 400 في نقشي أسيس وحران]

يعد نقش حران اللجاة، الذي عثر عليه في جبل العرب (جبل الدروز) في سوريا في القرن التاسع عشر، واحدا من أهم النقوش العربية قبل الإسلام. بل لعله أهم هذه النقوش كما يقول الدكتور جواد على: "وهذا النص هو من أهم النصوص المتقدمة، وأكثرها قيمة بالنسبة لمؤرخ اللغة العربية، لأنه نص دون بلهجة القرآن الكريم، باستثناء أثر سهل للنبطية برز عليه... فأنت أمام نص عربي واضح، تفهمه من دون صعوبة ولا مشقة. على حين نجد النصوص الأخرى وقد كتبت بنبطية متأثرة بالعربية الشمالية بعض التأثر. ولهذا فإني أفرق بين هذا النص وبين النصوص السابقة له، وأعده أول نص وصل الينا حتى هذا اليوم كتب بلهجة عربية القرآن الكريم"(1). ونقش حران هذا ثنائي اللغة، كتب بالعربية واليونانية. أما النص العربي فيقول: ...

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Studio Visit: Photographer Lina Hashim

Lina Hashim is an Iraqi photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She focuses on ways through which Arab emigrants adapt to their lives in Northern Europe and balance their lives with their cultural values and religious beliefs. Hashim studied anthropology and photography and is currently enrolled at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She focused over the past three years on two main projects: “Unlawful meetings” and “No wind - with hijab”. Hashim compares her role in the first to that of a “spy” who takes snapshots of intimate meetings between second generation Arab emigrants in public spaces; this project was compared to the work of Japanese photographer Kohei ...

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October Culture

[Art by Sabhan Adam (Syria). Image from discover-syria.com]

Our October culture bouquet arrives a bit late, but heavy on poetry, original, and translated; Marilyn Hacker, Deema Shehabi, and Sheida Dayani share their new poems. Sinan Antoon translates Amjad Nasser and Ghatfan Ghannum, and Suneela Mubayi translates a poem by Wadi Saadeh. Margot Badran reviews Qarm Qart's latest exhibtion:  Margot Badran, Moving in the Maze with Cairene Artist Qarm Qart Marilyn Hacker and Deema Shehabi, Excerpts from Diaspo/Renga Sheida Dayani, The Ordinary Man of this Neighborhood Amjad Nasser, Questioning Ibn Arabi, tr. Sinan Antoon Wadi Saadeh, An Attempt to Reach Beirut from Beirut, tr. Suneela Mubayi Ghatfan Ghannum, To Carry ...

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Amjad Nasser: Questioning Ibn Arabi

[Amjad Nasser. Image from author]

  Questioning Ibn Arabi Amjad Nasser I From Seville to Damascus where I plunged through the scents of Salhiyya’s kitchens and the voices of its persistent sellers until I found you. The sky might be one and the same. . . with clouds raining here and refraining there, with angels absorbed in arranging a mercy that does not arrive, or with migrating birds whose craws carry the shots of pursuing guns. Others carrying the hay of their original homes in their beaks, making winter meet summer. The stars Stay up guarding their dust-covered silver Someone is counting the money of wakefulness with his hands And someone is sleeping by the night’s full eye II The ...

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The Ordinary Man of this Neighborhood

[Artwork by Yusif Abdelke (Syria, 1951). Image from Wikipedia]

The Ordinary Man of This Neighborhood   When all he expected was coldness and pain And all he received in return Was a normalcy of life to a power unimaginable By his afflicted mind, Then he The ordinary man of this neighborhood Living somewhere in the state of New York Has either been exiled, Or has immigrated And thinks of himself as having been exiled. The ordinary man of this neighborhood Now follows the flow; He sometimes may object to the law But in general, favors the order And adapts to normalcy. Once a fighter far away, The ordinary man of this neighborhood Now wakes up on a regular basis Like his other neighbors – His ...

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Soren Thilo Funder

 September 2014, Copenhagen This week we feature Danish filmmaker and artist Soren Thilo Funder. Funder likes to make films about films and the process of cinematic production. In “The Adaptation” audiences get to see the performers in WWII French military uniforms, but also wearing GoPro cameras, breaking up the process. He also allows places and chance to do their part. While filming in Vedung, France, he saw a teenager, rollerblading over an old battlefield, and decided to include him in the work. In this video, we visit Funder at his studio in Copenhagen and discuss his process for creating his work. This video was produced by Medrar.TV in partnership with ...

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Larissa Sansour

September 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark In our second video produced with Kopenhagen Channel, we feature Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour, shedding light on her latest film in the works, titled “In the future, they ate from the finest porcelain.” The film offers a meta-comment on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and is set like several of Sansour’s recent works in a futuristic sci-fi context. Sansour was born in East Jerusalem in 1973. She studied art in London, New York and Copenhagen, and is currently based in the UK. Sansour works across different artistic media, often tackling issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict with sarcasm and borrowing much from pop ...

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Press Release: Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA Hails Divestment Victory & Thanks All Supporters

[The following press release was issued on 19 November 2014 by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of California Los Angeles] For Immediate Release Students for Justice in Palestine Hails Divestment Victory, Thanks all Supporters Contact: sjpucla1@gmail.com Divestment organizers at UCLA, representing a wide coalition of students from all backgrounds and sectors of campus, celebrated a milestone victory for social justice with the passage of "A Resolution to Divest from Corporations Engaged in Violence against Palestinians." The resolution, sponsored by Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, Conrad Contreras, and Manjot Singh, passed by an ...

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Armenian Diaspora Tourism in Turkey: An Interview with Anny Bakalian

[Travelers wearing red, blue, and orange shirts, the colors of the flag of the Republic of Armenia, pose with Mount Ararat behind them (2014). Image by Anny Bakalian.]

[This interview explores the rising phenomenon of diaspora Armenians traveling throughout Anatolia, following their ancestors’ footprints. Specifically, it focuses on the following questions: What is the meaning of Armenian diaspora tourism to Turkey? Is it a return to the homeland? What emotions do travelers share along the trip? What are typical encounters between the tourists and the locals?] Sinem Adar (SA): You have been travelling with other Armenians from the diaspora to different parts of Anatolia since 2009. Let’s begin with what made you decide to undertake these travels. Anny Bakalian (AB): Like most Armenians, I grew up with stories about the places where ...

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Historical Realities of Concept Pop: Debating Art in Egypt

Today, every phenomenon of culture, even if a model of integrity, is liable to be suffocated in the cultivation of kitsch. Yet paradoxically in the same epoch it is to works of art that has fallen the burden of wordlessly asserting what is barred to politics.                                     -Adorno, “Commitment” Over the past ...

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Mohamed Abla Painting Award

Acclaimed Egyptian painter Mohamed Abla starts a painting competition and prize for the first time in 2014, awarding selected artists a group show at the Cairo Opera House, and one painter EGP 20 thousand. In December, over 100 artists below thirty applied to the competition which accepts works of painting, collage and mixed media. Twenty-two artists were selected to exhibit their work, and Mai Sebai received the first prize. The selection jury was made up of a group of established artists in the local ...

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Basim Magdy: Measuring the Last Breaths of Time on a Fading Scale

For his solo show at Gypsum Gallery, Egyptian artist Basim Magdy presents a photography series of subliminal landscapes, produced from film that has been altered with household chemicals. Magdy shot the photographs in various locations and times and then treated them with chemicals, spurring hazy, mythical colors upon the images. He also exhibits a short film titled Time Laughs Back at You Like a Sunken Ship (2012). Shot on super 8 and transferred to HD, the film examines how people ...

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New Texts Out Now: Abir Hamdar, The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature

Abir Hamdar, The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Abir Hamdar (AH): The whole project was triggered by a question from a friend. She was suffering from a chronic illness and said she found solace in reading about the stories of women with similar experiences. As someone who works on Arabic literature, she had asked me to recommend Arabic literary works that narrate the ...

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Maurice Louca: It Will Set

March 2014, 100Copies Music Space This is one of eight tracks released by Maurice Louca in his second solo album, titled "Salute the Parrot." The track was made in collaboration with Alaa 50 (vocals), Alan Bishop (saxophone), Bashar Farran (bass) and Chris Michael Shaheen (drums). Louca performed several pieces from his album during his concert at 100Copies Music Space in March 2014. Louca was born in Cairo where he currently lives and works. He co-founded several bands over the ...

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To Carry Sisyphus and the Rock Together

To Carry Sisyphus and the Rock Together Ghatfan Ghannum  Tr. Sinan Antoon I do not care if I am number 1234, 4567, or any other number. There is no difference whatsoever if I become a refugee in the European continent. I held many names in the past. I travelled and moved in my country without fear of canons or airplanes. We only feared wolves and hyenas and used to hunt rabbits and birds. But we recorded the name of our country on history’s forehead so that our children would inherit its renown ...

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Excerpts from Diaspo/Renga

Excerpts from Diaspo/Rengi Marilyn Hacker and Deema Shehabi   M The Litani flows under the Pont Sully, past four Arabic bookshops.   (One is run by anarchists.) She stops to watch a barge pass.   The Crusaders gave her those blue-green eyes. Not that interrogative   smile at the cadence of wind tangling her kinky black hair.   D   Beneath the bougainvillea pot and the jasmine-latticed balcony, her brother looks back nervously   and sees the stray ...

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A Poem by Wadi Saadeh

An Attempt to Reach Beirut from Beirut Wadi Saadeh Dedicated to Sargon Boulos Did I have to step out today to stroke the enemies’ rocket with my small fingers to embark upon a road whose asphalt is melting as I recall the workers in its mine who were dismembered by dynamite as I recall its blind, its ancient bohemians who observe the earth being stripped of its skin like an immolated pirate Did I have to go to you After the last of my wrists died my feet, my hands embracing each other like ...

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Moving in the Maze with Cairene Artist Qarm Qart

Qaram Qart Restart  until 13 November 2014   Mashrabia Gallery, Cairo    People in Cairo, especially intensely in wust al-balad (central Cairo), are living in a maze imposed by the state.  Along with the people, the state is caught in the maze of its own making.  And if the state has imposed a maze, social convention sustains its own traps as well. The exhibition of artist Qarm Qart currently showing at the Mashrabia Gallery in downtown Cairo is the first to focus on ...

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Arab Jewish Identity and the Art of Hospitality: A Conversation with Michael Rakowitz

In the media clips below (produced by Creative Time Reports), the artist Michael Rakowitz speaks with independent curator Regine Basha and scholar Ella Habiba Shohat about the disappearance of Arab Jewish identity, in the context of their recent collaboration Dar Al Sulh, a temporary restaurant serving Iraqi Jewish cuisine in Dubai. The following introduction also appears courtesy of Creative Time Reports:

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شعراء ما بعد الطوفان

توطئة كان التغيير نفقا مجهولا ننتظر الضوء في آخره، وكنا نياما في المركب لا نعلم بأمر الطوفان، الطوفان في نهاية النفق. خرج لنا جيل ما بعد التغيير بصورة لامعة ومتفردة، مزج ألم الماضي بأمل المستقبل واضعين جسرا من التساؤلات بينهما. فتحت جفوننا الشعرية بعدهم على الطوفان، على الفاجعة والدم، طوفان الدم لنصبح شعراء ما بعد الطوفان. لكن الصورة ضبابية والسطح الأزرق للطوفان حاكاه سطح افتراضي يماثله باللون ويخالفه بالعزاء. قال لي الشاعر أحمد عبد الحسين ذات يوم "العدم أورثنا خلاصة الألم، لكنه أورثنا الشعر كذلك ...

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Kenneth Balfelt

In September, Medrar.TV organized an arts documentation workshop with Kopenhagen Channel to feature a selection of Danish and Arab artists working in Denmark. We start the series with a profile of Danish artist Kenneth Balfelt, who has been implementing projects in public spaces around the world for over a decade. His work is unique in its participatory and inclusive approach. In this video, for instance we focus on one of his latest projects at Folkets Park (meaning ‘People’s Park’). Balfelt has ...

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