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RongRong & inri in London

RongRong & inri, the influential photographic husband and wife team who have shaped contemporary photography in China and around the world, are this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award.

 

In celebration of the award, a special exhibition of the couple’s current and past work will be shown at Somerset House, London from 22nd April – 8th May as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. It will be the first time many of their works have been shown together outside of Asia.

The artistic duo have been working together since 2000, with their works reflecting the intimate world that they have created together, while pushing the boundaries of traditional black-and-white darkroom techniques. Their past critically acclaimed series of works, such as Mt. Fuji, in Nature, Liulitun, and Tsumari Story focus on the beauty of the human body in nature and the urban environment. Their recent work brings attention to the beauty and value of new beginnings in their shared life and surroundings, especially amidst a rapidly changing world.

In 2007, RongRong & inri established the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in the Caochangdi art district of Beijing, the premier platform for international communication. They also started the annual Three Shadows Photography Award to discover and encourage China’s most promising photographers.

Congratulations both on receiving this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography award. Can you start by telling us your thoughts on the state of Chinese photography today?

Today, Chinese photography is very active, but as I’ve said on many occasions, it also has problems. It’s at a very “awkward” stage, the ecology is not “healthy”. Within the system, Chinese photography has not stepped up to the international stage, not many people identify with its artistic value. The problem exists in many aspects, for example, in the market, in the museum system, it can be said that up till now the museum collection of photography is “zero”, blank, only a few here and there but no systematic collection of works.

LiuLiTun, 2002, No.13 - © RongRong & inri

LiuLiTun, 2002, No.13 – © RongRong & inri

In the future, I think for sure China will have its own photography museum, it must have, but it’s a matter of time. It will need efforts from many people, even from critics, writers and researchers. Photography in the 21st century is the most powerful medium, but we (in China) face the problem of deciphering images. Photography originated from the West, but now it has also inevitably become part of our lives in this century as well. In the age of reading images, we seem blind. What is an image? So this caused many, many problems. In China there’s millions and millions of people interested in photography, but how to express their thoughts, make their voice heard is the question. Also for education and publication it’s also blank within the photographic ecology. Same with galleries and collectors, in China there’s very few photography collectors.

In my own case, when I first came to Beijing, and as an artist, my first solo show was inside a diplomatic space, it was in the French cultural department, in the home of the French cultural counsellors home…. maybe it’s because back then in Beijing there was no gallery, but gradually my works were exhibited abroad in international art fairs, but I thought it was very weird that my art could not be accepted even in my own country.

Take us back to the beginning of your collaboration. When and why did you start working together?

RongRong: It was when inri first came to China, we went together to shoot on the Great Wall and Jiayuguan (in the desert), and this was the start of our collaboration. She as an independent photographer had shot many photographs in Tokyo before we met, we each had our own works, for example I had East Village and Ruins, while inri had Tokyo 1999 and many other series. As photographers, we travelled with our cameras, but every time when she raised her camera to shoot, I instinctively tried to move out of the way, and when I shoot she also avoided being in the picture. When the landscape was so beautiful we both wanted to take a picture of it, and as we were trying to get away from each other’s lens, we thought why not leave the camera to the tripod and we do a picture together. So it was a “selfie”, the first of our collaborative work, everyone must have a photo with nature some time in their life.

In the Great Wall, China, 2000, No.3 - © RongRong & inri

In the Great Wall, China, 2000, No.3 – © RongRong & inri

Talk to us about your working relationship. How does an idea typically take shape and progress?

inri: The process of each series is different. We put ourselves into the very last part of each series creation, the selection of the works to form a series. And discussion is an important element in this process, also in the shooting process. In the beginning, we didn’t have a common language to discuss things, but when we knew each other’s language and could communicate, we could discuss a bit, and within the discussions there are controversies. When we look back at our projects now, they are all very special, because they are different, not one is the same, they have all evolved. And we do not like to repeat ourselves, we want to challenge ourselves, and make new things, so we discuss a lot. But now actually we want to be extracted from this state, to step away from discussing everything.

RongRong: Discuss what? You only need to look at the pictures, no need to say too much, just look at the photo and that’s it.

inri: So it’s actually going back to where we began, back to the starting point, without words, we could create without this kind of communication.

RongRong: Why could we collaborate, one thing is language, our mother tongue but also photography is a kind of language as well, we also have the sixth sense, it’s beyond language. It’s true, you can’t explain everything you make, it’s based on instinct, intuition, it’s like opening up all your senses, the whole world, you can feel it, comprehend heaven and earth, comprehend the people around you. This is surpassing language, same as images, if you say too much, why do you even bother to take the photo, sometimes you can’t explain it with words.

inri: Photography is very magical, sometimes you make a work and you don’t even know why it’s so good, you can’t explain it.

RongRong: Depending on when you view the works, their meanings change for you, after a few years you look at it it will be different, and people of different ages will see it differently, this is the possibility of photography and its activeness. Paintings have been around for centuries, but photography has only existed for 200 years, but now everyone does photography, from a 3 year-old to a 70 year-old.

inri: So what is photography, and what’s its evolution going to be like?

RongRong: Its potential is without limit.

Untitled, 2008 No.25 - © RongRong & inri

Untitled, 2008 No.25 – © RongRong & inri

Has there been an overarching theme that has connected your work over the years?

inri: The themes of our work have always been about our daily lives, taking topics from the outside is seldom done. Even with the works done for brands such as Dior or Agnes b, we’re also speaking of things related to our lives. For Tsumari Story, it’s not our living environment, but we tried to express IF we were living there, what it could be like, and it’s not about living any more, it’s about life, how life would be like.

Tell us about your approach to programming at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. What are your criteria for showing artists/work?

inri: For Three Shadows Beijing, we hope its professional level would be much higher. But in Xiamen, we could do more experimental planning, and we have government support over there so we can do more projects with educational emphasis. The criteria is chosen by us, each artist has his/her style.

RongRong: From its beginning, now nine years ago, of course we have our own likes and dislikes, but we chose what we want to communicate.

inri: We are a private initiative, we don’t need to do those great photography exhibitions, those official exhibitions. We only need to focus on our concept of ideas for Three Shadows. If photographers want to have their exhibitions here we would have our selection standard. We don’t control every single piece of work, we also have curators here to discuss with the artists.

In Fujisan, Japan, 2001, No.1 - © RongRong & inri

In Fujisan, Japan, 2001, No.1 – © RongRong & inri

How do you balance your role between that of gallerists and that of photographers/artists?

RongRong: There were conflicts before, and they are now even more complex, as we have Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Xiamen, Japan and other artists; but we have to do well in all the places we operate and with everyone.

For sure this is contradictory for us, and we have thought about it for a long time, from when we first started Three Shadows. If you look at Three Shadows, you will see that everything is related to photography, from its library, dark room, book shop, educational programmes. Starting out being an artist was very simple, you only needed to create your own works, but starting to manage the whole space was challenging, even after so many years, we are still finding the balance as we go. Maybe in the future, as the space matures, we will start to move away from it gradually. For Tsunami Story it was an attempt to try another way of working, we went away for a period of time to do our own work. Because now we have young people here working, we have a great team, and they can manage the work on their own, we would like to see them to try out and challenge new things; we also have our own limits, and they have their possibilities and capabilities.

inri: When we first started to collaborate, we were quite poor, life was harsh, it was a difficult period. But we still used photography to realise our dream. Our belief has not changed over the years, we now have Three Shadows to realise it. We keep going in the same direction towards our goal, but on the way, through Three Shadows, our path has broadened, there are so many related things appearing in front of you, they help you in a way but if your goal is not clear in your mind you will be distracted as well, and you’ll be lost. Amongst the confusion, you might find the line that you were seeking; this is the possibility that photography gives us.

RongRong: Take the four seasons in Beijing for example, in autumn and winter everything withers, but like now these days, such good whether, it brings hope as well, we’ve had depressing times, but when you face hope we will need to act, action is important.

Caochangdi, Beijing 2007 No. 1 - © RongRong & inri

Caochangdi, Beijing 2007 No. 1 – © RongRong & inri

Your most recognisable and influential works have been produced in monochrome. However, you haven’t shied away from colour. Tell us more about your use of black & white versus colour photography

inri: We have also produced colour works, with mobile phones etc. We are also thinking how to present our very intimate series, but we are not sure yet, maybe we haven’t shot enough, we are still in the process of experimenting.

The Outstanding Contribution to Photography has previously been awarded to the likes of William Eggleston, Eve Arnold, Elliott Erwitt and Mary Ellen Mark, amongst others. What does it mean to you, to have now been awarded this prize?

inri: This means so much to us. I’m still in the phase of digesting this news. All those great photographers received it. We are still young, we are still developing our works. Of course this award is an immense encouragement to us, we need to keep on working hard, and it’s also pressure so it’s a new challenge open to us.

RongRong: After so many years of giving out awards to other photographers, we never thought that one day we would be awarded ourselves. As this is a contribution prize, for us as artists but also we have Three Shadows, this is a great encouragement for the whole centre. We feel we have even more responsibility, as a platform to spread the voice of photography, to improve and to professionalize more.

rongin.com
worldphoto.org/2016exhibition

Categories
Events

The Journey

Joha explores the themes of loss of identity, home, diaspora and overcoming the physical and psychological boundaries created by conflict, specifically in his own personal story of growing up in Palestine.

 

اكتشف موضوعات: فقدان الهوية والمنزل والشتات والتغلب على الحدود المادية والنفسية التي أوجدتها الصراعات، وتحديداً في قصته الشخصية من النمو في فلسطين.

“The Journey’ operates on a number of levels. It is primarily a creative journey through the work of Mohammed Joha. However, it is also a journey of human experience in which determination, resilience and joy are affirmed” Valerie Grove

 

“الرحلة” تعمل على عدد من المستويات وهي في المقام الأول رحلة الإبداع من خلال أعمال محمد جحا. ومع ذلك، فإنها أيضاً رحلة التجربة الإنسانية التي تقرر وتأكد المرونة والفرح “فاليري غروف

Mohammed Joha – The Journey

A public viewing and music concert

Wednesday 3 February 8pm – Rich Mix

 

محمد جحا – الرحلة

معرض وحفل موسيقي

الأربعاء ٣ من فبراير الساعة ٨ مساءً 

 

 

Mohammed Joha bio:

 

Mohammed Joha was born in Gaza in 1978 and graduated in Art Education from Al-Aqsa University in 2003. Through mixed techniques of collage, painting and photography, much of his work has explored the questions and experiences of childhood, and the loss of innocence and freedom experienced by the current generation of children in Gaza. He was winner of the A. M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Award in 2004. He has been selected for workshops and residencies in Amman, Jordan and Cites des Artes, Paris.

 

Besides participating in exhibitions worldwide, he had his first solo exhibition, Dreams in Black and White, at the Mosaic Rooms, London, 2011. Most recently, his ambitious project, The Jasmine and Bread Revolution, was shown in 2012 at The Courtyard Gallery, Dubai as well as exhibiting at Rich Mix, London as part of Despite, 2012, Traces and Revelations, Oriental Museum – Durham University 2014.

 

The private view featuring “Watan Trio” classic (muwashahat and maqamat) and popular Arabic music of the mid-20th century, the programme will include a selection of instrumental and vocal pieces from historically interconnected cultures in Palestine and from the wider Middle East.

 

The Trio includes

 

Saied Silbak, a highly respected composer and master of the Oud

 

Elias Farsoon, a renowned singer and Qanoon player

 

Iba` Abu Khalaf, an established percussionist and singer

 

Afterwards DJ Faisal Hamdan who will play an hour of his collection of Old Vintage Arabic Vinyl Record Albums.

 

Independent curator : Aser El Saqqa

 

Please join Arts Canteen for the Open House on 3 February, 6pm.

The event has free entry

 

Categories
Events

Arab music and Western jazz coming to London Jazz Festival

Charismatic Palestinian singer, musicologist and broadcaster Reem Kelani presents her unique mix of Arabic music and Western jazz, supported by her accomplished jazz musicians: Bruno Heinen on piano, Ryan Trebilcock on double bass and Antonio Fusco on drums. Bi-lingual and bi-cultural, Reem has a rare ability to entertain and to enlighten her audiences in equal measure. Her reputation precedes her as an artist for whom independence is an article of faith, musically, spiritually and politically.

Her first album Sprinting Gazelle – Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora won plaudits and first class reviews from across the world. Her second album Reem Kelani – Live at the Tabernacle is due for release in autumn 2015, showcasing her captivating live act.

‘When she told me earlier that she did not see any difference between jazz and Arabic music, it sounded a stretch; here, for a moment, the two spin together so fast they sound like one’ (Financial Times)

‘[Reem’s] stunning voice… has all the individualised inflection and passion a jazz fan could wish for’(Jazz Journal)

‘Her voice combines the poignancy of Billie Holiday with the glass-busting power of Aretha Franklin’(The Independent)

‘Reem Kelani’s voice will make the hairs on your neck stand up’ (Jazz UK)

 

Booking:

£13-16 + Booking fee

Date and time:

Sunday 22 November 2015 | 8:00PM

Location:

LONDON Rich Mix

35-47 Bethnal Green Road  

London  

E1 6LA  

 

Book here

Categories
Events

Not Towards Home, But The Horizon

The Mosaic Rooms present the first UK solo exhibition by Syrian artist Marwan, featuring paintings, etchings and works on paper. Marwan is considered a leading artist from his generation, both internationally and in the Arab world. Marwan is now 81 years old and this exhibition is a celebration of his life’s work. Featuring works selected from the artists studio to showcase the breadth of his practice, from the 1960s up to the present day, it offers UK audiences a rare chance to encounter Marwan’s unique and inspiring oeuvre.

 

The exhibition journeys through stylistic approaches, with the main motif always remaining the human head. The early works tend towards a more formally figurative approach, with aspects that challenge the traditional, including a flatness of plane, a disproportionate rendering of the skull, limbs appearing and disappearing. From here the expression becomes stylistically freer, larger in scale, more focused on solely the face, beginning to abstract it with vivid brushstrokes and colours. This leads to the visual language audiences are perhaps more familiar with: bold strokes of paint and layers of colour forming the faces themselves; emerging from and submerging into the paint. Form is shaped through the tension between one brushstroke and another, suspended between surface and depth.

 

Marwan’s latest works, on show here for the first time, see a reduced layering of the surface, a pared down sensibility, which leaves the faces and marionettes floating amidst the white of the canvas. Throughout the artist’s body of work the head is used as multifaceted form to encompass and project the depth of human experience.

 

Also on display for the first time in London will be Marwan’s 99 Heads series, ninety-nine etchings made between 1997 and 1998, which reference Sufism and the 99 names of God. A space is always left to represent one hundred, a place of light, the attainment of God.

 

Marwan Kassab-Bachi was born Damascus, Syria, in 1934, and is based in Berlin. He studied Arabic Literature at the University of Damascus (1955-57) before moving to Berlin, Germany, to study painting. From 1980, he held a professorship at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin. Marwan has exhibited mainly in Germany, but also in the Middle-East and U.S.A., and has works in many public collections, including Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, Darat al Funun, Amman; National Museum, Damascus; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; British Museum, London; Tate Modern, London; Barjeel Art Foundation; Sharjah; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; and Städel, Frankfurt.

 

Where:

The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road

London SW5 0SW

 

When:

9 October to 28 November 2015

Tuesday to Saturday 11.00 am to 6.00 pm

 

Entrance:

Free

www.mosaicrooms.org

020 7370 9990

Free rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

 

 

About the Artist

Marwan Kassab-Bachi (b 1934) was born in Damascus, Syria. He lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited widely internationally in group and solo shows. His work is represented in major national and international museum collections.

www.marwan-art.com

 

 

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News

Arabic Language Courses

Arab British Centre are delighted to present the Arabic Language Courses September – November 2015!

14 September – 13 October:

Level 1 MSA | Level 2 MSA | Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 1

19 October – 17 November:

Level 2 MSA | Level 3 MSA | Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 2

5 week courses | 10 hours

 

The Arab British Centre Presents Arabic Language Courses for September – November 2015!

Our Arabic language classes are taught by Ibrahim Othman who has several years’ experience of teaching Arabic at a variety of levels, both in his native Syria and in the UK.

If you have any questions about which level is most suitable for you, or would like to sign up, feel free to drop us a line at info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

When calling or emailing us about these courses, please make sure to indicate which dates/times you wish to join (if applicable).

Our courses all cost £140 each. Your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

Please also note that we have a list of FAQs which can be found here.

Below is the list of courses being offered between September – November 2015.

Scroll down for further details on each course.

14 September – 13 October |5 week courses| 10 hours

Level 1 MSA

13:00-14:00

Mondays & Tuesdays

14 September – 13 October | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

Level 2 MSA

18:00 – 20:00

Mondays

14 September – 12 October | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 1

18:00 – 20:00

Tuesdays

15 September – 13 October | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

19 October – 17 November | 5 week courses | 10 hours

Level 2 MSA

13:00 – 14:00

Mondays & Tuesdays

19 October – 17 November | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

Level 3 MSA

18:00 – 20:00

Mondays

19 October – 16 November | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 2

18:00 – 20:00

Tuesdays

20 October – 17 November | 5 weeks | 10 hours

Course Fee: £140

*****

Level 1 MSA

This course is designed to give absolute beginners in Arabic a basic competence in reading, listening, speaking and writing skills in a dynamic and communicative way, to converse in basic everyday situations in Arabic and also to introduce the written form of the language.

Topics:

  • Your family, work, describing people and objects

  • Places and countries

  • Nationalities

  • Basic grammar, nouns, verbs, word order and numbers, starting to build up confidence in speaking Arabic

  • Background to Arab culture

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

Suitable for complete beginners, also suitable for students who have attended a previous course in Arabic or have a basic knowledge of the language but who would like to start again from the beginning.

Level 2 MSA

The course is a progression from our Level 1 MSA course, designed for those with some previous experience of Arabic, who can recognise the Arabic alphabet and engage in basic conversation, but who lack a basic understanding of the grammar system. The course will consolidate the basics and cover descriptions, countries and people, nationalities, shopping, and using cultural expressions in a variety of contexts.

Topics:

  • The past tense and present tenses in Arabic (regular and weak verbs)

  • Possessives, comparison, numbers with counted noun

  • Family, relations and friends

  • Preferences/likes/dislikes and hobbies

  • Expand knowledge of Arabic vocabulary

  • Arabic texts containing high frequency lexis and basic structures

  • Write a short personal text or letter about familiar subjects

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

This course is suitable to those who have finished our level 1 MSA course, but it’s also suitable for students who have attended a previous course in Arabic and are able to read and write basic Arabic sentences.

How will I be taught?

The course is based on the communicative approach:

  • Active students’ interaction

  • Emphasis on speaking and listening skills

  • Paired and group work

  • Role playing

  • Use of pictures and authentic material

  • Use of audio-visual techniques when appropriate

Level 3 MSA

The course is a progression from our Level 2 MSA course, designed for those who have some knowledge of Arabic and can read and write Arabic. The course will consolidate the basics and reinforce old vocabulary by covering grammar, numbers, colours, descriptions, dialects, countries and people, and the use of cultural expressions in a variety of contexts. It will also cover more advanced grammar topics such as the subjunctive.

Topics:

  • Day to day routine : Taking a taxi, exploring and using public transport

  • Visiting a city: This topic involves someone’s experience visiting a city and describing the visit.

  • Arab restaurants in London: describing Arabic food and Arabic culture

  • A trip to the Middle East:

  • Taking a taxi

  • Shopping in Cairo

  • Exploring new places

  • Asking for directions

Grammar:

  • Present tense

  • Past tense

  • Subjective phase 1

  • Adjectives

  • Broken plurals

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

This course is suitable for those students who are able to read, write and make simple sentences in Arabic and understand the past tense at least.

How will I be taught?

The book that will be used for the course is Mastering Arabic 1 along with other resources such as:

  • Role play activities

  • Pair and group work

  • Use of poems, songs and pictures

  • Use of audio-visual techniques when appropriate

Levantine Spoken Arabic 1 (Dialect)

This is a Levantine Spoken Arabic course. The course is tailored to focus on speaking Arabic and it follows a communicative approach to language teaching.

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

This course is aimed at students who have studied or know a little bit of Levantine Arabic (colloquial Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Palestinian Arabic) and is suitable for those who are absolute beginners too.

Topics:

  • Presentations, Introducing yourself, country of origin, etc

  • Daily conversations

  • Taking a taxi

  • Checking in a hotel

  • Eating out

  • Shopping

  • Asking for directions

  • Asking for help

Grammar: Subject pronouns, possessive pronouns, nouns (masculine, feminine) adjectives, past and present tense.

How will I be taught?

The course will be taught using English transliteration with an introduction to the Arabic writing system (Arabic alphabet) and you will be able to read short sentences and road signs.

The teacher will provide all the materials for the course. He will use “Ahla wa sahla” a functional course in spoken Arabic.

Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 2 (Dialect)

This course is a continuation of our Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 1 and develops all aspects of Arabic Language including speaking, pronunciation, listening, reading and writing. It’s suitable for those who have completed the Levantine Spoken Arabic Level 1 Course or who have prior/basic knowledge of Arabic. Students are expected to be able to understand and hold basic conversations in spoken Arabic.

This course will cover:

  • Speaking, pronunciation & listening – expressing opinions, covering more vocabulary on specific topics (below) starting from daily basis conversation and gradually become able to hold a more advanced conversation

  • Learning idiomatic phrases

  • More advanced grammar: present simple tense, present continues, the passive, the active participle, the subjunctive, faعlan adjectives form

  • Read and write Arabic script. Be able to read short sentences, road and transport signs

Topics:

  • Conversation: we’re very hungry p.127

  • Function A: Counting things

  • Function B: Ordering at a restaurant, hotel

  • Function C&E: Expressing feelings and people

  • Functions B to E/Ch:5: Going out and shopping (food and clothes)

Teaching Method:

  • Interactive speaking method (communicative approach)

  • Grammar based

  • Translation and equivalence

  • Lessons will be supported with audio-visual materials when appropriate

What is required from participants?

  • Flashcards (to be used every session)

  • 3 coloured pens

  • 2 notebooks

Categories
News

Creative Calligraphy Course

Arab British Centre thrilled to announce the Creative Calligraphy Course with Lebanese Artist Joumana Medlej starting in September 2015!

9 September – 1 November

Wednesdays 18:00 – 20:00

Sept: 9-16-23 | Oct: 7-14-21

Final Project Sunday 1 November 14:00 – 18:00

6 Weeks + 4 hours final project – 16 Hours

Course Fee – £205

 

 

Course description:

In this non-traditional calligraphy course, we will not use reed pens and repetitive copying. Instead, we will return to the original source of Arabic calligraphy, the Kufi family of styles, and study it with a modern design approach. Kufi was the first Arabic script to be consciously made beautiful, an unlike the later round scripts with their strict rules, it can be constantly reinvented and is not tied to any given tool or medium. Students, then, can benefit from the same creative freedom that the earliest calligraphers enjoyed, and find their own approach to the art of Arabic calligraphy.

We will learn the essence of the letters and how it expresses itself in different styles; spacing, proportions and the uniquely Arabic concept of kashida; compositional approaches including the highly specialized Square Kufic. Each of these design notions will be accompanied by a practical exercise to anchor the theory and allow students to learn from each other. The course will culminate in a final project where the student chooses a word or phrase and creates their own composition for it. Examples of final projects are shown below.

 

About Joumana Medlej:

Joumana was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. A graphic designer by training, she learned the essence of the Kufi script from master calligrapher Samir Sayegh, through years of close collaboration. She learned to breathe new life into a traditional art, not merely copying or reviving its old forms but finding a contemporary language for it. She is especially interested in the unique relationship between Kufi and geometry, both sacred arts. She now lives in London where her study of these fields is ongoing.

See more at http://majnouna.com/

To register for the class, please email info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk or call on 020 7832 1310

For general and specific FAQs, please see here

 

DETAILS

Start:
09/09/2015 6:00 pm
End:
01/11/2015 6:00 pm
Event Categories:

 

Categories
News

Oud Courses With Taqasim Music School

Taqasim Music School launched in March 2011 with the objective of providing education on Middle Eastern music culture.

Under the direction of Iraqi Oud Master Ahmed Mukhtar, both theory and instrumental courses are taught by professional musicians on a regular basis. The aim is to provide affordable access to the music heritage of the Middle-East and promoting dialogue between music cultures.

Taqasim Music School represents a unique resource for organisations and individuals interested in researching the music cultures of the Middle-East.

*****

Oud Beginners Course
Saturdays, 12:30 – 14:30
10th January – 14th March 2015
£170

Oud Beginners Course
Saturdays, 14:45 – 16:45
10th January – 14th March 2015
£170

The Oud is a short-necked fretless lute, the most important and wide-spread instrument in Middle-Eastern music.

The objective of the beginners course is to acquire the fundamental techniques needed to play the Oud and understand the characteristics of the Maqam music system, studying the eight fundamentalMaqams together with traditional and popular repertoire.

No previous music knowledge is required to attend this course, as most music is notated as tablature, a visual representation which does not require understanding of music notation.

The course is made up of 10 lessons of 2 hours each, for a maximum group of 7 students.

Lessons are taught on a weekly basis and it is recommended that students spend time practising in between lessons. All course materials are provided in printed and digital format.

Students need to have their own instrument, and the teachers are available to assist in finding an Oud and in assessing instruments.

*****

Please note that the Intermediate Course is now Fully Booked. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

*****

For more information, or to book a place please contact us on 0207 832 1310 or info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

For FAQs on the music classes, please click here

For general FAQs on our courses, please click here

 

Categories
News

Introduction to Materials and Geometry

Introduction to Materials and Geometry

 

Course Dates:

Wednesdays 18:00 – 20:00

14 January – 4 February

4 weeks, 8 hours

Course Cost: £95

 

Course Description:

This short course is a practical introduction to art materials and the basics of geometry. Students with no artistic background will get grounding in basic tools and accessible materials. This will be done in the framework of learning Geometry, which is relevant both to Kufi calligraphy and as an art form in its own right. The aim is not to go in-depth with the materials but to provide a starting base that is enough for students to work with, and to identify their preferred medium.

Sessions are entirely hands-on. In each session, students will begin with geometry, learning to construct up to 12-sided figures using a ruler and compass. They will then learn about materials by working with them directly on what they have just drawn. They will start with modern materials, which are widely available and easy to use, and end by sampling traditional materials such as paper staining, gold leaf, and egg tempera.

Introduction to Materials is designed to complement the Creative Calligraphy course, but is separate and optional. It is useful to take it first, but can equally be taken on its own if you have previously attended a course with Joumana. No previous art skills are required.

Paper and certain specialized materials will be provided in the course. For the rest, a list of what is needed (and recommended shops) will be provided upon signing up, so students can choose their own brands and colours.

Joumana Medlej

Joumana was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. A graphic designer by training, she learned the essence of Kufi script, the oldest form of Arabic, from master calligrapher Samir Sayegh, through years of close collaboration. She learned to breathe new life into a traditional art, not merely copying or reviving its old forms but finding a contemporary language for it. She is especially interested in the unique relationship between Kufi and geometry, both sacred arts. She now lives in London where her study of these fields is ongoing.

See more at http://majnouna.com/

To register for the class, please email info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk or call on 020 7832 1310

For general and specific FAQs, please see here.

We are also running the full Creative Calligraphy class from 1 April – 6 May, just click here for more information and to sign up.

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Creative Calligraphy

Wednesdays, 18:00 – 20:00

1 April – 6 May

Final Project Sunday 10 May 14:00 – 18:00

6 Weeks + 4 hours final project – 16 Hours

Course Fee – £190

 

Course Description:

Kufi was the first Arabic script to be consciously made beautiful. Unlike later scripts characterized by strict formal rules, it lends itself to being constantly reinvented, so that it thrives on the same creative freedom that animated the first calligraphers. Joumana Medlej learned to work with Kufi through years of apprenticeship with renowned Lebanese calligrapher Samir Sayegh, and has put together an original course to transmit this material. The aim of the course in returning to Kufi is to guide students towards finding their own approach to the art of Arabic calligraphy.

Each session consists of both a theoretical and practical component: Joumana begins each class with a study of individual letters (their form and symbolism) and of notions of design relevant to the script. The practical component is a creative exercise that allows students to both learn and feel their way into the essence of the script. The last session of the course is dedicated to creating a final, personal project and to this end will take place on a Sunday afternoon so there is ample time to complete it.

All materials for the course are provided, including basic materials for the final project, which students can choose to supplement with their own. Knowledge of Arabic is not required. As the script is mostly constructed, not freehand, drawing skills are not essential.

Theoretical Component:

With the aid of charts provided by Joumana, the Letter Study takes a closer look at each letterform of the Arabic script and how it can be changed without being lost. The symbolism and folklore surrounding each letter are also introduced where applicable.

The Notions of Design teach students how to deconstruct, manipulate and reconstruct the letters. Students will cover proportions, connections, kashida (expansion), traditional use of symmetry, square Kufi, ornamentation, and how to design one’s own script.

 

Practical Component:

The Creative Exercise requires the students to practice hands-on the design notions of the day. At the end of the class, this work is put up for display and discussion so that students can learn from each other and from the diversity of the result.

Joumana Medlej

Joumana was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. A graphic designer by training, she learned the essence of Kufi script, the oldest form of Arabic, from master calligrapher Samir Sayegh, through years of close collaboration. She learned to breathe new life into a traditional art, not merely copying or reviving its old forms but finding a contemporary language for it. She is especially interested in the unique relationship between Kufi and geometry, both sacred arts. She now lives in London where her study of these fields is ongoing.

See more at http://majnouna.com/

To register for the class, please email info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk or call on 020 7832 1310

For general and specific FAQs, please see here.

We are also running an Introduction to Materials and Geometry course for 4 weeks from 14 January – 4 February, just click here for more information and to sign up.

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Arabic Language Courses January – March 2015

THE ARAB BRITISH CENTRE IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE ITS
ARABIC LANGUAGE COURSES
FOR JANUARY – MARCH 2015

 

The Arab British Centre Presents Arabic Language Courses for 2015!

Our Arabic language classes are taught by Ibrahim Othman who has several years’ experience of teaching Arabic at a variety of levels, both in his native Syria and in the UK.

If you have any questions about which level is most suitable for you, or would like to sign up, feel free to drop us a line at info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

When calling or emailing us about these courses, please make sure to indicate which dates/times you wish to join (if applicable).

Our courses all cost £125 each. Your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

Please also note that we have a list of FAQs which can be found here.

Below is the list of courses being offered between January – March 2015.

Scroll down for further details on each course.

 

12 January – 10 February | 5 week courses | 10 hours

Level 1 MSA
13:00-14:00
Mondays & Tuesdays
12 January – 10 February, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

Level 1 MSA **FULLY BOOKED**
18:00-20:00
Mondays
12 January – 9 February, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

Level 2 MSA
18:00-20:00
Tuesdays
13 January – 10 February, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

16 February – 17 March | 5 week courses | 10 hours

Level 2 MSA
13:00-14:00
Mondays & Tuesdays
16 February – 17 March, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

Level 2 MSA
18:00-20:00
Mondays
16 February – 16 March, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

Level 2 Conversational Arabic
18:00-20:00
Tuesdays
17 February – 17 March, 5 weeks, 10 hours
Course Fee: £125

 

*****

Level 1 MSA

This course is designed to give absolute beginners in Arabic a basic competence in reading, listening, speaking and writing skills in a dynamic and communicative way, to converse in basic everyday situations in Arabic and also to introduce the written form of the language.

Topics:

  • Your family, work, describing people and objects
  • Places and countries
  • Nationalities
  • Basic grammar, nouns, verbs, word order and numbers, starting to build up confidence in speaking Arabic
  • Background to Arab culture

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

Suitable for complete beginners, also suitable for students who have attended a previous course in Arabic or have a basic knowledge of the language but who would like to start again from the beginning.

 

*****

Level 2 MSA

The course is a progression from our Level 1 MSA course, designed for those with some previous experience of Arabic, who can recognise the Arabic alphabet and engage in basic conversation, but who lack a basic understanding of the grammar system. The course will consolidate the basics and cover descriptions, countries and people, nationalities, shopping, and using cultural expressions in a variety of contexts.

Topics:

  • The past tense and present tenses in Arabic (regular and weak verbs)
  • Possessives, comparison, numbers with counted noun
  • Family, relations and friends
  • Preferences/likes/dislikes and hobbies
  • Expand knowledge of Arabic vocabulary
  • Arabic texts containing high frequency lexis and basic structures
  • Write a short personal text or letter about familiar subjects

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

This course is suitable to those who have finished our level 1 MSA course, but it’s also suitable for students who have attended a previous course in Arabic and are able to read and write basic Arabic sentences.

How will I be taught?

The course is based on the communicative approach:

  • Active students’ interaction
  • Emphasis on speaking and listening skills
  • Paired and group work
  • Role playing
  • Use of pictures and authentic material
  • Use of audio-visual techniques when appropriate

 

*****

Level 2 Conversational Arabic

This course is designed to support our Level 2 MSA learners who wish to move quickly through the fundamentals of Arabic grammar while developing some basic communicative skills in Modern Standard Arabic. This will enable students to communicate effectively in Arabic with a wide range of everyday situations in an Arab country. The course puts emphasis on the learner’s ability to listen and speak.

Topics:

  • Introducing yourself, country, family and work
  • Preferences/likes/dislikes and topics including hobbies
  • Talk about your past week and next week’s plans
  • Short presentation on a specialist subject e.g. a trip to Damascus
  • Write a short text on a topic
  • Understand basic conversations
  • Understand the gist of more complex conversations dealing with familiar topics

Course entry and do I need any particular skills (who is it for)?

This course is suitable to those who have finished our level 1 MSA course, but it’s also suitable for students who have attended a previous course in Arabic and are able to read and write basic Arabic sentences.

 

 

DETAILS

Start:
12/01/2015 1:00 pm
End:
17/03/2015 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
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ORGANIZER

Arab British Centre