Building on 4 years of success, culminating in an entirely virtual festival in December 2020, Rethink Rebuild Society persists with its creative mission, showcasing the talent and creativity of Syrian artists in the UK and presenting a truly bright image of Syria and its culture and heritage, an image that has long been neglected amidst the war and the refugee crisis.
The 5th Celebrating Syria Festival will take place from 11-26 March 2022 and will be a hybrid of events held online and in person. It will feature, among other activities, an art exhibition, a theatre performance, live music, films, panel discussions and interactive art workshops, and will end with a family fun day. There will be something for everyone.
The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Distance’, or Masafat مسافات in Arabic, a title that is ‘inspired’ by social distancing measures imposed on us all as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, where isolation and distance became the norm and many people stayed away from loved ones. ‘Distance’ also sums up the experiences of many Syrian and non-Syrian people, forcibly displaced, exiled or refugees around the world as a result of injustice.
With this theme in mind, the festival uses arts and culture to challenge physical, emotional and cultural distance and barriers, bringing people closer to one another, reducing isolation, alienation and marginalisation and reinforcing dialogue and integration in the multicultural society of Manchester and the UK at large. Learn more about some of the events coming up below!
Celebrating Syrian Art in Exile | Fri 11 March – Thursday 31 March
For over a decade the war in Syria has led to the displacement of over half of the population from their homes. Of those, over 6.6 million people have found refuge outside Syria. In their exile, Syrian artists have continued their cultural and artistic production. In this exhibition, five UK-based Syrian artists showcase their work as they reflect on and engage with this year’s festival theme: Distance. The artists featured include Ammar Azzouz, Khalda Alkhmri, Leena Sahloul, Manya Alkhmri, and Tarek Tuma. Learn more here.
Meet the Artists: Ammar Azzouz & Khalda Alkhmri | Sat 12 March 5pm
MADE WITH MAGIC – MUSIC CONCERT | FRI 18 MARCH 8PM
Returning to Celebrating Syria Festival, Fawaz Baker and his colleagues take us on a magical music journey incorporating different areas of Syria celebrating the richness and diversity of various musical modes (maqams) from these parts. Book here.
Printmaking for all | Sat 19 March 2pm
Join artist Manya Alkhmri to make beautiful prints! A quick print, also known as press-print, is an easier and safer alternative to lino blocks for younger children. It’s also an ideal introduction to block printing for adults. Book here.
DABKE – LEARN TO DANCE LIKE A PRO | Sat 19 March 2pm
Dabke is a native Levantine folk dance performed by the Palestinians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, and Iraqis (and, of course, on the Island of Crete, think Zorba the Greek!). Our workshop will aim to teach the basic steps of the Tayara Dabke, which is the traditional folk dance from Palestine. Book here.
Meet the Artists: Manya Alkhmri & Tarek Tuma | Sat 19 March 2.30pm
Come along to the second of two exhibition tours to meet Manya Alkhmri & Tarek Tuma and hear more about their life and work. Book here.
IN THE EYES OF SYRIANS: DOUBLE VISION AND SUGAR CAGE SCREENING | Sat 19 March 4pm
In Collaboration with Ettijahat – Independent culture, Celebrating Syria invites you for an evening that will transport you to Syria. The two films Double Vision and Sugar Cage, followed by a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers. Book here.
Pricing at Celebrating Syria
We are committed to making Celebrating Syria accessible to everyone. For each ticketed event three different prices are available, following the ‘solidarity economy’ approach. The highest price is intended for high waged, the middle price for medium waged and the lowest price (always £1) for low waged or unwaged. This means you can choose the price that suits you. By choosing a higher price, if you can afford it, you are supporting the festival and enabling lower earners to attend festival events. We base our ticketing structure on trust, so no evidence of income is required. As usual, asylum seekers can attend all events for free. If you require free tickets, please contact email@example.com or on 0161 222 9779.