‘Extremely British Muslims’ Explores Single Life for Those Seeking Spouses

A new documentary produced for British TV shines a light on how single Muslims in the UK are trying to find a partner. Channel 4’s ‘Extremely British Muslims’ is a two-part series from a team of Bafta award-winning producers highlighting life at Birmingham Central Mosque.

The first programme, which airs on Wednesday 2 March at 10pm, tells the story of single young Muslims attempting to find spouses through the mosque’s Marriage Bureau, their family and through dating sites.

Viewers meet 30-year-old Nayera and 24-year-old Bella who are struggling to find the right partner in the midst of their chaotic lives and parental expectations.

Despite choosing to go through the mosque’s marriage service to find a husband, Bella admits she is sometimes envious of romantic dates others might experience.

Exhibition – Making Nature: How We See Animals

Wellcome Collection, London, 1 December 2016 — 21 May 2017

Curated by Honor Beddard

Exhibited are over 100 objects from literature, film, taxidermy and photography  reflecting what we think, feel and value about other species and the consequences this has for the world around us.

The collection includes works by contemporary artists such as Allora, Calzadilla and Phillip Warnell and asks how and why we look at animals and what we see when we do that. It is organised around four themes: ‘Ordering’, ‘Displaying’, ‘Observing’ and ‘Making’, and it opens with Marcus Coates’ Degreecoordinates, Shared traits of the Hominini (Humans, Bonobos and Chimpanzees), 2015.

‘Making Nature’ reveals the hierarchies in our view of the natural world, and questions how these influence our actions and inactions towards the planet: from the formalisation of natural history as a science, through the establishment of museums and zoos, to lavish contemporary wildlife documentaries.

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More info and the free downloadable large print guide text (also available in the gallery) are available here.

Divali Festival Souvenir Magazine 2016

Divali Festival Souvenir Magazine 2016
Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean
Theme – “Chatti and barahe – 6th and 12th day Hindu childbirth ceremonies”

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Among all ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago, Hindus perform the most intricate childbirth ceremony. Some families prefer to observe the birth celebration on the twelfth day, in which case it is known as a barahe and is of greater magnitude than the sixth-day celebration. More information can be found here.

To view a FREE digital copy of the magazine, see https://icctrinidad.wordpress.com

The Nod: A Subtle Lowering of the Head You Give to Another Black Person in an Overwhelmingly White Place

by Musa Okwonga

blogIllustration by Daniel Zender

If you’re a black person who has ever visited a place where there aren’t many other black people, then you will be familiar with The Nod. The Nod is just that: An almost imperceptible lowering of the head toward any other black person you might encounter on your travels through, say, Slovakia or Russia.

Yet The Nod is also so much more than that: It’s a swift yet intimate statement of ethnic solidarity. The Nod is saying, “Wow, well, I really didn’t expect to see another one of us out here, but you seem to be doing your thing just fine. More power to you, and all the very best.”

The Nod is something that several white friends of mine often find bewildering. A few years ago, as I walked down a street in Italy with a friend, a black man looked at me and gave a small, stern bow before making his way off. “Who was that?” my friend asked. “Did you know him?”

Her incredulous expression made it seem as if I was part of some mysterious cabal.

I shook my head, no, I didn’t know him; but, in a sense, I did. He was bearing witness to the same thing that I was, which is what you might call “the geography of race.”

For a black person, there are some areas — bars, nightclubs, boardrooms, sometimes entire countries — where, for primarily economic reasons, you were never expected to reach. Within this context, a black person who travels within any of those worlds is someone often seen as a success; he or she must have an enterprise about them to be venturing out into such unfamiliar territory.

That means it’s always a privilege to receive The Nod, which is the closest thing to a secret handshake I will probably ever have. Sometimes, though, it’s bittersweet, reflecting how far black people yet have to go to feel at home in their surroundings.

For example, the last time I got The Nod was in a hotel lobby in Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup, just a few paces from the Ipanema beach; a hotel where, apart from the staff, I saw only one other black person all week.

It was to my surprise, then, that I barely got The Nod in Berlin. Here, after all, is a city within a country that doesn’t have very many black people at all: Though there are no official records, the estimate is between 300,000 and 500,000 among a population of over 80 million. I visited Germany for the first time in 15 years, just after they had claimed the World Cup, and was struck by the lack of diversity. Yes, there was a large Turkish community, and no shortage of white Europeans; but, in this supposed melting pot, there weren’t so many of visibly African descent. That’s not to say, though, that what I experienced was “the unbearable whiteness of Berlin”. There didn’t seem to be too much need for The Nod here; this felt like a town where there was always somehow room at the table for just one more, whoever you were.

This optimism comes with a caveat — you didn’t have to go too far east of the city center to find places where, as a black person, you wouldn’t choose to live as a first port of call. (Then again, that’s no different to how London was just a few years ago during the headier days of the British National Party.) There are doubtless greater racial nuances within Berlin society of which I’m unaware, but actually the city checked out pretty well. I could contrast the ease I felt there, for example, with the anguish I saw on a black man’s face in mid-90s Moscow, or the brotherly welcome that I recently got in Bratislava. Almost all of the black people I encountered in Berlin seemed as indifferent to my race as they would be if I were back in Hackney or Brixton.

That’s not to say that I didn’t get The Nod at all. The first black person I spoke to in Berlin was a retired solar engineer who had come over from Mali several decades ago, and who proudly showed off his free transport pass to me as we awaited the train. If anything, people like him were the pioneers, who had made it much easier for newcomers like me as I stood there on that platform. He, like my parents arriving in London in the 70s, had travelled thousands of miles to a place he could call home; where even the outsiders — especially the outsiders — could feel like they belonged. Maybe he, I, and other fellow nomads will never truly live in a post-Nod world; but, as alternatives go, maybe this wasn’t so bad.

The original website can be found here

View story at Medium.com

Opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

On Saturday, September 24 the museum will be opening to the public.

“After 13 years of hard work and dedication on the part of so many, I am thrilled that we now have this good news to share with the nation and the world,” said Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s founding director.

The museum will open with 11 inaugural exhibitions that will focus on broad themes of history, culture and community. The exhibitions have been designed by museum historians in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates. These exhibitions will feature some of the more that 34,000 artifacts the museum has collected since the legislation establishing it was signed in 2003. The museum’s collections are designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history. Highlights include: a segregation-era Southern Railway car (c. 1920), Nat Turner’s Bible (c. 1830s), Michael Jackson’s fedora (c. 1992), a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. plantation (c. early 1800s), Harriet Tubman’s hymnal (c. 1876) and works of art by Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and Henry O. Tanner.

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This booklet was produced by  John Murray Forbes in December 1862 specifically for Union soldiers to read and distribute among African Americans.

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

 

 

 

Around the event, a three-day festival showcasing popular music, literature and dance, some of them  co-hosted by other museums around the country and in Africa, will take place.

More informations about the museum can be found here.

Exhibition: Yinka Shonibare MBE

Tue 22 Mar – Sun 30 Oct 2016

Turner Contemporary

Sunley Gallery

Two major works by leading contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare MBE are currently presented as part of the 14-18 NOW programme of World War 1 Centenary Art commissions at  the Turner Contemporary.

Yinka Shonibare’s sculptural work End of Empire explores how alliances forged in the First World War changed British society forever; it explores themes of conflict, empire and migration in the centenary year of The Battle of the Somme. In addition,  the colourful work The British Library addresses issues related to immigration and its impact on contemporary British culture: shelves of books covered in colourful wax fabric are displayed bearing the names of first and second generation immigrants who have enriched British society.

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More information can be found here.