Winchester celebrates Islamic art

A unique celebration will take place over the weekend of 11 and 12 November at Winchester's Tower Arts Centre. The Winchester Muslim Cultural Association is hosting a series of workshops and presentations which explore and celebrate Islamic influences on art and culture, in music, theatre and visual arts.

Somalian artist Kinsi Abdulleh will work with Winchester's Colour Factory artists Jenny Muncaster, Alex Hoare and Kezia Hoffman, to run an all day visual arts workshop on 11 November using textiles, calligraphy and photography to explore contemporary and traditional themes and ideas. The work will form an exhibition for display over the weekend and again in 2007. Also on display will be colourful information panels which explain and explore some aspects of Islam.

Ulfah Arts, women artists from Birmingham, will perform a concert which will include some traditional Bengali and Moroccan songs, followed by a singing workshop on the Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday there will be a free workshop for children aged 5 to 10, with storyteller Rez Kabir and local artist/teacher Wendy Noviss, weaving traditional Bengali stories into a colourful 'magic carpet'.

On Sunday 12 November, following a special celebration meal, the Director of London's Khayaal Theatre Company, Luqman Ali, will be making a presentation about his unique company's work today as well as the need for communities to engage culturally. The presentation will include some traditional storytelling as featured in the company's recent production of 'Souk Stories'. To round off the weekend, the distinguished Afghani tabla player, Yusuf Mahmoud, will perform his amazing sounds, with fellow musicians.

Ahmed Moon, Chairman of WMCA says, "The project has received business sponsorship from Winchester's Basilica Boutique, as well as funding from Arts Council England, South East and Winchester City Council. We are very proud of our Muslim heritage and contribution to world culture, and we hope that this unique event will be the first in a series of activities that celebrate diversity and bring people together in an interactive way."

The Council's Portfolio holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, Councillor Patricia Stallard says, "We are delighted to be collaborating on the WMCA's very first Art & Islam celebration, with all the positive and enjoyable cultural and social contributions this makes for the Winchester District."

The Council's Arts Development Officer, Marilyn Michalowicz, says, "Working with the WMCA folks to develop this project has been a delight, and I was particularly pleased that Arts Council England awarded us the grant so that we can bring this exciting range of Muslim artists to Winchester for the first time."

Tickets and information are available from the Tower Arts Centre's box office on 01962 867 986 or   Programme information can also be found on