World Islamic Economic Forum Showcases Cultural Spectacle at ‘Mocafest’ In London

Islamabad, September 04, 2013 (PPI-OT): A global culture festival, bringing together artists and audiences from the Muslim and non-Muslim world, will meet in London this October. The Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAfest) – hosted as part of the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum which will convene outside the Islamic world for the first time in its history – will meet in London for two days of performances, master-classes, networking sessions and collaborations from30th-31stOctober at the Excel Centre, London.

Hosted by the UK and Malaysian governments andorganised by the WIEF Foundation,MOCAfesthas been supported by Soul City Arts, a Birmingham-based non-profit community organization delivering arts interventions around the globe, and Radical Middle Way,which aims to promote an understanding of Islam among young people. In addition, the culture and arts event is being supported by UK partners including London and Partners, the Mayor of London, and UKTI.

Free and open to the public, and featuring 30 artistsfrom a diverse range of genres, MOCAfestwill explore the role that art and culture plays in driving economic growth andbusiness collaboration between East and West. The festival will showcase some of the most exciting newtalent from across the globe.

A visual arts and installation exhibition will be open each day of the festival, and a selection of panel discussions, workshops and insights will also be offered. Each event will focus on the theme of the festival – using the common language of business tobuild bridges between the Muslim and non-Musilm world, helping emerging artists develop skills to help them to launch their careers.

The installation exhibitionwillshowcase worksfrom artists such as:Mohammed Ali, a street artist from the UK, famousfor using his graffiti styles to convey messages of positive social change;Sukina Douglas, a poet and hip-hop artist based in London who has been described as a forerunner in the growing Muslim hip-hop scene; and Eckhart Ahmed Krausen, a photographer based in Copenhagen who specialises in the study and documentation of Islamic architecture across Europe.

In addition, an independent film festival will screen an array of international films touching on a variety of topics aimed at highlighting underpinning themes of the 9thWIEF.

In addition to MOCAfest, this year, the pre-festival MOCAfellows will take place on the 26th-28th October. It aims to equip aspiring artists from across the world with the business skills they will need to launch a successful career in the creative industries.

Workshops will cover issues such as creative business development, financial planning, and training in digital media. All of the artists attendingapplied for positions to the pre-festival and will have the opportunity to perform, present and exhibit their work at MOCAfest.

Chairman of the WIEF, the Hon Tun Musa Hitam, said: “As the WIEF showcases the very best that the Islamic world has to offer as a lucrative trade and investment hub, MOCAfest will highlight the creative individuals harboring their talents and increasingly becoming an economic force within the global marketplace. MOCAfest and MOCAfellows will build on the themes of the 9th WIEF and use the common language of business to help emerging artists develop skills that will inspire and help them to launch their careers.”

Executive Director and Head of The Young Leaders Network, FazilIrwanSom, said “MOCAfest continues to open new doors to emerging artists who would otherwise not have the chance to showcase on an international stage. We have been to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Astana, Bandung, Johor Bahru, and now London and we will continue to change people’s lives and celebrate good art wherever we go.”

More than 1,500 government leaders, captains of industries, academic scholars, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers from 100 countries will come together at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum to boost trade partnerships between Islamic and European markets, and explore London’s future as a global hub for Islamic Finance.

Speakers from the world of politics will include the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the HonourableDato’ Sri MohdNajibTun Abdul Razak, The Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the Governor of the Bank Negara Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. ZetiAkhtar Aziz,Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi, Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Clark,Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan,His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister, and HM Sultan HassanalBolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam.

Issues covered at the Forum will include harnessing the potential of women as critical growth drivers, harmonisingglobal standards on Islamic Finance for high quality education in developing economies, and developing technological collaboration between Islamic and European economies. The event warmly welcomes participation from the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

Confirmed artists at MOCAfest include:

Eckhart Ahmed Krausen – Photographer, Denmark

Ahmed Krausen is a freelance photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He specialises in the study and photographic documentation of the Islamic architecture in Europe.

Ahmed was born in Germany in 1955 and went on to travel and study all over the world including Italy, Asia, Africa and New Zealand, yet it was his experience of Egypt and Sudan that impacted his life most significantly, where he decided to become a Muslim. In 1977 he bought his first camera, a Russian Zenit which he described as “heavy like a Russian T34 Tank’. After exploring the world with his camera Ahmed attended a one-year course at the Copenhagen Photo School in 2005.

For Ahmed the camera is the most important and spiritual tool. He says the significance of light is a bridge between Islam and photography. Ahmeds’s images have featured in many publications and he has exhibited in Copenhagen and Berlin. His next exhibition, ‘Mosques in Europe’ is opening in Februrary 2014, Copenhagen.

Sukina Douglas – Performing Artist, UK

Sukina Abdul Noor (born Yashima Douglas) is a poet and Hip-Hop artist based in London, who has been described as a forerunner in the UK Muslim Hip Hop scene. Sukina believes that British Muslims need to make more of an effort to change society’s opinion about Islam and that mosques need to open their doors to everyone.

Sukina was born in Bristol to Jamaican parents and converted to Islam in 2005. In Bristol she joined forces with MuneeraRashida to form duo group Poetic Pilgrimage (now in its seventh year). The early part of their career saw them as favourites on the London poetry circuit where they performed alongside some of the biggest names. Sukina attended London Metropolitan University where she studied English Literature and Caribbean Studies.

Alongside performing she is editor of a Muslim Hip Hop magazine and hosts a lifestyle Show on Islam Channel. She also organises a monthly Poetry event and workshops in West London and has appeared on Channel 4, 4Thought.

Saba Barnard – Visual Artist, USA

Saba Barnard is an American Muslim artist from North Carolina. Her artistic perspective draws from her experiences growing up Pakistani and Muslim in the United States, and her artist’s statement speaks to those experiences.

Saba attended North Carolina Central University, Durham NC and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education. She has exhibited at various studios and art venues around North Carolina. Saba’s subject is Muslim women.

Her paintings range from humorous, joyful and kind reflections to heroic, dynamic portrayals of women from the artist’s personal network. Overall she aims to challenge the stereotypical image and narrow perceptions of Muslim women circulated by the media. She also blogs about the process of creating the portraits on her website, sharing details about inspiration along the way and offering insights into how using an iPad changed the way she works with composition and colours on canvas.

Mohammed Ali – Visual Artist, UK

Mohammed Ali is a street art artist, famous for merging graffiti style with Islamic art.

Mohammed was born in Birmingham to parents from Bangladesh. Mohammed was inspired by the Subway art movement in New York and sprayed his first wall at the age of 14. At around the age of 20, personal losses led Ali to re-discovering his religion, Islam, and his outlook on life began to change. In 2002, Ali graduated from De Montfort University with a degree in Multimedia Design.

Mohammed went on to paint his street-murals across the globe from Melbourne to New York and is known for his unique style, which fuses western street art and combines it with sacred, classical style of Islamic script and patterns. He aims to challenge a ‘clash of civilisations’ by painting messages of peace, unity, and other universal values.

In 2012 painted a mural for the Olympic Games. Recently he has been commissioned to paint murals in Birmingham addressing the Gaza crisis and is known for painting murals highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people.

Ali is also an active lecturer. He delivers conferences and public lectures, nationally and internationally, about the power of the arts to transform society. In 2013, he presented a TEDx talk to an audience in the Vatican in Rome about how his Muslim faith has inspired his artwork and influenced his relationship with others.

Jamal Raslan – Poet, Malaysia

Jamal Raslan is an established spoken trilingual word poet from KL (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia, and is one of the main crew members of Poet’s Passport.

Jamal has performed at and won many poetry slams in KL, and spoken at TEDxKL in 2011 and 2012. He has also been invited to perform at many non-art related events such as event launches, and forums such as the Impact Forum in Singapore. In between performances he organises Poet’s Passport’s monthly poetry gigs at Cyberjaya. He also released his EP ‘The Word‘ back in November 2012.

Jamal’s poetry reflects the current Malaysian youth – modern, exposed, liberal yet struggling to find a sense of belonging in the identity crisis that every English-speaking Malay Muslim experiences. Heavily inspired by spoken word poets around the world, from slam poets to Def Poetry to the articulate and emotive African poets at Poet’s Passport in Cyberjaya, he writes about the challenges that the country and it’s people face in its pursuit for progress in a way that he hopes will one day help form a unique “voice” that is Malaysian spoken word.

RakaeJamil – Sitar Player, Pakistan

RakaeJamil is a musician from Lahore, who incorporates classical music with contemporary styles. Rakae began learning the sitar when he was 12. His first teacher was Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan of Poonchwalay, who was the son of one of the greatest exponents of the sitar, Ustad Sharif Khan of Poonchwalay.

Rakae studied musicology at the National College of Art and later moved back to Pakistan to study South Asian Musicology. After learning and practicing the sitar for 6 years, Rakae engaged himself in playing a radically new instrument known as the Shruti-Bahar, a unique instrument that had never been played before by any musician.

Rakae has received the UstadFateh Ali Khan Gold medal for 1st place at the All Pakistan Music Conference in March, 2006, and the Ustad Sharif Khan Poonchwalay gold medal in April, 2007. In December 2005 he participated in the British Council “Music Masti” program in November 2005, and was awarded a 2-week trip to the United Kingdom for a music exchange program: Trinity College; Warwick University; University of Edinburgh andUniversity of Glasgow.

Rakae has also performed in Coke Studio season 2 with Noori and is currently working on his album, which will comprise of instrumental and vocal numbers and collaborations with other vocalists.

Mark Gonzales – Poet, USA

Mark Gonzales is a thought leader and radical poet who uses storytelling as a global health strategy.

Mark was born into a Roman Catholic Latino family and converted to Islam in his early twenties, unifying his Latino culture with principles of Islam. As well as being a poet, Mark is also a Professor at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, where he lectures in the power of “spoken word” and travels the world educating on how to build stronger communities through culture.

His YouTube videos are viewed in the thousands and he frequently trends on Twitter. He is perhaps best known for his appearance on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam. Described as “Khalil Gibran meets Pablo Neruda”, his poem “As With Most Men” takes a radical stance on issues ranging from the ‘War on Terror’ to the objectification of women. More recently he took part in TEDx Ramallah, the first TED series to be held in Palestine, where he delivered a powerful 8-minute performance of ‘Wage Beauty‘.

His poetry has been described as conjuring emotional experiences of displacement and dreams and his creative approaches to suicide prevention and human rights activism around the world have earned him great respect. Consequently he has been invited to speak at many political and cultural events. During his recent trip to the UK he delivered a poetry masterclass and evening performances as well as being invited to the stage at a SOAS Israeli Apartheid Week event.

Native Sun – Performing Artists, Mozambique/UK

Native Sun is a London based duo consisting of bilingual rapper Mohammed Yahya, born in Mozambique , South East Africa and singer-song writer Sarina Leah born in London with Caribbean roots.

Joining forces in 2010 Native Sun fuses Hip Hop and African rhythms with the aim of promoting a positive message of Universal Peace, Equality, Social Justice and Environmental Change. Over the years both artists have received a great deal of publicity through collaborations on a variety of compilation CDs, Albums, International Tours across Europe, Africa and U.S, features of on a wide range of publications as well as TV appearances from UK based TV Channels such as BBC and ITV to Channels across Europe. Native Sun regularly perform at gigs and festivals such as the Happiness and Well Being Festival, London.

Native Sun’s sound has been described as sweet melodies fused with addictive head bouncing Hip Hop undertones, conscious bilingual lyrics and catchy hooks perfect for a climate in need of an uplifting message.

ZeshanBagewadi – Vocalist, India/USA

ZeshanBagewadi is an Indian American classical opera singer based in Chicago.

After pursuing a Master’s degree in voice performance and literature at Northwestern University in Illinois, Zeshan went on to perform at the Apollo Theatre in New York, in Italy and the England and has sung bhangraboliyan for Indian dance competitions in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and Chicago. Growing up in a Muslim household, he learned to speak and read Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Urdu poetry is commonly composed into songs called ghazals, and since childhood, Bagewadi wanted to learn to sing them. He has experience singing in 11 languages and speaks Italian, Urdu and Hindi. Though opera is his main focus, he has trained in Hindustani classical music under vocalist NagarajaraoHavaldar in Bangalore.

Besides his talent as a singer, Zeshan founded a chapter of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) at Northwestern. IMAN is an organization that works for social justice, helping immigrant communities overcome barriers, promoting arts and culture in urban neighborhoods and providing mentoring to disadvantaged youth and hosts Community Café. In IMAN, Bagewadi saw the opportunity to break down more stereotypes for Muslims like himself, as well as help the community as a whole.

For more information, contact:
Oliver Bradley
T: +44 (0) 20 3003 6352
M: +44 (0) 7533 751238

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