The Cultural Scene: a guide to Middle East-related events in London

01, December, 2020

In line with the coronavirus restrictions, the ABA is pleased to present these online resources for the current edition of The Cultural Scene. 

London Palestine Film Festival 

13-22 November. London’s Barbican Cinema is joining this year’s Palestinian Film Festival with a range of on-demand viewing options, including Vimeo, alongside the Festival’s own online presentations. The filmmakers include Emily Jacir, Najwa Najjar, Ameen Nayfeh and Kamal Aljafari, while the subjects range from young Palestinians living abroad, the difficulties of buying a gift in the West Bank, Maradona and the 1990 World Cup, to the discoveries a husband and wife make when trying to get a divorce. More details are available at Palestine Film and this area of The Barbican's website.

Dia Batal:  Family Fun at Home

14 November. A London-based Palestinian artist, Batal uses Arabic language and text to create artworks that echo cultural and contemporary concerns in our urban spaces. In this online workshop, she focuses on the subjects and themes, such as flying birds and imaginary landscapes, which are featured in Heba Y. Amin’s current exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms (until 28 March).  Good fun for all the family.  Places are limited, but can be reserved at this area of the Mosaic room's website.

Reem Kassis:  Cooking at Home:  Fatteh

15 November. After leaving her birthplace and childhood home in Jerusalem, Kassis spent time in London studying at the London School of Economics before working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. More recently, she has been the writer of award-winning cookbooks covering the history of modern Arabic food. In this Zoom event, she turns her hands to making three dishes from Arabic bread (fatteh): an appetiser, a main course and a dessert. Tickets are available at


Mohamed Melehi

Until 21 November.  Melehi, who passed away in October aged 84, will be remembered in London for his first solo exhibition last year at The Mosaic Rooms in Kensington, entitled ‘New Waves’. The UK arts editor Arsalan Mohammad has written that Melehi was, “a huge figure in post-colonial North African art, design, photography and even town planning, as well as, of course, a rare painter.”  He was, Mohammad adds, “a shrewd purveyor of mind-bending abstraction and a king of colour.”  For more information, visit


Café Palestina

November – December.  As the nights close in, and the virus restrictions seem never ending, a take-away from Kentish Town’s Café Palestina is sure to delight. Palestinian mezze, homemade cakes, freshly ground coffee and, with luck, the possibility of some superb vegan, as well as meat, dishes. The options vary, so check to see what’s on offer, and when. If takeaways disappear, there’s always their wonderful specialty food packages and produce available for delivery. And on Sunday afternoons, you can also sign up to the ALIT Book Club, which has moved its meetings from the Café to Zoom.  Email to get the link or check out @cafepalestina on Facebook or at


--Pamela Ann Smith, 2 November, 2020


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