Home » Event Series

San Francisco Library’s Middle Eastern Arts & Culture Festival | SF

In recognition of the cultures and peoples stemming from the Middle East who reside here in the Bay Area, a wide variety of programs for all ages and exhibitions will be presented in August, September and October.

Programs include lectures, films, cooking demonstrations, performances, music, games and more at the Main Library and branches, with select programs offered at multiple locations.

Adult Programs (selected):

You Are Under Arrest for Masterminding the Egyptian RevolutionAhmed Salah, co-founder and leader of street activists, discusses his book and the growth and failures of the Egyptian opposition.

  • Sept. 7, Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Rooms, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 17, North Beach Branch, 1 p.m
  • Sept. 24, Parkside Branch, 2 p.m.

The History and Art of Bellydancing with the Sausan Academy of Egyptian DanceThe program explores the history and evolution of belly dance and discusses the various styles, including a live demonstration.

  • Sept. 10, West Portal Branch, 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 17, Richmond Branch, 1 p.m. 

Arab Street Food by Reem

Vendor Reem’s will give a talk on Middle Eastern street food and the chefs who have inspired them, including a tasting of their breads and dips.

  • Sept. 7, Main Library, Latino/Hispanic, 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 17, North Beach Branch, 1 p.m.
  • Sept. 24, Parkside Branch, 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 25, Mission Branch, 2 p.m.

Film Screening: Caramel  – Discussion will follow this screening of Caramel (2008), in which friends and employees of a ramshackle beauty salon in Beirut look for love and romance.

  • Sept. 10, Golden Gate Valley Branch, 1 p.m.


Home Away from Home: Little Palestine by the Bay, curated by Najib Joe Hakim, opens in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery on Aug. 27. The exhibition includes multimedia histories as well as black and white photo portraits of 27 individuals from the Bay Area’s Palestinian American community, the second largest community in the U.S.

Home Away from Home – Main Library, Jewett Gallery, Aug. 27 – Nov. 27

  • Opening event:  Curator Najib Joe Hakim will discuss his work and the ties and aspirations of the Bay Area Palestinian American Community. Aug. 28, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
  • Palestinian Poetry and Music Celebration. Arabic violin virtuoso Georges Lammam and poets Elmaz Abinader, Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis and Tarik “Excentrick” Kazaleh perform their work. Oct. 25, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: In Defense of Culture features the work of 50 artists and print makers from around the world, who created their works in commemoration and solidarity to support the booksellers in Baghdad, whose lives and others were irrevocably changed by a car bomb set off in their street in 2007.

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here – Main Library, Skylight Gallery, Sept. 17, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017

  • Opening Event: Art as Activism, Art as Memorial. Five artists from the exhibition, including Art Hazelwood and Kahlil Bendib, will speak on the use of art for memorializing loss and activating resistance. Sept. 25, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
  • Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here – Readings and author discussions with Deema Shehabi, Art Hazelwood and others.  Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room, Dec. 4, 1 p.m.

Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Transcendent Hope – City College of San Francisco Library. The exhibition includes artists’ books, broadsides and prints. Oct. 24, 2016 – April 16, 2017

Event Details