“April Ful’s Night” offers a look at current Middle East events through art, culture

“Ful,” Egypt’s national dish made of mashed fava beans, will be served together with roasted goat at Friday night’s event at the Oakland Museum of California, when “April Ful’s Night” visitors will share a communal meal and talk about the latest developments in the Middle East.

The event is about “combining cultural work with social dialogue,” says Rene De Guzman, Senior Curator of Art, adding, “You have people over for dinner, you discuss what’s on your mind, and that’s what we’ll do on that night.”

In addition to the communal dinner, which will take place outdoors in the museum’s garden, visitors can connect to the revolutionary movements that have been taking place in the Middle East by designing their own banners and signs. Indoors, in the contemporary arts section of the museum, documentaries and video clips from the last weeks will be shown, and spotlight tours of the galleries will highlight art and artifacts that reflect historical struggles of independence.

There will also be a live Skype video link to Cairo-based artists and curators who will share Egyptian perspectives.  Dancers and musicians from Zambaleta, a world music and dance school based in San Francisco, will engage the visitors in collective dances.

Jerome Waag and Amanda Eicher, two of the event’s organizers and hosts, say that everyone is welcome to attend. “The idea is that we didn’t want to have a limited number of scholars talk about the subject, but everyone,” Waag says. As part of the Oakland Museum of California’s series “the Oakland Standard” the event is an experiment in how museums can engage in new ways with audiences. In the best case scenario, Eicher says, the museum will feel like a living room to the visitors on April Ful’s Night.

According to Eicher, the evening’s themes could be a mixture between “productive chaos” and “self-directed engagement.”

Sound interesting? Stop by April Ful’s Night at the Oakland Museum of California.

Friday, April 1st

6–7pm : Communal Meal
7–9pm : Talks, Performances, Music, Conversation

Admission: free, gallery admission half-price

Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket to sit on.

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St.
Oakland, CA 94607

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