Over the past few years, due to extensive global media reporting, the majority of Islamic items making mainstream news pages or television screens tended to be associated with negative aspects of the Muslim and Islamic cultural identity. This has been damaging for all communities, resulting in some barriers being rebuilt that initially took decades of hard work to banish.
The Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival is a wonderful way for people to experience customs from one of the world’s most beautiful and celebrated cultures. The PCS intends to use the arts to communicate on various different levels; this will include drama, music (Sufi / Qawwali) and dance (Arabic).
The event will allow people to soak up the rich heritage that radiates from Islamic culture and learn about traditional elements, which are shared and celebrated in this Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival.
The festival is being supported by: Northern Rock Foundation, Tyne & Wear Museums and Arts Council England, North East.
The PCS is proud to be working in partnership with so many venues across Tyne & Wear, as they look to host the performances, exhibitions and open days.
The venues will include: Caedmon Hall (Gateshead), Dance City (Newcastle), Discovery Museum (Newcastle City Centre) and The Little Theatre (Gateshead).
Please find below a calendar of Islamic Arts & Heritage festival events:
Saturday 08 November
Silk Roads – Islamic Open Day
The family event is free to all and will include various interactive workshops including Sufi frame-drumming, Batik and calligraphy.
There will also be a selection of live performances including storytelling, Arab Folkloric dancing and calligraphy painting.
The family event will also be the perfect opportunity to showcase a collection of work produced during a recent community project, Near and Far. The creative programme has seen a group of young local people working closely with Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, Artistic Director of a creative company called ZENDEH Laboratories.
The exciting project has enabled the young people to construct landscapes around the identity of hidden characters.
Also during the open day, there will be an arts workshop delivered by Waseem Aslam and Wajid Hussain, who will teach painting, calligraphy and creative writing – enabling young people to explore the fascinating aspects of Islamic identity and culture.
The open day will enable interested people to purchase traditional Islamic products including artworks and textiles.
Venue: The Discovery Museum (Great Hall), Blandford Square, Newcastle
Time & Price: 10.00am – 4.30pm, FREE
** SUFI SPECTACULAR**
Saturday 15 November:
The PCS presents an exhilarating evening of traditional SUFI MUSIC in the gracious company of The AL-FARABI ENSEMBLE. The entertainment will include divine Sufi melodies complemented by a spectacular dance performance of ‛Tanoura’ – a style of whirling that originates from Egypt.
The experience is made all the more magical when the sounds from the traditional instruments beautifully blend with the passionate vocals. This is accompanied by the Shafeek dancer who whirls in a multi-coloured heartfelt Sufi tradition, reminding the audience that Sufi music is ‘music for the soul’.
Venue: Caedmon Hall, GATESHEAD
Time & Price: 8pm / £10 / £7
Ticket Hotline: (0191) 433 8420
Saturday 22 November:
QAWWALI – a feast of World Music
Nizami Bros (Delhi) / Taufiq Niazi + Ghulam Khusro (Karachi)
QAWWALI originates from the Indian sub-continent and is the devotional music of the Sufi’s.
The genre has changed over the past two decades mainly to suit Western audiences who are enjoying world music more than ever before. People will be treated to an evening of wonderful music based in the traditional ragas of Indian music and poetry from some of the world’s leading Sufi performers.
Venue: The Little Theatre, Saltwell View, GATESHEAD
Time & Price: 7.30pm / £10 / £7
Ticket Hot-line: (0191) 4781499 / www.littletheatregateshead.com
Saturday 29 November
Arabic Dance Showcase
ILA-HAIFA by Al-Zaytouna
ILA-HAIFA is a dance-drama where the stage is brought to life by an invigorating display of DABKE (Arabic dance style).
DABKE is the national dance of Palestine and is a good means to show Palestinian culture because of its artistic presentation of Palestinian life and celebrations especially in weddings, harvests and other symbols of regeneration. The meaning of “Dabke” in Arabic is “stomping of the feet”, this action accompanied by jumping and kicking, are moves that characterise Dabke’s unique dance energy.
AL-ZAYTOUNA is a UK based Palestinian Dabke dance group that aims to provide diverse audiences the opportunity to experience Palestinian Dabke in a variety of performances, workshops and classes.
Venue: Dance City / Temple Street, NEWCASTLE
Time & Price: 7.30pm / £10 / £7
Ticket-hotline: (0191) 2610505 or buy online www.dancecity.co.uk
Pakistan Cultural Society (PCS):
The PCS is one of the North East’s most astute and forward-thinking arts development organisations with over fifteen years experience of actively promoting the richness and diversity of South Asian Arts.
The visionary cultural group prides itself in the programming of exciting and dynamic concerts, events, festivals, education workshops and commissions for regional, national and international audiences.
The PCS also delivers Arts and Health sessions for residents of South Asian BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities in Newcastle; exploring the opportunities to develop other wellbeing projects throughout the region.
“The PCS strives to empower people with information they might find useful when wishing to learn about different cultures that make up our diverse modern day society,” said Munmun KC, Director of PCS.
Munmun continues: “The festival is a perfect opportunity for the arts community to recognise the vision of PCS and reflect the vision of our organisation. Not only do we aspire to bring some of the world’s leading performers to the region, we also wish to develop the North East’s own creative talent.”
Mark Robinson, Executive Director, Arts Council England, North East said: “We are delighted to support the work of the Pakistan Cultural Society. It’s increasingly important that we all understand more about how different faiths express themselves culturally. Islamic art has both a tremendous heritage and a vibrant future and this festival gives North East audiences a chance to explore that.”
The Next Move:
For further information about the PCS and all of the aforementioned cultural activities please contact (0191) 2743030 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org alternatively visit the official website www.pakistanculturalsociety.co.uk