Between October 29th and Nov 4th, Soul City Arts had the pleasure of hosting poet Mark Gonzales to the UK. Mark is a resident artist of Soul City Arts and is a strong advocate for the work we deliver in the UK. His dedicated page can be seen on the Soul City Arts website>> Earlier in the year, we had already hosted Mark for a performance, so we jumped at the opportunity to give him a nationwide audience, even at such short notice. We arranged performances and Q&A sessions at the Rich Mix arts centre in London, a performance at the University of Liverpool and an intimate session at The Hubb Arts Centre in Birmingham. Marketing for the event at the Rich Mix began only 6 days before the event itself but we quickly managed to sell out and fil the theatre space. Through a dedicated team who really believed in Mark Gonzales it was only a matter of time before the whole of London was talking about this exciting artist delivering an impromptu tour of the UK. People described how they had received emails and text messages from four or five independent sources – it was clear that Soul City Arts had caused a little storm by bringing Mark Gonzales! With the addition of Rafeef Ziadah – an outspoken Palestinian poet, at the RIch Mix – this event was sure to bring the house down.
Here are some pix from the Rich Mix event courtesy of Nurain Jamal:
The following is a summary of one audience member Nafisah Kara, who shares her experience on the event at the Rich Mix:
‘The event held at Rich Mix hosted by Soul City Arts was truly moving! I must say it was one of the first Poetry nights I have been too but definitely won’t be the last. The performances by MG and Rafeef blew me away with Mark’s focus on cultural and social balance, complemented with an often bullet statement, one of my favourites being, ‘Dear Columbus, you cannot discover a land 70,000 people are living on’! An array of emotions emerged from the audience during the event. Sometimes laughter, followed by tears, followed by rage all resulting in two: inspiration and mobilization. How can it be that in one evening you can feel so liberated, so alive?
The audience was diverse, ethnically, religiously, politically, but that just made the night full of beauty as we all came together and related to common points and interests. The word ‘humanity’ was demonstrated in this event as the audience were like one heartbeat at times responding to the cutting edge emotive performances by Mark and Rafeef, both two completely different styles of eloquence, both so powerful and moving.
As the event was titled, A conversation with MG and Rafeef we had an opportunity to ask some questions on any issues we thought were relevant and a range of topics were discussed including the US Election, identity, and resistance. This was interesting to gain a deeper understanding on the different methods of mobilizing or making a difference to the political and social issues we all face.
Soul City Arts did a great job putting this event together, and the venue was spot on. Rich Mix was comfy, quirky and fit the topic and atmosphere of the event perfectly. I was quite impressed with the technological side of things. The iPad check-in system was professional, and I’ve never seen anything like it at an event! There was not a single technical hiccup, which made it all the more relaxed to kick back and enjoy.
Considering that Soul City Arts put this event together in a ruthless few days I thought it was epic. I will definitely be attending more events arranged by Soul City Arts, its original, eccentric, innovative and a local home grown ambition which I would love to be a part of. I’m already browsing the website and Facebook page for the next events and God Willing will stay connected!’
Following the sucess of the Rich Mix event, an impromptu event took place at the Hubb in Birmingham, with just one 10 hours notice, an intimate audience came together for a Q&A and performance. Pictures can be seen here courtesy of Salshan Photography
Finally a video shot with Mark outside Wembley Arena, on his thoughts of the work that Soul City Arts is delivering: