The first of its kind—and, we’ve no doubt, the first of many to come—the Muslim Women’s Arts Festival launches at The Whitworth on Sat 5 Mar with a full day of family-friendly creative activities.

Framed as a sister event to the Muslim Arts and Culture Festival (MACFEST), the official launch takes place in the Grand Hall, beginning with a welcome from young students in their national dress, and includes a celebration of the life of Swiss Muslim traveller Isabelle Eberhardt. There’ll be a live performance by Somali singer Hawo Ahmed Hilowle (11.30am-12.30pm, £10 inc lunch). If you arrive at the gallery before then, take an hour to explore the Cultural Hubs (10.30am-11.30am, Free) where Muslim women from many global regions—including Bangladesh, Sudan and Turkey—share stories about the art, culture and heritage of their part of the world.

A number of workshops and art exhibitions run from 10.30am on launch day. In the galleries are Birmingham artist Hanna Ihsan, Bury’s Atefah Seifi, plus textile artist Aysha Yilmaz and fine ink artist Asma Jadakara Desai—both representing Bolton. After a walk through their shows, pop to the calligraphy and silk workshops and demonstrations. Watch or take part in demonstrations of traditional cultural touchstones; henna art, card craft, marble painting, fashion and style—specifically, the hijab, hair styling and makeup (all workshops from 10.30am, Free). In the afternoon be mesmerised by multilingual poetry and performances by the Anamika group and the Turkish Folk dance group.

The festival continues from 6-20 Mar with many international events running online—including a Russian fashion designer, Egyptian Ballerina, Yemeni photographer, Australian ceramist, Nigerian artist, and Azerbaijani carpet weavers—and some in the real world—all of them designed to demonstrate the empowerment and creativity of Muslim women. North West talent in particular takes top billing at two great events: the Poetry Bonanza at Central Library (Wed 9 Mar, 6.30pm, Free) promises to be a lively hour of spoken word, and the closing Musical Bonanza over at The Lowry (Sun 20 Mar, 2pm, £8) features performances from Sarah Yaseen, Gulcin Bulut, Erdogan Bayir and more.

International Women’s Day is celebrated by Muslim Women Writers Speak Out (Thu 10 Mar, 6pm, Free) offering a fascinating panel of discussion featuring four incredible women from the world of literature while Food, Women Empowerment and Malaysian Cuisine (Thu 10 Mar 6pm, Free) explores the connection between gender equality, food security and cuisine.

Debates, stand up, literature, design, cookery, photography, art, and meet and greets with the next generation of high profile talent dominate the packed calendar—creating a truly stunning journey through the diverse skills of Muslim women all over the world.

Take a look through the full listings info for MACFEST using the button below.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Sat 5 Mar - Sun 20 Mar,
Various locations
Sarah Walters
Published on:
Tue 22 Feb 2022