We recently caught up with the Mayor of London’s Office to talk about London’s upcoming celebration of contemporary culture from across the Arab world. This exciting event unites the Arab nations and Britain, while further underpinning our predictions of a celebrated multicultural presence within London as the city is propelled into the limelight for the Olympics in 2012.
London Mayor Boris Johnson revealed Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, will encompass over seventy events in more than thirty key cultural venues throughout the city for three weeks from 4 – 24 July 2011, organised by the Mayor of London and sponsored by HSBC.
Shubbak (the arabic word for ‘window’) will feature a wide-ranging programme of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussions, many of them free, hosted by leading London cultural organisations.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘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. 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.‘
Zarir J Cama, Group General Manager, Group Management Office, HSBC Holdings plc, commented: ‘Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture will provide real insight into the Middle East and we are pleased to announce this sponsorship as the first event of our 2011 and 2012 global Cultural Exchange programme, Arabian Journeys. Celebrating the rich and diverse culture of the region, the programme will include research with the Economist Intelligence Unit, Arabia Offscreen - an international education project involving an expedition to Saudi Arabia – and exclusive cultural experiences for clients and stakeholders, with further announcements to be made shortly. Following our previous spotlights on the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil, our Cultural Exchange programme reflects the value we place on appreciating and understanding different points of view when building successful working relationships.‘
Work by contemporary Arab artists, writers, film-makers, musicians, choreographers and architects based in London and from countries around the world will be presented including Algeria, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA.
Munira Mirza, Advisor for Arts and Culture to the Mayor of London, said today: ‘We are absolutely delighted at the response we’ve received from cultural organisations all over London and across the Arab world to our invitation to take part. There is a real sense of excitement and collaboration amongst artists and I believe the festival will demonstrate the power of culture to bring people together.’
Aaron Cezar, Director of the Delfina Foundation, speaking at the Press Conference, said: ‘Through Delfina’s renowned artist-in-residency programme in London, we know first-hand that this city is a beacon to both young and established artists from the Arab world. We are excited to be part of Shubbak, alongside so many venues and organisations in London, at a time when the world is re-evaluating its preconceptions about the Arab world and when London is yet again proving it is the world’s cultural capital.‘
Mpdclick says: Shabbak not only celebrates the relationship between the Arab nations and Britain but further drives the spotlight on this often misunderstood nation; playing a key part among a number of other events and art exhibitions that are redefining perceptions.
Exhibition: The Future of a Promise
Art & design: UAE Pavillion at the 2011 Venice Biennale
Art: Sara Rahbar’s Dual Nationality Comes to the Forefront
Art & Design: Contemporary Calligraphy
Art & Exhibitions: Arabicity
Technology: Sustainable Futures – Masdar
City & culture: Beirut- Self Branded as the Cultural Capital of the Middle East
MpdInsight – Issue 29
MpdInsight – Issue 28