Press Release 2016

Belfast Palestine Arts Festival Press Release 2016

The 4th Annual Belfast Palestine Arts Festival begins on the 24th of July and runs until the 9th August with events being held throughout Belfast. The festival features a diverse range of compelling and thought-provoking films and exhibitions. All events are free.

Sunday 24 July marks the launch of the festival with Traditional Dabke Dance & Discussions followed by a barbeque in Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, from 4.00pm to 7.00pm. We will be welcoming Lajee Dabke Dance Troupe all the way from Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem. They will be performing traditional Dabke dance and delivering talks on their life and work in Palestine. The dance group have been performing since 2002 across Palestine and internationally. Dabke is a Palestinian traditional dance, commonly performed at weddings and cultural events with varying styles.

Aida Refugee Camp is severely overcrowded with around 5,500 inhabitants -refugees from 27 separate villages across historic Palestine. It is surrounded on three sides by the apartheid wall and is under constant Israeli military surveillance and control, and experiences daily attacks.

In 2001, the camp launched the Lajee Center, a project they hoped would help to preserve Palestinian culture. For young people, many of whom had lost family and friends, it was an opportunity to regain dreams and aspirations through creativity, self-expression and youth empowerment.

Tuesday 26th July – Resist to Exist Photographic Exhibition + Film Screening.

Time:  7:30 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast

Award winning film maker and photo journalist Mohammad Al-Azza is the director of the Arts & Media Unit of  Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem in the West Bank. He is a refugee from the village of Beit Jibreen who was born and lives in Aida Refugee Camp. In addition to his own video and photographic chronicling of events in his home community, he helps youth to produce photography and video projects. He began learning photography and documentary production as a teenager in Lajee Center in 2005. His first documentary, Ali Wall, won the Global Jury Prize of the It Is Apartheid Film Contest (2010), and his documentary Everyday Nakba (2011) has mobilized an international movement to improve access to clean water in Aida Refugee Camp and other Palestinian communities. His award-winning photography on media representation, refugee rights, and popular protest has exhibited in countries all over the world.

Tuesday 2nd August

A Window into Gaza – Ahmed Salama – Photographic Exhibition

Time: 7:00 pm

Venue: Conway Mill, Belfast

Ahmed Salama is a Photojournalist from Gaza. Ahmed has been capturing images of life through his camera lens for the last four years and has won several awards including Youth photographer 2015 PSA and JGS 2015.

He has published two books – Children of Gaza and Bedouins Between Past and Present.

For our full program of events please visit our website www.belfastpalestineartsfestival.org or check out our Facebook page.

The Belfast Palestine Arts Festival provides a platform for Palestinian cinema, art and culture in Belfast, featuring Palestinian artists, bringing a fresh perspective on Palestine’s economic, social and cultural life. The festival is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers and has no party political emphasis and is open to all.

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www.belfastpalestineartsfestival.org