Shubbak festival in London to celebrate Arabic culture

Shubbak is the first event of its kind in London to celebrate contemporary Arab culture, with over 70 events in more than 30 venues across the city.

Shubbak (which is Arabic for ‘window’) features a range of programme of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, design, lectures and discussion.

It will feature work by contemporary Arab artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers and architects based in London and around the world.

“London is a global city in which Arab culture has played a significant part over the centuries – the word ‘Trafalgar’ even originates from the Arabic language. This festival is a unique chance for Londoners to glimpse the breadth and excellence of contemporary Arab culture and its influence on London’s cultural scene today,” said Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

“At a time of remarkable political and social change, Shubbak marks an exciting moment between artists in the capital and across the Arab world. I have no doubt that it will stimulate, delight and surprise audiences,” he added.

The events relating to architecture include participation from UAE-based architects, such as from Austin-Smith:Lord and X-Architects.

A talk on July 12, 2011, called ‘Public Domain: Talk on public and civic spaces in the Arab world’ is presented by Nous in partnership with RIBA. It will focus on rapid economic change, public infrastructure in Arab cities, recent political events, and the use of the internet and how these have changed the nature of public and civic spaces in the Arab world. Speakers include Nadim Khattar, design director of Middle East projects, Austin-Smith:Lord; Bernard Khoury, principal, Bernard Khoury/DW5;  Michel Mossessian, principal, Mossessian & Partners; Turi Munthe, CEO, Demotix and Murray Fraser, professor of Architecture and Global Culture, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

A corresponding exhibition will take place from July 12-30, 2011, which will feature material from photojournalists, professional photographers, and architectural practices. The images and films will show the public and civic spaces of the Arab world.

Another architectural talk, ‘Forward Thinking: the Future of Architecture in the Arab World’ also hosted by Nous in partnership with RIBA, will take place on July 19, 2011. It will discuss the future of architecture in the Arab world. It will focus on the development of new technology and materials, how the internet could shape our experience of physical and virtual spaces, and participatory approaches to involve local communities in architectural design. Participants include Ahmed Al-Ali and Farid Esmaeil, Principals, X-Architects; Buro Happold; Aidan Chopra, Google; Salmaan Craig, Environmental Design Analyst, Foster + Partners; and Peter Oborn, Deputy Chairman, Aedas.

The Victoria & Albert Museum will focus on design-related events. The Drop in Design event, from July 23 – August 7, 2011, will allow visitors to go to the studio to make window or geometric tiles inspired by the Islamic Middle East exhibits. Patterns and Pixels, from July 23-31, 2011, is another drop-in event where visitors can create a digital design inspired by the shapes, colours and materials from the Islamic Middle East.

The Shubbak festival will include participants from Algeria, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and USA, and will take place from July 4-24, 2011.

More information can be found here.

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