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Middle Eastern Culture Market 2018

Saturday 24 November 2018
Free entry, wheelchair accessible
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Rapenburg 28
Temple Hall

After the remarkable success of the first two editions, the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) organizes the third edition of the Middle Eastern Culture Market on Saturday 24 November 2018, in collaboration with the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. The market will be open from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. At 13:00 hrs it will be officially opened by the mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink. Ahmet Polat, a renowned Dutch-Turkish photographer and video artist, will give a keynote lecture.

Throughout the day, university lecturers and experts specialized in the region will give interesting lectures and workshops. In the beautiful Temple Hall of the museum, our guests can enjoy a diverse mixture of concerts and acts and they will be able to taste Middle Eastern culinary delicacies and discover Middle Eastern products. The entrance is free and the venue is wheelchair accessible. We also have a corner for children where they can enjoy their day as well!

Reframing the Frames: How the Media Portrays the Middle East

From the beginning of the medium of photography, French and British photographers were commissioned to travel the world to create bodies of work. The images they took were shown to people back home marking what we refer to as ‘orientalism’. The preconceived ideas that people got from seeing these artifacts have left their imprint in our memories and minds as we still struggle to find new visual constructs to deal with today’s realities in framing the ‘other’.

For me as an artist, I have answered the ‘unspoken wish’ of the West and realized through making my work in Turkey how I have internalised the concept of otherness. Being aware of this I have changed my approach within my work. I learned how to better contextualize my work in order to change the visual discourse.

About Ahmet Polat

After graduating from St. Joost Academy in Breda in 2000 Ahmet Polat started exhibiting his work in Turkey and the Netherlands. Among his solo exhibitions are, Silence in Kayapinar (Dordrechts Museum, Netherlands, 2001), Home Is Where I Left My Dreams (Karşı Sanat Gallery, Istanbul, 2003; Resim Heykel Museum, Ankara, Turkey), Old Country, New Country (Photo Museum The Hague, Netherlands, 2004), “Neither Here nor There” (Breda Photo Biennale, 2008), Kemals Dream (FOAM, Amsterdam, 2010, DEPO, Istanbul, 2012). More information at ahmetpolat.nl.

Podium Acts

Chamber choir Het Zingend Hart

Het Zingend Hart is a Leiden-based mixed SATB chamber choir conducted by Guido van Swieten. The choir covers a broad repertoire of a cappella choir music from various cultural traditions and in many languages. Het Zingend Hart is renowned for its performances at unusual locations and occasions and pays a great deal of attention to the staging of its concerts. Professional actors and directors are often involved to help realise a theatrical show that stimulates all senses. 

Fashion Show: Palestian Dress (My Identity organization)

More than twenty Palestinian dresses dating back to the Canaanite era will be exhibited. This show features the dresses of Palestinian women who lived in the 1948 Nakba and who wore these hand-embroidered dresses, which bore an original Canaanite history. The Palestinian folklore show is decorated with paintings and decorations dating back to the Canaanite era thousands of years ago.

Ud concert: Nazeer Abdulhai trio

Nazeer Abdulhai (ud; percussion), Emine Bostanci (kemence) and Khorshid Dadbeh (tar) are three musicians from Codarts Conservatory who play classical Ottoman and Arabic music. Since they come from different cultural backgrounds, the trio is able to provide an explanatory idea of how the mixing of cultures can have an effect on music. Despite their cultural differences, their music is what unites them and brings them together as artists.

Dervish dance: Ahmad Alkhatib

The whirling dervish is a traditional dance from the Middle East. Ahmad Alkhatib, born in Syria, started dancing when he was six years old and has joined many events and festivals around the world ever since. The art of dervish dancing has been in Khatib's family for around 200 years. As a dervish dancer, he presents whirling as a spiritual journey in a regular rhythm continuously looking for peace and love.


Title Speaker Language
Hoe las een Mekkaan de Koran? Marijn van Putten  Dutch
The Love of Writing in Medieval Islam Peter Webb English
Vrouwen in (post)revolutionaire graffiti in Egypte Josephine van den Bent Dutch
Heroes in Modern Arabic Literature Haneen Omari English
Nationalisme en Turks televisiedrama Petra de Bruijn Dutch
Helden van toen, helden van nu:
de Shahnama van Ferdowsi
Gabrielle van den Berg Dutch


NB. Abstracts and the speakers' biographies can be found in the program booklet which will be published soon.

Sneak peek: online course on the medieval Arabic world

During the culture market, you will get a sneak preview of the new MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on the medieval Arabic world. Ed Hayes, one of the contributors to this MOOC project, will walk you through the course and be ready to answer all your questions. We hope that this will inspire you to sign up and tell your friends about this great opportunity to learn about the cosmopolitan medieval Arabic world. MOOCs of Leiden University are available on the Coursera platform and they are free and open to everyone who is a member of the Coursera community. 


Workshop Instructor
Arabic language Engy Abdelaziz
Persian language Gerrie van Rooijen
Turkish language Burak Fiçi
Kurdish language Tischka Ayubi
Dabke (group line dancing) Dreaming of Syria
Storytelling Cafe Mezrab


Just like every year, we have brought together a number of people who will sell you a variety of Middle Eastern products. Please keep in mind that only cash payment is accepted. 

El Assyl Sweets Middle Eastern specialities and sweets 
All About Egypt Egyptian handmade artefacts 
My Identity handcrafted items made by Palestinian women
Madame Kallas handmade products
Roya Persian Handcrafts Persian products
Mustafa's Syrian Handcrafts Syrian handcrafts
Olijfzepen.nl Olive soap

Time Schedule and Programme

Have a look at the time schedule to check the time and museum locations of our events, and read the programme booklet for more details on all activities.

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