Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of covering a selection of the events at this year’s MACFEST (Muslim Arts & Culture Festival). The festival was originally established in the wake of the Manchester Arena attacks in order to bring people of all faiths and ethnicities together, celebrating Muslim art, culture and heritage in the North West. Over sixteen days, the celebration has offered over fifty events to provide the Mancunian community with a chance to learn more about their fellow citizens. It has also given Muslims an opportunity to use the festival as an opportunity to proudly demonstrate the rich and diverse forms of cultural heritage that represent the Islamic faith.
The work of MACFEST and other such events help to foster a sense of community among people from a range of backgrounds, as they share in the delights of another culture. A plethora of different events have taken place, with some of the highlights including a showcase of Syrian metalwork at Manchester Museum from the personal collection of the Khaleeq family. Considered to be one of the largest collections of its kind in the world, it featured a number of pieces commissioned during the Ottoman era.
We also filmed at an exhibition of rare scriptures, Qurans and miniatures at the John Rylands Library. Most of the works displayed originated in the Middle East, the oldest of which dating back to the 8th century. The festival has also been able to advance ties between different Islamic cultures from around the world. The ‘Women of Faith’ event at Khizra Mosque in Cheetham Hill was one such occasion that brought together both Jewish women and Muslims from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East to share stories, humour, poetry and food with one another.
MACFEST 2020 proved to be a fantastic festival bringing together differing communities in Manchester to build bridges and consolidate relationships, and we look forward to its return next year!