Artists/Ideas/Now returns with new artist-led conversations exploring some of the biggest issues facing the world today. Led by leading artists, creatives, and activists, this series responds to Liverpool Arab Arts Festival’s festival theme of climate crisis and its impact in the Middle East and North Africa.
The triple threat of climate, colonialism and conflict means that water shortages, inhospitable land, and reducing access to food can exacerbate existing crises and lead to further instability. Artists are exploring these ideas, working on projects to heighten awareness and demystify the ideas and challenges surrounding the crisis.
In this first event we reflect on democracy. Is the climate crisis impacting models of government? How have people stood up or disrupted in order to achieve large scale systematic change? What about the role of citizenship during a global crisis–do we need to change how we empower ourselves, our communities, communicate information, and become more active citizens against the politics that are driving us into chaos.
From citizen assemblies to challenging those in power, does democracy in 2021 have what it takes to survive the climate crisis?
Curated in collaboration with Creative Destruction.
Magid Magid is a Somali-British race and climate justice activist/organizer and author who came to the UK as a refugee aged five. He is founder & director of Union of Justice, a European, independent, people of color led organization dedicated to racial justice and climate justice. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Yorkshire & the Humber, mayor of his beloved city, Sheffield, and was also an elected councillor representing his community. Magid was named one of TIME’s 100 rising stars shaping the future of the world. Magid is also a custard connoisseur.
Sama Alshaibi’s artwork situate her own body as a site of performance in consideration of the social and gendered impacts of war and migration. Her work complicates the coding of the Arab female figure found in the image history of photographs and moving images. In 2021, Alshaibi was named a Guggenheim fellow in photography. Alshaibi’s monograph, Sand Rushes In, was published by Aperture, NYC. It features her 8-year Silsila series, which probes the human dimensions of borders, migration, and ecological demise. Her biennial participation includes the 55th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2013), the 13th Cairo International Biennale (Egypt, 2019), and the 2017 Honolulu Biennial (Hawaii). Her over 150 group exhibitions include Pen + Brush Gallery (NYC, 2019), American University Museum (Washington D.C., 2018), Marta Herford Museum of Art, Germany (2017). Born in Basra to an Iraqi father and Palestinian mother, Sama Alshaibi is professor and co-chair of photography, video, and imaging at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Akram Salhab is the campaigns officer at London-based charity Migrants Organise, and an organizer for Palestinian rights. He has written widely on the topics of migrant justice, Palestinian history, and recently presented a short documentary for Channel 4 about the silencing of Palestine in Britain.
About Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
Founded in 1998, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) is the UK’s longest running and most successful annual Arab arts and cultural festival, platforming the best UK and international Arab artists. The festival creates a dynamic between traditional and contemporary Arab art forms, encouraging informed debate that explores, and increases, appreciation of Arab people and their rich cultures. Liverpool Arab Arts Festival’s work continues throughout the year, with a wide range of events and participatory projects that bring together artists and diverse communities. From Liverpool to the Arab world, LAAF builds connections that help more people to encounter and experience Arab culture in Liverpool and beyond.
About Creative Destruction
Creative Destruction is an initiative that works across three platforms, art, activism and politics. Through creating cultural events, meetings, and exchanges with people and communities on the forefront of social and political change, the aim is to build spaces where complexed, radical, and new conversations can happen. Collaborating both locally and globally we aim to bringing people together, identify issues, and imagine solutions. Our ideas are embedded in equality and social justice, reclaiming political space, and platforming narratives that are censored, manipulated or unheard.