Israeli poets Muhammad Aguani and Yonatan Kunda opened the 6h edition of the “Poetry Slam Cyprus” in Nicosia in March.
Pioneered by American poet Marc Smith, poetry slams are competitions, in which participants read their original work while dramatizing the reading as if in a performance.
The aim of the slam in Cyprus was to present thought-provoking works, leading the concept of poetry to the extreme and seeking new forms of expression, while always keeping in mind contemporary international poetry trends. The festival saw the participation of artists from all over the world, including the US, Greece, Denmark, Belgium and Mozambique.
Aguani and Kunda were invited as guests to perform outside of the competition for the opening event, which was attended by Rotem Segev, Deputy Ambassador of Israel in Cyprus.
The duo has been working together for many years as part of the ensemble “System Ali.”
Born in Jaffa in 1987, poet and rapper, Aguani facilitates creative writing workshops in various frameworks, including within "Beit System Ali", the Helicon Library Network and schools in Jaffa and Lod.
A poet, rapper, and guitarist, Kunda was born in the United States in 1986. He leads various educational projects, including creative writing groups for youth in Hebrew and Arabic, as well as a group of adults in Ofakim, as part of the "Poetry on the Map" of the Helicon Organization.
The two of them co-authored the book “Pre-Conditions,” which was published in 2012.
In Cyprys, Aguani and Kunda performed in three languages - Hebrew, Arabic and English - focusing on the theme of “childhood.” Aguani’s eight-year-old son joined them on stage for part of the performance, completely stealing the show.
The Cypriot audience showed a particular interest in the issue of Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel, since in Cyprus people are working to strengthen the relations between the Greek and the Turkish sides of the island.