FUNOON [FU-NOON]: (NOUN) THE ARTS (ARABIC, URDU, PERSIAN)
Culture lovers, desi foodies, wanderers, thinkers, all-round curious types – welcome to Funoon London – the thoughtful guide to South Asian arts, culture and lifestyle in London.
We are a website and arts platform that aims to represents the beauty and the bounty of our traditional heritage, as well as new and emerging talent and ideas.
We help you to know about the vibrant and dynamic South Asian arts and culture scene in London.
Skip work to attend a symposium on the walled city of Lahore, hear that Nepali band that’s reviving traditional instruments. Learn about how geometry underpins the eternal beauty of the Taj Mahal, revel in the transcendence of Bulleh Shah’s poetry. Throw some jhatkas and matkas to the latest Bollywood tune, hear the stories of hijabis (from hijabis). See a bharatanatyam performance, buy a durree, max the credit card when Raw Mango finally comes to London. Catch ‘Sholay’ on the big screen. Feel love, be love at a qawwali. Discover the latest writing from Bangladesh, watch a new Pakistani film. Find yourself in the unlikeliest corners of London discovering South Asian food traditions you can’t believe you never knew about, order in some momos, hoppers, puris, puchkas, and nihari. We’ll help you with it all.
Funoon London was founded by two friends in early 2013 and has now grown into a collective of writers and cultural producers. All volunteers, and all obsessed with creative thinking, creating more inclusive arts narratives and spaces, building collaborations, and amplifying how art brings us all-important questions and doubt, sweetness and light. We want to build a community, a movement.
We don’t do nationalism. The divisions that have riven South Asia are pointless and damaging. We own and celebrate the shared heritage of the subcontinent, and love particularly the diversities and syncretic intermingling that it represents.
We are not interested in highlighting the ‘contribution’ South Asian migrants have made to this country. Our aim is to celebrate the brilliance of South Asian arts and culture in its own right.
We are feminist and are committed to respect for and inclusion of women, people of colour, young people, LGBTQ communities and people with disabilities. As our ideas, resources and relationships grow, we’re committed to managing these in a progressive, socially conscious way.
The vision and ambition for Funoon has been evolving, transforming and emboldening from the day we launched our (at the time) home-made site. We will continue to work to respond to the information needs of the South Asian diaspora, connect creatives from different contexts, and provide a platform for new talent, including new arts writers. In 2016, we launched the Funoon events series, and have already hosted three successful events showcasing excellent new and established talent from South Asia.
Seema Khan, Co-Founder and Editor
Seema works on women’s rights internationally, particularly in health. She tends to think complicatedly, speak rhetorically, and reckons art is the answer. She likes Urdu poetry, cat memes and short courses, and has so far (not) taken up quilting, Pashto and Ayurveda.
Nadia Rahman, Co-Founder, Film Editor and Creative Producer
Nadia is a human rights campaigner and advocate and works for an INGO. She qualified as an Attorney at the New York Bar, trained as a filmmaker at Goldsmiths College, and is obsessed with the role of art in activism. She really wishes the Pakistani women’s cricket team had existed when she was making critical choices about what to do with her life.
Rida Bilgrami, Food Editor
Rida is a sustainability strategist working on environmental and social impact. She’s drawn to exploring how societies and cultures are shaped by food, and this curiosity regularly lands her in the thick of London’s vibrant food scene. Rida strongly believes that Bollywood movies from the ’90s are the answer to any existential crisis.
Farida Mohamedali, Arts Writer
Farida is passionate about the arts and travel and enjoys writing and learning about the ever changing perception of artistic traditions of Indo-Persian art. She can often be found snuggled up with a book and mug of cocoa embracing hygge.
Sakeena Adamjee, Dance Writer
Sakeena studied South Asian culture and ethnomusicology at SOAS. She works for the local government as an Education Advisor promoting inclusion for special needs children. She’s also a life coach practitioner, trained in flamenco dance in both London and Spain, and currently uses both art forms as her own life medicine.
Noor Nyah Shaikh, Intern
Noor is studying art and history GCSEs. She lives in Cambridge, loves writing, photography, art, and trying and learning new things.
If you’d like to send us ideas about things to check out, or get in touch with us just because, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art work by Nasreen Raja
Graphic design by Tania Naima Khan