Objects Tell Our Stories: ALCASA Community Workshop on 28 August 2022

On the 28th of August, we successfully held ‘Objects Tell Our Stories’ workshop at Campbelltown Arthouse, as part of our planning process for the upcoming exhibition at the History Trust of SA Migration Museum in 2023.

As warm as the sunshine we got to enjoy, the warmth of Arabic hospitality welcomed all 24 participants who were enthusiastic about bringing our ambitious project together. The participants represented many parts of the world: Australia, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Germany, China, South Korea and Malaysia. All brought with them their curiosity and unique perspectives on the ‘hospitality’ aspect of Arabic culture.

The workshop was facilitated by Fayrouz Ajaka, Chairperson of ALCASA, and Dr Birgit Heilmann, curator at the History Trust of SA Migration Museum. Following the two presentations about making cinnamon tea by Sahar from Sahar’s Cooking School and Yemeni coffee by Dalal, people shared their fascinating and intimate stories accompanied by the traditional Arabic objects which held sentimental values. An Arabic afternoon tea was also served to provide a holistic experience of Arabic hospitality.

The ideas and passion from the participants inspired and concretised the development of the exhibition, bringing our vision to life. This will continue in our next workshop in near future for shaping the successful exhibition next year.

Below is the reflection from Tania Zebian, an ALCASA member who participated in the session:

The session not only began with a figurative discussion around what Arabic Hospitality ‘looks, feels, smells and tastes like’, but also ended with guests literally tapping into their senses by tasting different traditional drinks—cinnamon teas and an assortment of Arab coffees— and sweets, including Ma`mul, Baklawa and Kaa`k
This was the first discussion of many that sparked ideas for the exhibition, and we are looking forward to bringing it alive by exploring why these objects of Arabic hospitality are important to us to identify commonalities and differences in our experiences.

Event in partnership with the History Trust of SA Migration Museum
Project supported by the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) through the Community Connections Program.

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

ALCASA’s Big Day Out, Sunday 30 April

ALCASA held one of its most successful and rewarding events this month when about 50 members and friends gathered for a traditional Arabic feast at Houda’s Kitchen. The well-respected restaurant provided the perfect location for ALCASA members to gather together and celebrate the Association’s success in promoting inter-cultural awareness, respect and understanding. We were able to share stories over a trio of حُمُّص (hummus),  بابا غّنّوج (baba ghanoush) and لَبنَة (labne); followed by practicing our Arabic conversation while devouring the delicious فتوش (fattoush) and تبولة (tabouli); and when we thought we couldn’t fit any more in, we laughed and joked over  مناقيش زعتر وجبنة ولحمة بعٍجين (mana’eesh of zaatar, lahme and jibine).

The whole time we were so warmly greeted by our host Doumit and his family and were privileged to have Georges to teach our children to make manaa’eesh. Gorge had 15 children rolling dough, spreading zaatar and then watching it bake in their wood-fired oven. It was a delight to see the children’s faces light up during the cooking lesson and then their smile as their manaa’eesh were served to them to eat.

Doumit surprised us with a generous offering of mint tea and baklawa to finish off the event, and we all celebrated the opportunity to learn more about our members and grow closer and stronger as an Association. Let’s hope you all can join us next time.

Hassan Mekawy

ALCASA 2016 Sahra

The year ALCASA 2016 has ended with an amazing Sahra ( “سalcasas-2016_SAhra_1هرة” an entertaining evening in Arabic). Around 125 people, from Arabic and non-Arabic speaking background, have come to enjoy a true Arabic celebration.

If you know anything about Arabic celebrations, you would know this must include delicious food, music and dance! However, ALCASA is always keen to present the best and more.alcasa-26-of-118

The 2016 Sahra was preceded by a graduation ceremony for ALCASA Children’s group, with acting a story, playing games and handing in their folders of the whole year. The children were delighted and were showing pride of their achievements.

The 2016 Sahra opened with the amazing Zaffit SA, offering a dabke workshop (traditional dance), engaging adults and children to dance hand in alcasa-75-of-118hand. The workshop has attracted the children to go on stage and learn the dabke moves.

The awesome Arabic speaking artists, Rabih Aintarazi, Charlie Yarak, Raja Jamal Eddine, Raniah Daou and Nouha Raslan, have kindly performed well known Arabic songs to share their love to music and to Arabic culture.

Thanks to ALCASA long standing partners the Lebanese Film Festival (LFF Sydney, Australia), ALCASA was very pleased to be able to show two highly recommended and award winning short movies, Congratulations (Cynthia Sawma) and A Time In A Life (George Barbari).  Both movies have been the talk of the night! Bringing great movies to Adelaide in association with LFF Sydney, has been a great success in past ALCASA events, and this time was no difference.

As any Arabic celebration, there have been many shared plates which by itself was a fest! With food comes Arabic coffee, mint tea, sweets and good chats!alcasa-116-of-118

ALCASA had over the years made good relationships with local businesses. The 2016 Sahra received support as vouchers that were offered in a draw as raffle prizes to lucky guests. A huge thank you go to Abdul’s Kitchen, ME&Mr. Jones hair & more, Le Souk, Tea Tree Gully Chicken & Seafood Takeaway, Cafe Buongiorno (Cafe B) Modbury, Houda’s Kitchen, Plaza Pizza Bar, Je T’aime hair and beauty salon and Levant Eatery.

This year, has definitely been a great year for ALCASA, engaging more audience and bringing in more art, food workshops, dance and culture celebrations to the community. Not only the ALCASA 2016 Sahra was a good end-of-the-year event, but also it was a promise for a more entertaining programme in the near future!

We wish you a happy new year and hope to see you again in our upcoming events resuming in February 2017.

Nadia Sbahi

Photos courtesy of ALCASA members and friends including Darren Williams Photography

Posted by Arabic In Adelaide on Saturday, December 3, 2016



ALCASA 2016 Sahra: Arabic dance, music and movies

We are delighted to launch the ALCASA end-of-the year 2016 Sahra, to be held at Nexus Arts ALCASA_2016_SahraCentre on Saturday 17/12.

The 2016 Sahra will start at 6:30 pm after a special celebration by the ALCASA Children’s group in the same venue. Please share the gorgeous poster (created by Yadura Design Studio) and keep an eye on the Facebook page Arabic In Adelaide for upcoming announcements.

With the help of amazing talented ALCASA members and friends, we are still finalising the planing for a very entertaining night, with Arabic dance, music, songs and two short movies.

We re inviting the audience to bring and share Arabic finger food during the night.

Booking at www.alcasa.eventbrite.com.au

ALCASA Arabic Cultural Workshops

In 2016, ALCASA has been proud to expand its monthly conversations sessions to include Arabic Cultural Workshops for our members and members of the general public. Four of our most popular workshops so far, drew over 150 combined guests from a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds.

The cultural workshops support ALCASA’s mission to actively promote harmony, cultural awareness, and respect for cultural diversity by providing opportunities for South Australians of Arabic and non-Arabic backgrounds to celebrate the best of the Middle East.

In April this year, adults and children get together to explore a range of traditional board games from backgammon طاولة الزهر, to chess شطرنج, cards لعب الورق, barjees برجيس, knuckles الزقطة أو الزواقيط and some other popular games.

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In June, we enjoyed the musical talents of Charlie Yarak, a local musician and teacher. Charlie inspired the audience by showcasing the history and melody of a large range of traditional Arabic instruments. In July, we held an engaging and invigorating Arabic Dance workshop facilitated by the world-renowned Nayima Hassan. Nayima took adults and children through some basic dance moves and impressed the audience with some complex belly dancing involving scarves and swords.


In September, the ALCASA committee was overwhelmed by the communities response to our invitation to the ‘Arabic Delights’ workshop. Over 50 participants were able to sample the most delicious sweet and savoury treats from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen.  The Adelaide City Council Minor Works building was filled with the amazing aroma, colour and flavour of food donated and made by committee members, family and friends.

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We are looking forward to a fun interactive presentation to be held on Sunday 20 November about the traditional Arabic clothing with Dr Minerva Nasser-Eddine, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide and Liaison Officer at the Lebanese Emigration Research Center in Lebanon.

It has been really rewarding to see a community share and celebrate in our rich cultural history and traditions. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm and we look forward to offering a wide range on cultural workshops.

Please visit our eventbrite page for the next scheduled cultural presentations (www.alcasa.eventbrite.com.au).

Hassan Mekawy


Arabic Finger Food, all about mezze …

ALCASA Arabic Finger Food Wrokshop, 18 Sepetemberr_web)

By Yadura Design Studio

Members of the South Australian community have participated in ALCASA cooking workshop demonstrated by ALCASA members and friends Nadia, Grace, Doris, Dalal, Rua and Zain on last Sunday 18th September 2016.

ALCASA conducted a 60-minutes workshop in the Adelaide City Council’s Minor Works Building demonstrating how a variety of Arabic finger food were made and introduced the typical Arabic spices and ingredients. The 53 workshop participants had the opportunity to taste and share food from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen.

“We tried kleicha (dates stuffed in sweet dough), the famous zatar, Iraqi tea, hommus, Yemeni dessert and a few other treats,” says Renee from Intercultural Connections Australia.

The program – run as part of ALCASA’s Cultural Workshops series – aims to create greater understanding and appreciation for the Arabic culture.

ALCASA’s Chair Fayrouz Ajaka says the workshop was a very successful event and is grateful to all ALCASA members and members of public for their generous contribution and support.

“Thank you very much for everything you have done to make the success of the Food workshop. I was very touched by the great team work that happened on Sunday… We saw even the guests helping in packing up and cleaning to the last chair and the tiniest piece of dust on the floor!”

Sudas, a valued guest, says the event was lovely and ALCASA’s work is an inspiration for all.

“Thank you so much for the lovely day, the place was filled with enthusiasts who wanted to know more about language, culture and food. I loved your work, approach and all the friendly smiling faces.”

Our amazing presenters

Our amazing presenters

To see more photos check the event’s album on our Facebook Page Arabic In Adelaide.

The ALCASA Arabic Finger Food Workshop was kindly supported by:

Adelaide City Council Community Centres
ARGO On The Parade
Lovely Cake
Arabic Pages
Yadura Design Studio

Hafiz Abdul Nasir