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Jewelled Tales of Libya Exhibition

January 18 - January 27

Jewelled Tales of Libya Exhibition

The Arab British Centre is delighted to announce


19 – 27 January 2017

A Noon Arts Exhibition curated by Najlaa El-Ageli and Hala Ghellali.

An exhibition featuring antique Libyan silver Jewellery as well as vintage and recent photography by Sassi Harib

Jewelled Tales of Libya is a rare exhibition which will explore the diversity and historical identity of a country through its tradition of fine jewellery. By showcasing this rich cultural heritage, the exhibition aims to tell the stories behind the adornments and symbols that feature heavily throughout the geographical expanse that we know as Libya.

Alongside a display of 45 pieces of authentic Libyan silver jewellery from the 1920s to 1960s (comprising chokers, belts, headpieces, bangles, silver slippers amongst many other pieces), the exhibition will show 13 original vintage photographs, that belong to the curators’ private collections. Dating back to the early decades of the 20th Century, the images of Libyan women were taken by the Italian cameramen, (such as Aula, Nascia, Rimoldi and others),who established studios in Libya during the European colonisation and who contributed to the Orientalist strand of photography.

In contrast to this old collection, the exhibition will also feature more recent photographs taken by the talented Libyan photographer Sassi Harib, whose work captures the essence of Libya’s Southern women adorned in their jewellery.

Jewelled Tales of Libya has been co-curated by Najlaa El-Ageli, co-founder of Noon Arts, and Hala Ghellali a Libyan born academic translator from California and keen collector of photographs from colonial and post-colonial Libya. Commenting on the significance of this collection Najla El-Ageli states,

‘The layers of cultural influences that have formed Libya’s identity –  from the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations to the African, Amazigh, Bedouin, Moorish, Jewish, Ottoman and Arab peoples – are innocently revealed in the jewellery on display. Together they present the country’s difficult journey over the millennia, without making any judgment and without hiding any truths’.

Jewelled Tales of Libya is supported by The Arab British Centre and sponsored by Darf Publishers.

Private View: Wednesday 18 January | 6:30pm – 8:30pm. RSVP essential at: rsvp@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

Talk by Hala Ghellali. 24 January, 6:30 – 7:30 pm at The Arab British Centre. RSVP essential at: rsvp@arabbritshcentre.org.uk

Opening Times:

Monday-Thursday: 11:00am – 5:30pm
Friday: 11:00am – 4:30pm
Saturday & Sunday: closed


The Arab British Centre
1 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE


About The Arab British Centre:

The Arab British Centre is an award-winning cultural organisation which works to further understanding of the Arab world in the United Kingdom.

The Arab British Centre organises and promotes arts and cultural events related to the Arab world from its central London premises and runs a number of initiatives in partnership with leading UK and international institutions.

Since it was founded in 1977, the centre has housed and subsidised other like-minded organisations involved in Arab-British relations. The Arab British Centre currently supports; Banipal, the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration (CDTC), the Council for Arab-British Understanding(CAABU), Friends of Edward Said ConservatoryIbraaz, Shubbak Festival and Zaytounwww.arabbritishcentre.org.uk

Facebook: The Arab British Centre | Twitter: @ArabBritishCent | Instagram: arabbritishcentre

About Noon Arts:

Founded in 2012, Noon Arts is an organisation that strives to bring the very best of Libyan art to the world stage. Its mission is to spot, encourage and nurture both new and established Libyan artists and to celebrate their work in all its myriad forms. From painting to photography, film, sculpture and installation art, Noon Arts draws from a deep pool of local talents whose work has hardly been shown. With exhibitions, mainly in partnership with contemporary galleries and museums, events and other projects, Noon Arts supports and helps talented Libyan artists, by marketing their work and offering them an international platform to further their careers. For more information: www.noon-arts.co.uk.

About Darf Publishers:

Darf Publishers was established in 1980 and is currently based in London. It focuses on books about Libya, Middle East and the Arab World in English, but our most recent projects aim to translate world literature for English audiences.

Much of the back catalogue is facsimile editions of rare 18th and 19th century books, mostly in the fields of history, travel, literature, languages, poetry, culture and sport.

Darf is the English imprint of Dar Fergiani, which has been a major Arabic publishing house since it was first established in 1952. Since 1980, Darf has published more than 200 titles of good quality facsimile books that were out of print, including titles in Italian.

Darf Publsihers most recently began venturing on new projects with the emergence of literature written by Middle Eastern and North African writers to translate and publish fiction and literary works from new talents and well established Arab writers, introducing them to a wider audience and discovering new works that wasn’t given chance to see the light for many generations.

The Darf publishing house is named for its association with Dar Fergiani. Dar Fergiani operated in Libya in the 1950s, but could not continue to print as Moammar Ghaddafi consolidated his rule. Fergiani emigrated, although there are still several Fergiani bookshops in Libya.

About the curators:

 About Hala Ghellali:

Born in Tripoli, Libya 1957, Hala grew up at the peak of historical shifts in Libya to a mother of Turkish ancestry and a Libyan father. She speaks five languages fluently and works as an academic translator in California.  She studied French Literature and Modern Languages and taught French Literature at the University of Tripoli. Hala left Libya in 1986 and lived in Cairo, Rome, Damascus and most recently the USA.
Passionate about history, art and culture, she began to dedicate herself to research her own history – the history, stories and images of her hometown. Photography became her interest of visual history and she turned into an avid collector of photographs from colonial and postcolonial Libya.
Hala Ghellali is curating her first exhibition Jewelled Tales of Libya from 19 – 27 January 2017 at The Arab British Centre with Najlaa El-Ageli

About Najlaa El-Ageli:

Born in the United States and raised between Italy, Libya and the United Kingdom, Najlaa El-Ageli is a qualified architect with over 15 years of professional experience involving various projects in London, Japan and Spain.

Her deep passion for the Arts and her need to explore and discover its potential, got her to found ‘Noon Arts’ in 2012, a small private organisation to curate the very best of contemporary Libyan art and to bring the works of both emerging and established Libyan artists to the world stage. So far, as Noon Arts, Najlaa has successfully curated and organised nine international exhibitions in London (UK), Malta, Tripoli (Libya) and California (US).

In 2015, Noon Arts was commissioned by the Benetton Foundation to curate the Libyan Art catalogue for its global ‘Imago Mundi’ project. In the same year, Noon Arts partnered with Shubbak Festival to bring Libyan graffiti artist Aimen Ajhani; and with ‘Nour Festival of Arts’ to bring ‘Birthmark Theory’ a solo exhibition by Canadian-Libyan artist Arwa Abouon at the London Print Studio. In March 2016, El-Ageli partnered with the London-based Arts Canteen to curate two exhibitions for the ‘Arab Women Artists Now’ (AWAN) Festival at Rich Mix London, bringing the works of six emerging female artists from the MENA region.

Najlaa is a member of the London Print studio Trustee Board since 2015 and was a member of the Jury of The Arab Fund of Art and Culture for the Visual Arts grants 2016.

For images for press, please contact n.al.ageli@gmail.com or rosa@arabbritishcentre.org.uk

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January 18
January 27
Event Category:


The Arab British Centre
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