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Events of Interest

On The Palestinian Novel with Bashir Abu-Manneh


Palestinian writer and activist Ghassan Kanafani.

In this inspiring introduction to modern Palestinian literature, Bashir Abu-Manneh speaks to Razia Iqbal about the work of four key Palestinian writers. He considers Palestinian literature produced after the Nakba, and asks what the Palestinian novel reveals about the Palestinian experience. Through discussing the work of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Ghassan Kanafani, Emile Habibi and Sahar Khalifeh, Abu-Manneh looks at the changing ways in which Palestinian writers have responded to and written about the struggle for freedom and justice.

In the question and answer session which follows the talk, discussion moves on to contemporary Palestinian literature and film and to the challenges facing the Palestinian struggle in the context of the current political situations in other Arab countries.

This talk was recorded at The Mosaic Rooms on 30 November 2016. The event marked publication of Bashir Abu-Manneh’s new book The Palestinian Novel.


Image details: Photograph of Palestinian writer and activist, Ghassan Kanafani (1936 -1972). This image was obtained from http://www.al-akhbar.com/files/images/p12_20070707_pic1.full.jpg

Marwan Kassab-Bachi 1934 – 2016


Image: Marwan speaking at The Mosaic Rooms, 2015. Image copyright The Mosaic Rooms.

It is with great sadness that we hear of the loss of the great artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi. Only this time last year we presented the first solo exhibition of his work in London, showcasing a sample of the vast breadth of this incredible Syrian artists work from the 1960s until present day. It was an absolute honour and privilege for us to have this opportunity, and for audiences here to see examples of his work over such an extended period of his practice. The works were all very kindly loaned from the artist’s studio.

I have very fond memories of visiting him there to select the works we were going to show. He welcomed me with such warmth and openness. There were no requests by him for specific work to be shown, instead he left me with the time to look and select whichever work I was interested in, helped by his son Jason. I recall being so struck by the sheer amount of work he had there, how much he had produced and kept producing throughout his life. It seemed his exploration and love of paint, form, materials was limitless as he constantly worked with its potential to evoke the immaterial, the depth of human experience. We are so glad he managed to give an artist talk here during the exhibition with Professor Jörn Merkert.

Marwan’s presence will be greatly missed in the art world, but his work will live on and we hope more audiences internationally will get the chance to experience this inspiring artist’s work.


Marwan, Not Towards Home, But The Horizon. Exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms, 2015. Image by Andy Stagg.





Image Keepers: Documenting Algeria’s War for Independence

Last week, we had the pleasure to be joined by the incredible Zineb Sedira and Vassilis Oikonomopoulos for a conversation on Zineb’s two-part film, Image Keepers.

The film offers an important window into the Algerian war of independence in 1962 through archival images and by following the journey of photographer Mohammed Kouaci, one of the few Algerian photographers to have closely documented the Algerian revolution and its aftermath.

During the event, Zineb spoke about the process of making her film, her interviews with Safia Kouaci, Mohammed’s widow, and the significance of archival work for passing on memory. 

You can listen to Zineb and Vassilis’ conversation and watch her film Image Keepers below.

Live recording



Part I

Part II

The Mosaic Rooms welcomes Jameel Prize Resident Noor Ali Chagani

NoorWe are delighted to be hosting Noor Ali Chagani this autumn in The Mosaic Rooms studio. Noor Ali Chagani will be doing a residency as the first Jameel Prize Resident at the V&A between October 2016 and early January 2017. The V&A Residency Programme enables creative practitioners to gain unique access to the Museum’s collections, archives and curatorial expertise. His residency is in partnership with Art Jameel.

Noor Ali Chagani was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan and holds a BFA in Miniature Painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore. He has since exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Pakistan, India, UAE, UK, Netherlands, Bahrain and United States.

Chagani was one of the shortlisted artists for the V&A’s prestigious Jameel Art Prize 2011 exhibition and international tour. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Its aim is to explore the relationship between Islamic traditions of art, craft and design and contemporary work as part of a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today. He has done residencies at The Rijksakademie in The Netherlands in 2012 and Riwaq Art Space in Bahrain in 2013. Chagani had his first solo exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery, New York, earlier this year.

Based in Lahore, Chagani uses his traditional training to inform his contemporary practice. By combining exquisite miniature traditions with ceramics and the techniques of brickmaking craftsmen, Chagani creates works comprised of hand-made miniature terracotta bricks with applied brush strokes to fluidly depict the imagery in his hometown. Chagani is the first contemporary miniature artist using the rules of miniature paintings in 3D.

“During my residency, I am interested in responding to the V&A’s South and South East Asian miniature collections to produce brick jewellery inspired by the ornamental jewellery worn in the Mughal Court. In my work, the use of bricks takes on several meanings, as a symbolic take on the contemporary world and the physical and emotional labour and toil that is expended in building, the need for security and protection, but also as a reminder of partition and the walls we build between us.”


Summer Sale at The Mosaic Rooms Bookshop

Come visit our Mosaic Rooms bookshop and get 30% off selected art books, literature and poetry by renowned artists and writers such as Fazi Yazigi, Naguib Mahfouz, Pankaj Mishra, Nawal El Saadawi, Pascale Petit and many more!

Discounts available in store only.

bookshop sale 3bookshop sale 2

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