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2016 Festival

Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 July 2016
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival: Undocumented

The 2016 festival, which ran from 16-24 July 2016, explored the theme ‘Undocumented’. LAAF chairman Taher Qassim remarked: “The theme Undocumented is born from the fact that we’re faced with a daily barrage of negative messages from the media about Arab people and places in the Arab world, and we hear little of the vibrant art and cultural contributions of Arab artists.

Highlights of the festival included a presentation of the work of acclaimed Egyptian/UK-based painter, muralist and illustrator Nazir Tanbouli; the UK premiere of one of Cairo’s foremost artists. We commissioned Tanbouli to produce two large-scale calligraphy works, which he created in front of live audiences and were shown in both the World Museum and Bluecoat.

Belbaladi by Ezzat Ezzat Dance Company, was an exploration of the most common gestures used in Egyptian body language. Joon Dance’s Ancient Modernity was a living, breathing, dancing museum of modern Egyptian culture. The Big Sunday event brought a carnival atmosphere to Bluecoat on July 17 featuring a range of performances by Arab musicians including Palestinian Ruba Shamshoum, and Liverpool-born teenage Yemeni singer Reham Al-Hakimi. This was accompanied by dance performances and workshops, children’s cultural crafts, visual art, literature and debate.

The annual LAAF Family Day was held in Sefton Park Palm House on July 24. For the first time the event ran in conjunction with Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) to showcase some of the hottest Arab musical talent, including internationally acclaimed group Tarabband, and Glastonbury showstoppers 47SOUL. Yaz Fentazi Trio brought their special fusion of classical Arabic, Chaabi; Gnawa, led by Algerian Oud player Yazid Fentazi; and Whirling Dervish/Sufi Mahmoud Pharaon performed to thousands of people.