ALCASA, in association with the History Trust of SA, have been hosting a series of community workshops to extend the Migration Museum’s ‘Ahlan Wa Sahlan’ exhibition celebrating Arabic hospitality. The ‘Ahlan Wa Sahlan’ exhibition runs from January 2023 through to July 2023 and showcases the rich tapestry of Arabic hospitality from across 30 nations. This exhibition comes to life through a series of inter-active workshops to engage the broader Adelaide community; these workshops include Arabic word arts, mosaic making, traditional Arabic board games, textile art, and sweets and drinks demonstrations to showcase Arabic hospitality.
The first exhibition workshop was held on Sunday 26th March and focussed on Arabic word art. International and Adelaide-based artist Ahmed El Khalidi led 41 participants, in two sessions, through the artistic approach to transforming Arabic lettering into a creative piece of art. Participants worked with ink, charcoal and colour to design calligraphy-style words that ranged from names, greetings, and traditional phrases. It was inspiring to see a range of Arabic and non-Arabic speaking community members embrace the expressive process of turning words into art.
On Sunday 16th April, 17 participants were fortunate enough to be led by renowned mosaic artist Kirstin Wohlers. Kristin studied at the Berlin University of Fine Arts and is now based in the Barossa working in a variety of media especially mosaics and sculptures. Guests enjoyed an opening tutorial in traditional mosaic techniques and then guided by Kirstin through the various stages of cutting glass tiles and setting them in creative and artistic styles. The result was a beautiful variety of designs that sparkled in the sunny afternoon.
Later that afternoon the Australian Lebanese Association shared their custom of making and serving the traditional Lebanese “meghli” with a group of 21 participants. “Meghli” is usually a delicious and aromatic rice pudding, also it may be prepared as a hot drink called “aynar”. In Lebanon and other surrounding Arabic-speaking countries, the aromatic “meghli” dessert and drink are served to guests for almost a month to celebrate the birth of newborn babies. Many spices are blended in these two special treats, eg. aniseed, star anise, ginger, galangal, cinnamon, and caraway. Both are served with generous quantities of nourishing nuts soaked in water for a couple of days to render them soft and refreshing. We were delighted to hear the stories of Affaf Rasheed, Sabah and Ray Najar as they talked us through the recipes, history and tradition of this significant celebration in Arabic hospitality.
Other workshops are planned to take place on 21/5 and on 18/6. For more information and to book, check the ALCASA events page at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/alcasa-8799109608
The Ahlan Wa Sahlan Workshops Series is hosted by ALCASA and the History Trust of South Australia, and supported by the Multicultural Affairs, Department of the Premier and Cabinet.