Reconnecting with the community through the exhibition “Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome)”

The people who made the exhibition “Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome)”

After almost 3 years of irregular activity due to Covid-19, The Arabic Language and Culture Association of South Australia (ALCASA) is getting back into holding public community events and regular workshops through a six-month exhibition. “Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome): Hospitality in Arabic culture” is a temporary exhibition on display daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from 04 February to 31 July 2023 at the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum. A series of workshops inspired by the exhibition will be hosted by ALCASA and the Migration Museum from 26 March to 18 June (Booking at

The “Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome)” exhibition consists of stories about Arabic hospitality presented by twenty-six participants. The stories are accompanied by personal objects, which have been kept in SA homes and sometimes passed on through generations. The objects and stories were curated in 2022 with the guidance and expertise of Dr. Birgit Heilmann, HTSA Senior Curator, via an Expression of Interest online campaign, and a series of planning meetings, community workshops and events.

The exhibition “Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome)” was launched on 11 February 2022 in a vibrant community event that delighted the audience with traditional Arabic dance, music, and food. The launch was attended by over 200 guests including the Honourable Irene Pnevmatikos, representing the Honourable Zoe Bettison MP, the Minister of Tourism and Multicultural Affairs, Helena Kyriazopoulos OAM (CEO of the Multicultural Communities Council of SA), Greg Mackie OAM (HTSA CEO), Elisabeth Ho OAM (HTSA Chairperson), HTSA team leaders and staff, team leaders and members of five SA Arabic speaking community groups (the Ahwazian community in Australia, the Australian Lebanese Association, the Palestinian Glimmer of Hope, The Sudanese Cultural and Social Society of South Australia, and the Torath Arts Group), and last but not least the exhibitors and the valued members of the ALCASA team.

The exhibition project was initiated by ALCASA in early 2022 to reconnect with South Australians who share an interest in the Arabic language and culture. ALCASA is a not-for-profit organisation based in Adelaide and is not affiliated with any religious or political groups. It was founded in late 2012 to promote and celebrate the Arabic language, arts, and culture. Through its activities, ALCASA aims to build bridges between Arabic-speaking communities and the wider South Australian community, and also to enhance intercultural understanding and respect.

Exhibition project supported by the Government of South Australia through the History Trust of SA Migration Museum and the MCCSA Community Connections Program.

Fayrouz Ajaka
ALCASA Chairperson and Co-Founder


افتتاح معرض أهلا وسهلاً: الضيافة في الثقافة العربية

برعاية وزيرة التعددية الثقافات في ولاية جنوب استراليا السيدة زوي بتيسون تم افتتاح معرض أهلا وسهلاً: الضيافة في الثقافة العربية يوم السبت المصادف 11-02-2023 عند الساعة الخامسة والنصف مساء. يذكر أنه لأوّل مرة يقام معرض فني ثقافي من هذا النوع في استراليا من حيث المحتوى وبالمشاركة بين المناطق الثقافية العربية بما فيها الأحواز العربية، وقد تم المعرض بالتعاون بين جمعية اللغة العربية والثقافة في جنوب أستراليا ومديرية متحف الهجرة في جنوب استراليا

يضم المعرض صور وأشياء تراثية تحكي قصص المهاجرين واللاجئين وارتباطهم الثقافي مع بلد الام رغم البعد ومصاعب الغربة، وتمسك المهاجر واللاجئ العربي مع ثقافته رغم مرور الأعوام والتعريف عنها من خلال مقتنيات تحمل ذكريات الماضي وأهميتها له حيث ممكن القول ان هذا المعرض مذكّرةً بالتقاليد الفنية العربية والجذور المشتركة بيننا. ليكون جسراً للتواصل بين الحضارتين الشرقية والغربية، ونافذة للتبادل الحضاري والإنساني، والتقريب بين الثقافة العربية والغربية، ومد جسور التواصل بينهما، والتعريف بالثقافة العربية في مجال الثقافة والفنون والآداب، بما يسهم في دعم الفهم المتبادل بين الشعوب، وكان للجالية الاحوازية حضوراً مميزا بين الجاليات الأخرى، حيث زار عدد كبير من المشاركين غرفة الاحواز التراثي ومتعلقات التراثية للأحوازية في المعرض. علما ان المعرض سيستمر لفترة ستة أشهر منذ يوم الافتتاح ويمكن للجميع زيارة المعرض كل يوم من الساعة العاشرة صباحا الى الساعة الخامسة مساء في متحف الهجرة

الجدير بالذكر أن جمعية اللغة العربية والثقافة في جنوب أستراليا تأسست في أواخر عام 2012 الجمعية هي منظمة غير ربحية و مقرها في أدلايد، تهدف من خلال أنشطتها إلى بناء جسور بين المجتمعات الناطقة باللغة العربية ومجتمع جنوب أستراليا الأوسع. لدیها فعاليات وورش عمل للترحيب بأعضاء المجتمع المحليين غير الناطقين باللغة العربية. أيضًا، تستضيف أحداثًا ثقافية بالشراكة مع المنظمات الثقافية في جنوب أستراليا وبين الولايات، وتشارك في المناسبات العامة المتعددة الثقافات التي تُقام في أدلايد ولا تنتمي إلى أي مجموعات دينية أو سياسية

اللجنة الإعلامية للجالية الاحوازية في استراليا.
نشر هد الخبر في صفحة الجالية الأحوازية على الفايسبوك في أستراليا بتاريخ 12-2-2023


Official Launch of the exhibition “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” (Welcome)

On the 11th of February 2023, the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum joined forces with the Arabic Language and Culture Association of South Australia (ALCASA) to present the official launch of the Ahlan wa Sahlan (welcome): Hospitality in Arabic Culture exhibition. The event was part of the Community Connections program, supported by the Multicultural Communities of SA (MCCSA) and the exhibition is running from the 4th of February to the 31st of July 2023, at the Migration Museum.

Over 200 people, including exhibitors, distinguished guests, and the wider community attended the launch event. The harmonious evening showcased a series of sentimental objects, artifacts, artworks, culinary items, and historical relics which all had deep cultural roots intertwined with nostalgic stories associated with Arabic hospitality. Alongside the visual cultural displays, guests further indulged in their senses with the traditional ambiance projected from the “dabke” dance from the talented Torah Arts Group led by Rania Daou and Lina Ashkar-Nasr. These insightful performances were then followed by live music played by the extraordinary violinist Aboud Abaza, and of course; guests relished throughout the evening by getting a taste of Arabic hospitality from our impeccable vendors, including Jasmine Al Sham and Sassi Ice Cream – Shukran kteer (thanks so much)!

All in all, the exhibition not only provided guests with live entertainment but also promoted community connections through the awareness of intercultural understanding and the sense of belonging associated with traditional cultures displaying Arabic hospitality.

Special thanks to the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum and ALCASA for hosting a successful event. We also appreciate the support from the wonderful community groups: The Ahwazian community in Australia, the Australian Lebanese Association, The Sudanese Cultural and Social Society of South Australia, and Glimmer of Hope. Last not but not least, our gratitude extends further to the exhibitors for sharing their sentimental stories, and the wider community for delving into an intercultural experience, which we are sure will be their story about Arabic hospitality to share in future.

Tania Zebian

Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome): Hospitality in Arabic culture

Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome), Graphic Design by Ahmed Elkhalidi – Yadura Design Studio

ALCASA is hosting a temporary exhibition at the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum:

Ahlan Wa Sahlan أهلاً وسهلاً (Welcome): Hospitality in Arabic culture

Arabic cultures from all over the world are well-renowned for being masters in generosity when it comes to hospitality. ‘Ahlan wa sahlan’ is a common phrase that will greet all family, friends and strangers and literally translates as ‘welcome, you have arrived!’  

This exhibition delves into the meaning of Arabic hospitality through personal objects and creates a tapestry of stories full of nostalgia, love and pride. The Arabic Language and Culture Association of South Australia (ALCASA) partnered with the History Trust of South Australia to gather these stories from the Arabic speaking communities in South Australia to showcase diversity and enhance belonging. Ahlan Wa Sahlan informs, entertains and educates about the rich history and traditional cultures associated with Arabic hospitality. 

Community consultation and planning for the exhibition has been supported by a MCCSA community connections grant.  

Since 2012, the Arabic Language and Culture Association (ALCASA) has been showcasing aspects of the South Australian Arabic language and culture to enhance belonging and promote intercultural understanding.  

The exhibition will be on show at the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum from 4 February 2023 to July 2023 (Official Launch held on 11 February).

Almost ready for the 2023 exhibition on Hospitality in Arabic Culture

On 16 October 2022, we held the 2022 ALCASA Annual General Meeting event preceded by a dabke performance and workshop. More than 60 enthusiastic participants came to celebrate the Arabic folk dance and to contribute to AGM discussion. Dabke, a folcloric line dance was presented by the emerging Turath Arts group who brought such vigour to the stage with joyous music and “Zaghrouta”! The exuberant energy was contagious as everyone joined to dance together – kids, teenagers, elders, Arabic- and non Arabic-speaking community members.
At the afternoon tea, we mingled over a variety of Arabic sweets and drinks, including homemade date cakes, dates and walnuts, Jallab with pine nuts… brought by our beloved community members – Arabic hospitality at its finest!

Thanks to the ALCASA Chairperson and the ALCASA Treasurer, we reviewed the events and activities that happened in the last financial year. We also gained insight into where we are financially, which is important to plan ALCASA’s next exciting community events and activities.
Approaching the final stage of the 2023 exhibition on Hospitality in Arabic Culture, Dr. Birgit Heilmann, Curator of the History Trust of South Australia Migration Museum, led an interactive discussion among community members to finalise the next steps. Everyone’s unique contribution is cherished in bringing this exhibition alive. Within half an hour, we saw how diverse and passionate voices come together to build the meaning of Arabic hospitality.

By Ann Miao Ng and Soyoo Park, Master of Social Work, University of South Australia: Justice & Society

Event supported by UniSA: Justice & Society and the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) through the Community Connections Program.

A Weekend Reconnecting Communities: Lebanese Movies in Adelaide, September 2022

It has been two years since the Lebanese Film Festival was here in Adelaide. We were thrilled to finally showcase Lebanese art and culture to South Australian communities that we have been preparing from back in July 2022. In partnership with the Lebanese Film Festival, we supported the screening of three movies, Memory Box, C-Section, and Costa Brava, Lebanon, at HOYTS Norwood across the weekend. In particular, ALCASA held the screening of Costa Brava, Lebanon on Sunday, 25 September 2022, as part of a fundraising for ALCASA’s future activities and events for children.

Due to the pandemic, we missed having face-to-face events and gatherings in the last two years. This event allowed us to reconnect with people we have not seen from events before COVID, while making new connections who came to celebrate Arabic-speaking culture with an open mind. Despite the rainy and drizzly weather outside, the connections we’ve had made the afternoon warm and cozy. The relaxing ambience and comfortable seating in the cinema allowed us to lay back and wind down after a hectic week, with soul-soothing Lebanese snacks like Maamoul, Baklava, and gluten-free Ghraybeh.

The realistic portrayal of Lebanon in the films evoked a swirl of emotions: nostalgia, longing, and homesickness among the audience, reminding the Lebanese community members of their beloved home country. The three movies provided critical insight into the reality of Lebanese society, each tackling different social issues such as the aftermath of the civil war, social inequality, and garbage crisis. It was a great opportunity to educate and raise awareness of the wider South Australian public about the severity of issues faced in Lebanon, and a crucial time to bring these topics to the table.

Fayrouz Four smiling people in front of the ALCASA banner

Fayrouz Ajaka, ALCASA Chairperson with project’s key-partner team members from UniSA: Justice & Society

As international students in South Australia, watching Costa Brava, Lebanon is eye-opening as a compelling domestic drama and an exquisite political allegory. Starring the two magnificent actors Saleh Bakri and Nadine Labaki, Mounia Akl tells a metaphorical story of individual people and their hopes, fears and desires, on the search for happiness in a tortured country among its existential struggle. By portraying the family dynamics and structure of the Badri family, it reflects the fissures in Lebanese society. It sheds light on the chronic garbage crisis and waste management in Lebanon that continues to haunt the country, who produces more than 2 million tons of trash per year with 94% buried in landfills and around 6% recycled.

However, Lebanon is not the only country that is suffering from environmental injustice and political corruption. Around the world, millions of vulnerable people are bearing the disproportionate and unequal burdens inflicted by self-serving elites. It is more than an environmental issue, but a political and social justice struggle.

You may ask, then, what can we do in the face of climate injustice? It is a wicked problem, and the biggest threat to the very survival of modern humanity. As individuals, it is more than normal to feel helpless and discouraged as we are all up to our necks in this. However, as shown in the movie, the individual action of Walid in the form of passive resistance has called upon collective action of the wider community to address the very trash and political corruption that is happening next to their house. These issues are to be tackled at the macro level by the community, and it all starts with one individual. Both individually and collectively, in the form of adaptation and mitigation strategies, we are building our capacity to respond to these issues. We, as the audience, are part of a bigger community, and there is a hope for us to be part of the systemic change.

Costa Brava, Lebanon is still around us. As social work students, we uphold the values of human rights and social justice, and this affects humanity as a whole. By nature, social issues are complicated in that we all play a part in contributing to them. Now more than ever, the result impacts all of us, especially the most disadvantaged and oppressed population. We believe in the power of community in resolving social issues, by promoting awareness, having hope and undertaking collective action underpinned by individuals.

To quote Greta Thunberg, “Hope is not passive. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action. And hope always comes from the people.”

By Ann Miao Ng and Soyoo Park, Master of Social Work, University of South Australia: Justice & Society 

Movie screeningt supported by the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) through the Community Connections Program.