The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi and the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development announce dedicated virtual program for the Holy Month
The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has announced its virtual Reconnect. for Ramadan program, presented in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development’s Al Burda platform for Islamic arts and culture. As part of The Arts Center’s fifth anniversary season, which has now moved online, a series of four outstanding performances from the Center’s archive have been curated to embrace the spirit of contemplation and reflection throughout the Holy Month.
The streamed shows, broadcast every Wednesday at 9:30pm (GMT+4), to accommodate Isha and Taraweeh prayers, will start on Wednesday, April 29 with a celebration of contemporary Islamic arts from the Al Burda Festival. Additional programs will include durational performances to adapt to Ramadan schedules, as well as make the works accessible to viewers in other time zones.
The Reconnect. for Ramadan series continues The Arts Center’s mission to bring arts and culture to audiences globally during a time of physical distancing and isolation. Through Reconnect., people from all over the world can join one other to share performances online via the Center’s Facebook page as well as conversations through live Q&A sessions between artists and audiences that will explore the deeper significance of these works.
His Excellency Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Arts and Culture at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with New York Abu Dhabi in presenting Al Burda content to the audience through digital platforms, which will include a lineup of Islamic-inspired performances. During this exceptional time, cooperation and solidarity is critical in fulfilling our obligation to provide access to arts and culture to people at home, which serve as a tool of connection and communication.
Islamic art is dear to our hearts and is part of our culture and heritage, and in Ramadan, we experience a spiritual climate through the beauty of Islamic arts. The content we will present in collaboration with NYUAD reflects its diversity, versatility and its capacity to innovate.”
Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin said: “We are so grateful to partner with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development on their #CultureUpFront initiative, which helps encourage people to stay home for the sake of public health, while recognizing the important role the arts can play in providing a sense of connection and meaning. Inspired by the spirit of Ramadan, this month-long series offers deeply contemplative performances that can reach into people’s homes and hearts at this special time. The performances we have selected from our archives include a sense of spirituality, but at the same time, include some unexpected choices designed to open up the kinds of thoughtful conversations about social issues, such as our responsibility to the environment. Our online programming has allowed The Arts Center to reach new audiences, who like our dedicated in-person audiences, we hope will come curious, and leave inspired.”
The line-up for Reconnect. for Ramadan is:
Al Burda Festival – Wednesday, April 29 at 9:30pm (GMT+4)
Filmed in The Red Theater on November 14, 2018
A celebration of contemporary Islamic arts, Al Burda Festival offers performances from four exceptional artists: Emirati Al Malid from the UAE with “Calligraffiti” artist Karim Jabbari from Tunisia; Bait Al Oud from the UAE; Yousif Yaseen from Kuwait, Wafaa Emad (the new Umm Kulthum) from Egypt; and Cairo Steps, an International Music Ensemble from Egypt and Germany.
The festival’s growth over the last 15 years reflects its ambition to be the definitive gathering of minds and a celebration of the varied disciplines of Islamic art. Through the Award, the UAE has connected to artistic communities across 19 countries from around the world, and gained recognition as a champion of contemporary Islamic artists from the Arab nations.
Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile: The Abu Dhabi Resonance Square Ritual – Wednesday, May 6 from 9:30pm – 4am (GMT+4)
Filmed in The Black Box on September 2, 2016
Featuring over six hours of highlights from the ground-breaking 27-hour “Ritual Groove Music” multi-media performance by the acoustic quartet Mobile, the show will also include a 30-minute live Q&A session with the artists.
Nik Bartsch’s Mobile, originally performed at The Arts Center in 2016, weaves textures from jazz, funk, new music, and minimalism with ritual and sacred music. The Abu Dhabi Resonance Square Ritual was commissioned by The Arts Center to open its second season. Mobile develops integral musical concepts within a ritualistic framework with a multi-media set-up of the surrounding space.
Members of Mobile include Nik Bärtschon-piano, Kaspar Rast-drums and percussion, Sha-bass clarinets and alto sax, Nicolas Stocker-drums and tuned percussion, and Daniel Eaton-visual design. Emirati poet Afra Atiq will make a guest appearance during the show.
Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera: Holoscenes – Wednesday, May 13 from 9:30pm-2am (GMT+4)
Filmed at NYU Abu Dhabi in its Middle East Premiere on November 16, 2016
Revisit Lars Jan’s Holoscenes, a beautifully captivating durational performance-installation that embodies the impact of climate change. The show will include a live Q&A session with the director Lars Jan and members of the company, halfway through the performance.
Holoscenes, filmed at NYU Abu Dhabi for its Middle East Premiere in November 2016, is a visceral, cross-disciplinary project born out of the widely-shared concern that our troubled relationship with water will become a central issue of the 21st century. The project connects the everyday actions of individuals to global climate change, while contemplating the evolution of our capacity for empathy and long-term thinking. In the present day, it takes on new and unexpected metaphorical power.
Lars Jan is a director, writer, visual artist and the founding artistic director of Early Morning Opera (EMO), a genre-bending performance and art lab whose works explore emerging technologies, live audiences, and unclassifiable experience.
Fathy Salama with Sheikh Mahmoud Tohamy: Sufism vs Modernism – Wednesday, May 20 at 9:30pm (GMT+4)
Filmed in The Red Theater to a sold out crowd on September 26, 2019
The Arab world’s only Grammy winner Fathy Salama collaborates with the inspiring Egyptian Sufi chanter Mahmoud Tohamy, in a performance that is followed by a live Q&A session.
The UAE Premiere of Sufism vs Modernism was performed to a sold-out crowd in September 2019, bringing the sounds and rhythms of traditional Sufi chanting and contemporary Egyptian jazz together in a unique harmony of Arabic sounds.
Salama is an Egyptian composer, arranger and musician, well known for his hits in Cairo during the 1980s and a key figure in the revival of Egyptian traditional music. He is best known for his band Sharkiat, which has performed over 2,000 times at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals. Sheikh Mahmoud Tohamy is a regular performer on both the Eygptian and international scene as is the son of renowned Munshid singer Sheikh Yassin Al-Tohamy. He received his musical training under his father and Sheikh Al-Arif Billah.
To learn more about The Arts Center’s programs for Ramadan, follow @NYUADArtsCenter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi supports #CultureUpFront
Given the incredible global challenge facing our families, colleagues and organizations due to COVID-19, many cultural spaces, institutions and museums had to close their doors to practice social distancing and avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. As an organization that is constantly looking at ways to promote and support local creative talent, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development initiated the #CultureUpFront hashtag on social media channels to allow creative spaces to continue their dynamic programming, but rethink of ways to bring it to the audience worldwide that are now, more than ever, present online.