Park Royal in north west London is sandwiched between the busy hubs and high streets of Harlesden, Acton and Alperton. It’s a heavily industrialised area. If you walk down its factory-lined streets, you might catch a whiff of McVitie’s biscuits or sight of the old Guinness brewery.
However, what you might not expect to see tucked in among the large warehouses, are shisha lounges. Over the past few years, there has been an entrepreneurial shift from the previously well-known London mecca of shisha; Edgware Road, to Park Royal.
Pipe Dreams is a zine publication documenting shisha culture in North West London created and co-produced by Zain Dada. It tells the stories of shisha cafe owners & other Arab businesses - and their experiences of turning an industrialised area of London into a cultural hub for Arab diasporas across the UK. The zine also features an interview with Toronto-based curator, Mitra Fakhrashrafi who had researched the impact of a by-law in Toronto which banned shisha in 2015.
This publication formed part of Shubbak Festival 2021 - Europe’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. The production team consisted of British–Tunisian photographer Sana Badri, artist and filmmaker Nur Hannah Wan, co-writer Zain Dada, and graphic designer Walid Bouchouchi.
The zine is currently archived in the Institute of International Visual Arts‘ (Iniva) Artists & Activists Zine collection at the Stuart Hall Library (https://iniva.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=22941)
Extracts from the zine formed part of the Migration Museums April 2022 exhibition, Taking Care of Business: Migrant Entrepreneurs & The Making of Modern Britain. Shining a light on the central role that migrant entrepreneurs have played in shaping our lives – and Britain.
The work also features in Open City’s London Feeds Itself edited by Jonathan Nunn exploring London’s food, migration and architecture.
Purchase a copy below:
Pipe Dreams Zine (Paperback)
The zine explores this burgeoning hub for London’s Arab diaspora through interviews, photography and graphic illustrations.
Paperback: 55 pages
“The Shubbak Festival of Arab Culture Dances Between the Historical and Personal”, Frieze (2021) — https://www.frieze.com/article-shubbak-2021-review
“New scene for London's Arab diaspora among Park Royal's industrial estates”, The National News (2021) — www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/09/05/new-scene-for-londons-arab-diaspora-among-park-royals-industrial-estates/