First Islamic Arts Festival coming to Pennine Lancashire

6 July 2016


Love & Etiquette is collaborating with Super Slow Way to bring a month of theatre, music, workshops, comedy and discussions inspired by the rich heritage and culture of the Muslim world to Pennine Lancashire this July. The Kinara Festival is one of the first of its kind to take place in the UK and will bring diverse artists together to form the first comprehensive UK festival celebrating Islamic and South Asian arts and culture in time to celebrate Eid and the end of Ramadan.

This colourful festival draws inspiration from the rich mix of cultures in the area and seeks to celebrate and explore the beauty and complexity of that heritage by inviting internationally acclaimed artists to the stages of Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn and Pendle.  It aims to provide a platform for established and emerging artists, while encouraging a cultural exchange and dialogue that will challenge the sometimes negative associations faced by Muslim and ethnic minority communities.

A festival representing the cultural diversity of the region will enable people to come together and find commonality through art, according to Rizwan Iqbal, founder of Love & Etiquette. He commented: “Kinara means a border, where water meets land, which serves as an apt metaphor for the project we are undertaking with Super Slow Way, where the canal represents the slowing down of time to allow creativity to flow. We hope this festival will create the threshold where people, cultures and communities will meet, celebrate and explore the diversity of the area.

“Love & Etiquette works to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas and cultures through art in the form of workshops, exhibitions and performances.  The last significant event of this kind was the World of Islam festival in London in 1976 that was opened by the Queen. This is staggering given the wealth of culture in the UK, so it is exciting to be bringing a month-long festival to finally celebrate, explore and open up a dialogue that we hope will provide a much-needed counter narrative to the often negative media attention.

“Kinara is creating a space for artistic and cultural empowerment in the area by bringing international artists to local stages in a celebration of the diversity and heritage, colours and cultures of the communities in Pennine Lancashire and the UK as a whole. This is a landmark event for the area that we hope will send ripples of creativity and understanding across the region.”

Highlights include:

  • A spoken word poetry performance by the celebrated poet, broadcaster and official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, Lemn Sissay.
  • One of the first UK screenings of Song of Lahore (2015) – following the film’s premiere in London, Song of Lahore, which follows Pakistan’s classical musicians and their struggles in a society torn by social and religious upheaval, is coming to the Reel Cinema in Burnley. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken follow their dramatic journey, and asks if they will ever find an audience at home.

  • A rare photography masterclass by one of the foremost photographers of the Muslim world, Peter Sanders. Over one weekend Peter will share the secrets of his forty-year experience photographing people around the world, including rare encounters with scholars and living saints, making this a unique opportunity for budding photographers in the area. He is the only photographer to be given the keys to Mecca and Medina’s most sacred places, making him unique among the world’s visual storytellers.
  • Safar, a weekend of mystical Sufi music featuring Hassan Erraji, a Moroccan singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with an international reputation, whose album Awal Mara was produced by Kaiser Chiefs’ producer Dave Creffield. He will feature alongside artists from Palestine, India, Turkey, Morocco, Spain and the UK. It will also feature Olcay, a classically-trained soprano of Kurdish origin, who blends her Western training with the heritage of her Anatolian homeland.
  • The Sonia Sabri Company is one of the most dynamic South Asian dance companies in the UK. Having gained an international reputation, they now bring the acclaimed show, Salaam, their latest creation to Pennine Lancashire, giving people a unique opportunity to see some of the most influential dance to come out of South India. The show, which combines Tabla music with poignant metaphorical narratives of Kathak dance and footwork, was created in response to global unrest and provides a space for people to refocus on peace and connection.
  • Blackburn-born Avaes Mohammad will lead a workshop with the aim of developing a spoken word poetry collective in the area that will continue to work together beyond the festival.

Super Slow Way director Laurie Peake said: “We are delighted to be supporting such a rich programme, which is not only a first for Pennine Lancashire, but for the whole of the UK.  We are proud to be supporting Love & Etiquette, an organisation whose hard work in the area has proven that art, music and culture can bring people from different backgrounds together and we are looking forward to seeing this work on a larger scale in the form of a festival.

“Pennine Lancashire is a microcosm of the multiculturalism that is found throughout the UK, where diverse communities live side by side. We hope that this festival, which draws on some of the most influential performing arts inspired by Islamic culture, will also serve to demonstrate that those communities can come together to discover and celebrate their shared space and heritage. There is no better way to do this than by bringing this extraordinary collection of artists to the area.”

The organisers take pride in providing an opportunity for artists to perform in an encouraging, nurturing environment where participants can socialise, learn and build confidence, making it a unique experience for performers and audiences alike.

The Kinara Festival will take place from 8th – 31st July.

More information and a full line-up can be found at

Tickets are available at

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