London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture, the Shubbak Festival, hits the capital from the 11th July, with a number of events taking place in the Royal Borough.
The festival will be showcasing and premiering visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture and debate from, and inspired by, the Arab world. For a full list of the programme do visit their website (www.shubbak.co.uk), but below are a flavour of the events and activities popping up in Kensington and Chelsea:
Kissing Amenia – Raed Yassin
13 July – 2 August (every day, except Tuesday from 10am – 5.30pm) at Leighton House Museum – £7/£5 concessions
Lebanese artist Raed Yassin places his works into the unique surroundings of London’s most famous orientalist 19th century artist’s house. The exhibition includes Yassin Dynasty, a series of beautiful porcelain vases made in the Chinese porcelain capital Jingdezhen, depicting battles from the Lebanese civil war.
Another Day Lost – Issam Kourbaj
11-25 July (every day – 10am-6pm) at 10 Golborne Road – Free
One of a series of installations across five sites, inspired by and based on the Syrian refugee crisis, by Syrian-born, UK-based artist, Issam Kourbaj.
The installations resemble ‘camps’ constructed out of waste materials, such as medicine packaging and discarded books. The ‘tents’ are marked with Kourbaj’s distinctive black lines, based on Arabic calligraphy and traditional mourning ribbons, and encircled with a ‘fence’ of used matches. The sites are scattered around London, mapping out and loosely reflecting the geographic pattern of refugee presence outside the borders of Syria. The installations at Goethe-Institut London and St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, roughly relate to the locations of camps along Syria’s southern border; Central Books in East London correlates to the cities of northern Iraq; 10 Golborne Road represents Lebanon; and Heath Street Church, Hampstead, approximates the location of camps in Turkey.
Carrousa Sonore & Other Works – Younes Baba-Ali
Hafla on the Square launches the first day of the festival with a free family-friendly afternoon of live music, art and drop-in workshops. Watch London-based Egyptian artist Nazir Tanbouli create a giant floor painting throughout the afternoon. Join the artists’ collective Variant Space to construct an installation based on identity. Try some Arabic drumming with Farouk Al Safi in one of his popular tabla drumming circles. Watch Libyan graffiti artist Aiman Ajhani, known as Elbohly, create new works.
Based on improvised carts used by street merchants in Morocco, Younes Baba-Ali re-imagines the Carroussa Sonore as a vehicle to present sound art. Now offering a personal selection of sound works from Arab and international artists, the artist sends this simplest of stalls into public spaces, subtly subverting the material value of trading.
The Carroussa Sonore is displayed in the foyer of Chelsea Theatre throughout the festival and will visit the John Madejeski Gardens.