Cult Couture, Gay Rights and Messages from Tahrir: Nour Festival Enters its Final Month
Celebrating Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African film, photography, music, fashion and more in a Festival that challenges preconceptions and breaks taboos.
- NOUR FESTIVAL OF ARTS 2011: until 30 November, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ
- Rare opportunity to join leading artists and experts from around the world to explore contemporary art and life in the Middle East.
- IMAGES: http://bit.ly/nourmedia
The Nour Festival of Arts is a unique opportunity to become immersed in the latest contemporary arts and culture from across the Middle East and North Africa through fashion, literature, film, cookery, poetry and photography.
The first month of the festival has been hugely popular, with sell-out events such as the UK film premiere of Damascus With Love, and an evening of Arabic Hip-Hop with Moroccan MC Master Mimz and her unique brand of politically inspired rap, attracting people from all over the Capital.
Throughout its final month the Nour Festival will build upon this success and continue to give audiences the rare opportunity to meet leading artists, film makers, authors and experts as they present their work in the Arab inspired surroundings of Leighton House Museum, an international symbol of East meeting West.
Forthcoming highlights include:
- Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East (26 October 7.00 - 8.00pm) - Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor of the Guardian, explores the controversial subject of homosexuality in Islamic countries.
- Representing Saudi (29 October, 7.00 – 8.00pm): Sisters and contemporary artists Shadia and Raja Alem on being chosen to represent Saudi Arabia at the Venice Art Biennale in 2011 - the first time the country had participated in the world’s most prestigious art exhibition.
- Messages from Tahrir (22 November 7.00 – 8.00pm): Photographer Karima Khalil discusses her astonishing and deeply moving images which capture the protests that brought down Mubarak.
- Ziad Ghanem (26 November, 7.00 – 8.00pm) - Internationally acclaimed fashion designer and winner of ‘Best in Show’ at London Fashion Week 2010 – showcases a brand new specially created collection in his distinctive ‘Cult Couture’ style.
Now in its second year, The Nour Festival takes place at Leighton House Museum, part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Culture Service. [Full festival listings below and online at www.nourfestival.co.uk]
Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment, and Leisure Services said: “I am delighted to report sell-out audiences at all this year’s Nour Festival events so far. The timing of it could not be more apposite. The coming month looks particularly exciting as it brings together internationally renowned artists, authors and film-makers who are documenting and exploring the radical changes currently taking place across the Middle East and North Africa.
“The Nour Festival is a showcase of those values of diversity, cosmopolitanism, creativity and cultural excellence, which make Kensington and Chelsea such a remarkably interesting place to visit, live or work in. We look forward to welcoming you – whether for the first time or as a regular visitor - to Leighton House during the final month of the 2011 Nour Festival.”
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Nour Festival – Public booking information
Location: Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ.
Ticket prices: Events are either free or ticketed. The listings information below details costs and tickets where applicable.
Booking and further information: The Festival will be detailed in full online at: www.nourfestival.co.uk
Press Information and Images: Kallaway PR
William Kallaway, , 020 7221 7883
Susannah Glynn, , 020 7221 7883
Download the Festival guide, view images and all listings here: http://bit.ly/nourmedia
About the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Culture Service
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is home to a vibrant community of creative people; from large cultural institutions to independent producers, performers, artists and creative businesses. The Culture Service is building on the uniqueness and identity of the Royal Borough to drive major creative ventures, fresh ideas, talent, creative exchanges and nurturing networks that benefit all who visit, live and work in the Royal Borough.
About Leighton House Museum
Located on the edge of Holland Park in Kensington, the house is one of the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century.
The house was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896). The Arab Hall is the centerpiece of the house. Designed to display Leighton's priceless collection of over a thousand Islamic tiles, mostly brought back from Damascus in Syria, the interior with its gold mosaics, marble columns and golden dome evokes a compelling vision of the Orient.
The opulence continues through the other richly decorated interiors, with elaborate mosaic floors and walls lined with peacock blue tiles by the ceramic artist William De Morgan. On the first floor is the Silk Room with its display of paintings by Leighton’s friends and contemporaries and the grand painting studio with its great north window, dome and apse – the room in which all Leighton’s important later works were produced including the celebrated Flaming June.
Leighton rose to become the President of the Royal Academy in 1878 and the pre-eminent classical painter of his age. He remains the only British artist to have been raised to the peerage, becoming Baron Leighton of Stretton just before he died. He was buried in St Paul’s cathedral amidst great ceremony.
The house was restored to great acclaim in 2009 and contains a number of the paintings and objects that originally belonged to Leighton.
Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East
Brian Whitaker in conversation with Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Wednesday, October 26
7.00 – 8.00pm (doors open 6.30pm)
Free event. Booking essential on 020 7471 9153
Brian Whitaker was Middle East editor at The Guardian for seven years and is currently an editor for the newspaper’s Comment is Free website. He is the author of “Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East” (Saqi Books, 2006) and “What’s Really Wrong WithThe Middle East” (Saqi Books, 2009). His website www.al-bab.com is devoted to Arab culture and politics. Saeed Kamali Dehghan is an Iranian journalist. He has written for the Guardian from the Iranian capital, Tehran, and was there during the crisis following the disputed presidential election in 2009. He is now based in London and was named 2010 Journalist of the Year at the Foreign Press Association Awards.
Hassan Hajjaj and Leighton House present...
Thursday 27 October
7.00 – 10.00pm (doors open 6.30pm, main act from 8.00pm)
Free admission. Early arrival recommended, limited capacity.
Sona Jobarteh is the only female virtuoso Kora player. She comes from a prestigious West AfricanGriot (storyteller) family that has a long line of hereditary musicians going back hundreds of years, and breaks with the father to son tradition. She is the granddaughter of the master Griot, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, and cousin of the celebrated Kora maestro Toumani Diabate. As a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and producer, Sona works with musicians from around the world.
Parallax Media in association with Leighton House Museum presents two short films as part of the Nour Festival of Arts
Museum admission applies
Directed by James Neil & Sahide Sanin | 2011 |
35mm | 15 minutes | UK
The Park follows a woman’s search for her lover who has mysteriously disappeared. She visits different parts of London and the city’s streets and inhabitants appear in a new light with heightened dimensions. Her path takes her to museums, galleries and the Arab quarter of Edgware Road, provoking memories and questions which reveal truths about men, women, love and modern life.
Directed by Sahide Sanin & James Neil | 2011 |
HD | 15 minutes | UK
Museum admission applies
A young English-Turkish couple live in a small house with their five-year-old daughter. News bulletins promise better economic times, yet this is not reflected in the family’s situation. One day unwanted visitors to the flat jeopardise the family’s fragile sense of being as the mother is placed in an impossible situation.
James Neil is a filmmaker, producer, and film curator. He co-curated the “Women’s Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran film festival” and is the founding director of Parallax Media, which is dedicated to film and the visual arts.
Sahide Sanin worked as a fringe theatre director in Istanbul and then moved to London to study filmmaking.
She directed the short film “Salma’s Day” and is completing an MA Photojournalism at the University of the Arts: London College of Communication. She is currently developing her next film “The Return”.
Thursdays November 3, 10, 17
2.00 – 4.00pm
Museum admission applies
An opportunity for members of the public to meet with renowned chef, Anissa Helou, in the main studio space at Leighton House Museum. Over three Thursdays, Anissa will discuss various topics relevant to Middle Eastern cuisine and hold some basic cookery demonstrations.
November 3 - Anissa will have a selection of essential Middle Eastern ingredients on show and will explain to visitors how they are used in classic dishes. She will also give advice on where to find them in London and how to buy and store them.
November 10 - This afternoon is all about spices, especially the different mixtures, including Moroccan ras el-hanout, Lebanese seven-spice mixture and Persian advieh. Anissa will have some of the spice mixtures with her and will demonstrate how to prepare some of them. She will give out the recipe for one of the spice mixtures.
November 17 - Anissa will demonstrate how to preserve seasonal produce through pickling. She will show how to make the brine and will explain about ratios to create the perfect brining solution, both for taste and for preservation.
Saturday November 12
2.00 – 4.00pm
Strictly limited to 20 places. Booking essential on 020 7471 9153 or visit
In this special masterclass at Leighton House with Anissa Helou, participants will learn about Middle Eastern recipes and how to prepare distinctive types of dips. Dips are an essential part of the Arab mezze and for this special Saturday masterclass, Anissa will demonstrate how to make three beautiful dips: a beautiful ivory smoky grilled aubergine with tahini and lemon juice; a striking purple beetroot with tahini and lemon juice; and a brilliant orange butternut squash with tahini and lemon juice.
The Chef’s Kitchen
Saturday November 26
2.00 – 4.00pm
Strictly limited to 20 places.
Booking essential on 020 7471 9153 or visit www.wegottickets.com/LeightonHouseMuseum
Leighton House Museum is delighted to offer a special visit to Anissa Helou’s kitchen to see how she works and what a chef/food writer needs in their kitchen-studio. For this special afternoon, Anissa will explain how she writes and tests her recipes, what is involved in her research and what are the essential tools of her trade.
Visitors will be offered a tasting of mini za’tar bites. Za’tar is a mixture of dried thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. It is mixed with olive oil and used as a topping for flat breads that are the quintessential Lebanese breakfast. Anissa has tweaked the traditional recipe and she uses the za’tar/olive oil mixture on tiny disks of puff pastry to produce elegant bites that have the same flavour as the Lebanese manaqish (the name of the za’tar flat bread) but a lighter, crisp texture. This is a rare opportunity not to be missed.
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