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20 January 2022  -  04 February 2022

Syrian Arts and Culture Festival


SACF is a multidisciplinary arts festival in London showcasing Syria’s vibrant arts and culture. The curated multi-disciplinary programme of events offers a creative collision of film, music, performance, visual arts and talks. The festival brings together established alongside emerging artists, filmmakers, performers, and musicians to offer London audiences alternative narratives and perspectives on Syria, its people, and culture.

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The festival’s name, SACF, is an acronym for Syrian Arts and Culture Festival. It also is a transliteration of the Arabic word ‘سقف’, meaning ‘roof’ or ‘ceiling’, a word which is also colloquially used to represent the very ‘limit’ of something. By drawing on these imaginaries, SACF sets out to embody multiple meanings. On one hand, the festival aims to bring people together under a shared roof, where new connections and understandings can take shape. On the other hand, it acts as a provocation against the limits imposed on forms of creative expression that many Syrians have cunningly navigated. SACF aspires to be a creative platform where limits can be pushed and boundaries are broken.

This year’s inaugural festival offers a platform to showcase a rich and exciting body of artistic output and creative expression that sheds light on Syria’s historical, economic, social, political and cultural specificities. It presents a multitude of entry points through which to approach and reflect on present-day Syria, pitting the richness and diversity of Syria, along with its local intricacies, against the uniformity portrayed by the global media and its images. Such an assemblage of works then necessarily points towards the plurality of the people and modes of existence that have constituted the formation of Syria since its independence in 1946.

The festival emerges as a site of counterrepresentation, where a broad range of narratives, topics and issues can begin to make their way to the surface, allowed to be made visible once again. This importantly, presents a portal, wherein connections between past realities and present-day urgencies can be redrawn, offering a lens through which the revolutionary aspirations of 2011 and the violent and destructive suppression that has since engulfed the country can be re-witnessed not as an isolated set of events, but rather encountered as a series of situated historical processes. This then opens up a space to creatively and critically reflect on a number of pertinent questions: How can we begin to renegotiate the present through the lens of the past? What reparative possibilities can be realised through such encounters? And lastly, what new trajectories towards the future can be generated as a result?

SAFC 2022 is supported by Arts Council England, ShubbakEttijahat and Counterpoints Arts