The Nour Festival of Arts kicks off at the Chelsea Theatre with a very personal exhibition by Amani Alsaad. project began when the artist viewed her own MRI scans. Amani Alsaad, a 22 year old Saudi Artist and Designer, based in west London, remained optimistic about her neurological problem, which was disturbing her studies. She started planting roses in her head, welcoming butterflies, adding quotes from the Quran, and being true to those things she believes are predestined. Her illustrations, through MRI printed scans displayed on light boxes, are a reflection on optimism and how things can appear better when looked at or treated in a certain way.
The Nour Festival is is now in its fourth year. Nour, which means light or illumination in many Middle Eastern languages, springs to life each October and November in venues across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and challenges preconceptions, sparks debate and provides insight into culture from across the MENA region.
A highlight this year is the Festivals' partnership with the Museum of Islamic Art [MIA], Doha which brings to London the remarkable exhibition Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuity in Afghan Art. Ferozkoh pairs together priceless historical objects from MIA's collection with modern-day interpretations by craftspeople from Afghanistan, created in response to, and in conversation with, the historical objects. Ferozkoh - which is also part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture - is MIA's first ever touring exhibition and will be on display at Leighton House Museum, the very embodiment of the meeting between East and West.
The festival's highly acclaimed programme of art, film, literature, music and performance has established Nour as a crucial meeting point for East and West. With long-term leadership provided by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Nour is the ever-exuberant expression of a growing family of partner organisations, and in 2013 Nour welcomes new partners such as the Royal Albert Hall, Chelsea Theatre, Kensington and Chelsea College, the Gate Theatre and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.
This year's programme offers an amazing array of attractions, boasting six art exhibitions, sixteen film screenings, fifteen thought-provoking talks and debates, fourteen performances across dance and drama, music and poetry, four evenings of special events, three cookery classes, eight workshops, a Souk and a Tour Bus. Explore the Nour Festival programme, find your own highlights, and take an unforgettable journey into the region, its cultures and art forms.
One workshop will let people try their hand at Arabic caligraphy. In partnership with the Prince's School of Traditional Arts, this workshop opens with an introduction to methods, tools and materials as well as the training involved in becoming a calligrapher. Participants will have a go at writing the Arabic alphabet using traditional soot ink and reed pen, following a proportional system. The workshop is led by Soraya Syed, a London-based calligraphic artist, who received the prestigious Icazetname Award from Istanbul in 2005. In her practice, she celebrates the constant tension between remaining true to her classical training while exploring further possibilities.The session will include a tour with the artist of her exhibition Hurriyah, and an opportunity to learn about the different techniques used to create the Hurriyah animation.
The Nour Festival of Arts runs from 1 October to 30 November 2013 at more than 20 venues across Kensington and Chelsea.
"Nour Festival of Arts 2013" kenzington & Chelsea Today October 1, 2013
"NOUR FESTIVAL 2013 announces its most ambitious programme ever" Nour 2013 press release 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today