Soundtrack to Puzzled Identities




Umm Kulthum, Fayrouz, Abdel Halim and Warda - these are artists whose legacies continue to inspire generation after generation and who have played a role in transforming the political, social and cultural landscapes of the Arab world. Issam and Mashrou’ Leila, on the other hand, are revealing of the evolutionary journey of Arabic music, reflecting its historical interactions with different cultures and resulting in a unique combination of both Arab and foreign influence. 


But more than being a simple nod to icons of Arabic music, this exhibition explores the mosaic that constructs Arab identity, through an audiovisual project. Among many other things, music plays a role in defining and redefining identity and reflects our cultural exposure.  






فزعانة يا قلبي

اكبر بهالغربة

ما تعرفني بلادي


I am afraid
Of growing up in exile
And my hometown wouldn’t recognize me






سواح وماشي في البلاد سواح

A wanderer

Walking through the country, wandering










مليت انا مليت من الغربة

الحلم خدنا معاه وسفرنا على دنياه


I am tired, tired of feeling like a foreigner
Our dream took us away, and we travelled to its world







كل دي كانت كنوز الماضي

شوف حاضر بلاد

شوف كنوز الثورة فيها والمواهب الأادي


These were the treasures of the past

Now look at my country’s present time, look at the

treasures of the Revolution, talents and skills






Kandor bhal David Bowie, Issam B-boy


I spin like David Bowie, Issam’s a b-boy







كاني عارف المكان

وشكلي ملخبط بالزمان

كانني عارف انني هون

وكلهم نسيو إننا اليوم


It’s like I know this place
But I'm in the wrong time
It's like I know I'm here
But they've forgotten that it's today






The exhibition is a reACT project and supported by the Art Council England and HUB Collective.