8 Jun 2019 / 12:00 to 18:00

Refugee Week @ Mayor’s Eid Festival

8 June, 12-6pm, Trafalgar Square

Free event 

Each year the Mayor of London invites thousands of Londoners and visitors to join the Eid Festival, an event that celebrates the end of Ramadan.

This year Counterpoints Arts have been invited to curate a refugee related strand of the Festival, providing a taste of the upcoming Refugee Week. The programme will feature spoken word performances (headlined by poet Asma Elbadawi); music by The Damascus Band and Muslim Bilal; Afghan Camera Box Project by Iranian photographer Farhad Berahman, and more.

We hope you will come and join us on the day to discover, celebrate and learn more about experiences of displacement.



15:10 The Damascus Band

The Damascus Band are a group of exceptional Syrian Classical musicians now based in the UK. Featuring the talents of Hamsa Mounif, Raghad Haddad, Taim Saleh and Walid Zaido on vocals, viola, qanun and percussion, their backgrounds are in orchestras including the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music and they have also performed in the UK with the Africa Express ‘Orchestra of Syrian Musicians’.

15:50 Muslim Belal

Ashley Chin also known as Muslim Belal is an award winning British actor and screen writer converted to Islam in 2002. Chin  tells his story all over the world in a unique poetic style leaving people inspired and amazed. Recently directed he’s first feature film “Faith” set for nationwide release early 2020



14:45   Maurice Wren, CEO of Refugee Council, shares his thoughts on the importance of Refugee Week as a national platform for celebrating resilience, creativity and contributions of refugees to the UK

14.55   Asma Elbadawi, a British Sudanese poet, basketball player and global brand Adidas Ambassador, shares a couple of poems to give a taste of the programme in the Spoken Word tent (info below)




12:00 – 17:30  Afghan Camera Box 

Afghan Camera Box is a project by Iranian photographer and artist Farhad Berahman.

The Afghan Camera, or ‘kamra-e-faoree’ is still used as a traditional method of capturing memories by veteran street photographers in Afghanistan and Iran. The hand-made wooden camera acts as both the camera and darkroom, thus working as a ‘2 in 1’ machine. This enables capturing and instant printing of photographs, an individual copy handed to visitors upon processing of the image.

The visitors are also invited to join Farhad in a hand colouring activity – a technique of treating images which dates back to the early 19th century when artists started to paint over a black and white photograph in order to bring photos to life.


12:00 – 17:00  Spoken Word Tent 

Laila Sumpton, Amir Darwish, Tice Cin and The Ishami Foundation (12:00 – 17:00)

Laila Sumpton, Zahrah Sheikh, The Ishami Foundation, Zia Ahmed, Amir Darwish (13:30 – 14:50).

Laila Sumpton, Rakaya Fetuga, Tice Cin, Zahrah Sheikh, Zia Ahmed, Asma Elbadawi, Rakaya Fetuga (15:15 – 17:00)

Laila Sumpton is a poet, writer, dance devotee and NGO worker based in London. Her poetry uses imagery and lyricism to tell stories about identity and human rights. She organises events and workshops at universites, festivals, heritage sites and various NGOs- using poetry and the arts to campaign for human rights and bring people together.

Asma Elbadawi is a British Sudanese, Basketball player, Creative and Global Brand Adidas Ambassador. Born in Sudan and raised in England. Her dual cultural heritage deeply influences her creativity, paired with a focus on international development and female empowerment. She is best known for her involvement in the successful Fiba Allow Hijab campaign that urged the Basketball federation FIBA in 2016 to allow Muslim women to wear the Hijab in Professional Basketball.

Amir Darwish is a British Syrian poet & writer of Kurdish origin who lives in London. Born in Aleppo & came to Britain as an asylum seeker in 2003. He published his work in the UK, USA, Pakistan, India, Finland, Turkey, Canada, Singapore & Mexico.

Tice Cin is a poet and writer from Tottenham, North London. An alumnus of the poetry community Barbican Young Poets, she recently took part in the Barbican’s Art of Change series and is part of the centre’s Design Yourself collective.

The Ishami Foundation are a Rwandan survivor’s group that creates poems and stories for the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi.

Zahrah Sheikh is a British Pakistani poet from Ilford. Member of Octavia (a women of colour collective lead by Rachel Long) based at Southbank and a Barbican Young Poet Alumnus. Her writing mainly explores prayer, the self, the weight of an action and silence.

Zia Ahmed is from North West London. He was on attachment at Paines Plough for 2017, having been a recipient of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme bursary. He is a London Laureate and was shortlisted to be the Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/16 and a former Roundhouse Slam winner.

Rakaya Fetuga is a poet and creative writer from London of Ghanaian and Nigerian heritage. Her work joins conversations on overlapping identities, faith and culture as empowerment. Rakaya won the Spread the Word Poetry Prize in 2017 and the Roundhouse Poetry Slam in 2018.

8 Jun 2019
12:00 to 18:00

Trafalgar Square, London


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