LONDON / Shubbak, A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture Brings together more than 40 events across visual arts, music, literature, theater and film, at venues across London from 22 June – 6 July 2013.

Highlights of Shubbak 2013 include:

Visual Arts

A major exhibition of work by young Palestinian artists, selected for A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Award. This is the first chance to see new installations, sculptures and video works by winners and finalists of the 2012 award. (The Mosaic Rooms, 22 June – 6 July 2013)

An exhibition featuring the works of pioneering Iraqi artist, Mahmoud Sabri, whose paintings span from politically charged post‐independence works of the 50s and 60s in Baghdad, to his development of Quantum Realism. Shubbak has been working closely with the artist’s daughter in presenting this first retrospective after the artist’s death in 2012. (La Galleria, 25 June – 6 July 2013)

For their second exhibition in the new gallery and educational center, Edge of Arabia collaborates with independent curator Latifa Al Khalifa to present In The Open, which explores new artistic expression in Bahrain. Highlights include Hasan Hujairi’s interactive sound sculpture; and a photographic mural depicting ongoing conversations Spread over Bahrain’s walls, by Ghada Khunji. (Edge of Arabia Testbed, 27 June – 25 July 2013)

image Ghada Khunji 'The Wall Whisperers' (Edge of Arabia 'In the Open') / Courtesy of Shubbak

Tate Modern will present the UK’s first major exhibition of the work of Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, highlighting one of the most significant figures in African and Arab Modernism, and featuring 100 works from across more than five decades of his international career. (Tate Modern, 3 July – 22 September 2013)

The British Museum will put on show recent acquisitions of works by contemporary artists highlighting the range of art coming out of the Middle East in recent years. These Include the series 'Mother, Daughter, Doll' by the photographer Boushra Almutawakel, Haram Alaykum and other works by Fathi Hassan, paintings by Ayman and Said Baalbaki, and a group of sun prints by Moataz Nasr. (British Museum, 22 June – 5 October 2013)

Rich Mix Gallery hosts Culture in Defiance: Street Art from Syria’s Uprising featuring works by the artists and activists’ collective Al Shaab Alsori Aref Tarekh (The Syrian People Know Their Way), which was started by a fine art student from Damascus University and a calligrapher from Hama. They combine the country’s Iconography with traditional motifs, poetry and protest charts in posters distributed online. (Rich Mix Gallery Café, 4 July – 13 July 2013)

Mister President’s Circus is the result of four years of documentation by British photographer John Perkins, living and working in Egypt, taking us behind the scenes in a series of black and white photographs, with texts by documentary journalist Mona Abouissa. (The Arab British Centre, 24 – 28 June 2013)

Points of Departure brings together British and Palestinian artists side by side in a group exhibition in collaboration with the Delfina Foundation, ArtSchool Palestine, and The British Council and the ICA. (ICA, 26 June – 21 July 2013)


London premiere screening of Papa Hedi – a portrait of one of Tunisia’s best-loved musicians, Hedi Jouini, through the eyes of his British granddaughter. Claire Belhassine was in her 20s and living in London when she discovered that her grandfather was the Frank Sinatra of the Arab World. Her film Papa Hedi, charts the story of her randfather’s legacy in Tunisian popular culture and the effects his success had on her own family. (British Museum, 30 June 2013)

Ciné Lumičre presents four nights of special screenings of award-winning films and Documentaries of contemporary Arab cinema, co-curated by Omar Kholeif. Among the Highlights is the London premiere of Lust (El Shoq), winner of Golden Pyramid award For best film and the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards 2012. (Institut Français. 3 July – 6 July 2013)

The ICA presents an evening of short films by artists from the Middle East exploring Social and political conventions, as part of the Points of Departure exhibition. (ICA, 29 June 2013)

In a second evening they collaborate with the Arab British Centre and Dubai International Film Festival to present the UK premiere screening of the Syrian film Round Trip. The director, Meyar Al Roumi and lead actor Ammar Haj Ahmad will also participate in a Q&A led by journalist and writer Malu Halasa. (ICA, 4 July 2013)

image The Curse /still from film, Director: Fyzal Boulifa, United Kingdom, 2012 / Courtesy of Shubbak


London College of Fashion present a special event as part of the Faith and Fashion Series: Arab Design on the International Modest Market, Professor Reina Lewis Will talk to Emirati designer Rabia Zargarpur who founded her fashion brand in the Aftermath of 9/11 to provide ‘conservative chic’ for the growing numbers of young Muslim women turning to the hijab. (London College of Fashion, 25 June 2013)

image Rabia Z / AW11 Look No19. Reproduced by kind permission of Rabia Z (Faith and Fashion. London College of Fashion) / Courtesy of Shubbak and Rabia Z

Other Debates and Talks:

Palestinian Fashion Designer Omarius Joseph Filius Dinae and Musician Merit Ariane Stephanos illustrate how their respective researches into traditional techniques of Palestinian embroidery and ancient Syriac chants influences their current artistic practice. (British Museum, 29 June 2013)

image Work of Omarivs Ioseph Filivs Din / © Credit Tarek Moukaddem (The British Museum. Contemporary artistic practice - responses to Middle Eastern traditions) / Courtesy of Shubbak

image Omarivs Ioseph Filivs Din / © Credit The Ceremonial Vniform ( MMXII) / Courtesy of Shubbak

A panel of architects and the Minister of Culture in Bahrain discuss recent restoration Projects under the title of ‘On Preservation and Nostalgia in Architecture in the Context of Bahrain’. (British Museum, 30 June 2013)

Regional Vis-A-Vis Global Discourses: Contemporary Art from the Middle East, brings together international experts to discuss the development of contemporary Art in the Middle East (5 - 6 July 2013)

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