Funny man Alexei Style launches Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) kicked off on Friday 7 July with a visit from LAAF patron and famed scouse comic Alexei Sayle, who travelled back to his home-town to be part of the UK’s biggest annual celebration of Arab culture and arts.

Before speaking at LAAF’s official launch event at Bluecoat, Alexei (originally from Anfield) visited FACT to view Wafaa Bilal’s 168:01, co-produced by Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and FACT.

Alexei said “The Arab world is full in great art. I was really pleased to hear that LAAF have introduced a special food event on Lodge Lane as part of the programme, because one of the things that drew me to the Arab people was not only their generosity and constant laughter but Arab food.”

LAAF continued over the weekend with a series of events including an evening of conversation between festival founders Bryan Biggs and Taher Qassim on Friday, followed by a major new event Eid on the Square, supported by Big Lottery Funding through the Celebrate Programme.

Huge crowds turned out to Tiber Square for an afternoon of music, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts and food. Author Sarah Al-Hamad led two sold-out food tours visiting restaurants and retailers on the famous Liverpool street, including Damascus Sweets, The Ambassador, The Malaysian and Kebabish, trying the global flavours and watching food demonstrations.

On Sunday, LAAF made its way to Mann Island with dance and visual art at Open Eye Gallery’s Winter Garden Space, followed by a screening of the award winning film Clash at FACT.

The festival is well into full swing and continues daily until 16 July, with a grand finale – LAAF Unison Family Day at Sefton Park Palm House. Find out more at arabartsfestival.com

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