‘Haramacy’ raises marginalised voices of the publishing industry
The new book from Kuwaiti-Indian Zahed Sultan is an anthology on cross-cultural interactions & identities
‘Haramacy’ is the term and brainchild of award-winning multimedia artist Zahed Sultan, which he uses as the title for his upcoming book. It is an amalgamation of the Arabic word “haram” (meaning indecent or forbidden) and the English word "pharmacy" which implies a reliable space that prescribes antidotes to illnesses caused by intersectional, social issues.
Planned for a release on May 26 2022, ‘Haramacy’ is an embodiment of a critique towards journalism in the UK and its dire industry statistics, representing a mere 0,4% of Muslim and 0,2% of Black journalists. The collection of essays in ‘Haramacy’ aims to amplify these under-represented voices.
The 160-page book is described as “A beautiful love letter to the diaspora,” mentions British author-screenwriter Nikesh Shukla. It features the contributions of notable novelists, journalists and artists such as Aina J. Khan, Ammar Kalia, Cyrine Sinti, Joe Zadeh, Kieran Yates, Nasri Atallah, Nouf Alhimiary, Saleem Haddad and Sanjana Varghese, alongside essays from its editors Dhruva Balram, Tara Joshi and Zahed Sultan himself.
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Within the pages of ‘Haramacy’, writers are given the freedom to bring forth topics that mainstream organisations tend to let pass. Twelve Middle Eastern and South Asian writers share their stories on visibility (and invisibility), love, strength and race. Their words emote a certain fractured feeling of being both in the UK and their home countries, while still upholding appreciation for both heritage and adopted home.
This isn’t the first time the word ‘Haramacy’ has been introduced to the public. Back in 2019, Sultan held a pilot combined arts program in London under the same name, promoting cross-cultural engagement between artists of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian descent.
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Zahed Sultan, who is of Kuwaiti-Indian heritage, seeks to further his idea of community through collaborative culture-based projects; evident in his latest written release. The London-based artist began his career as a teen DJ in Kuwait, mixing for both mixed and segregated parties. As time went on, he continued to hone his skills and released a string of singles, EPs and albums.
Particularly known for his live audiovisual dance performances, Sultan blurs the line between analog and digital to create his ”alternative electronic” sound, fusing live instrumentation and electronic music in a live scenario.
Get acquainted with the work of Zahed Sultan via his website and pre-order the ‘Haramacy’ book here.
Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Instagram.