Blog

Review: Shift Exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms (Flavia Malusardi)

Category: Blog, News

  Review by Flavia Malusardi of Shift Exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms, which was part of Shubbak 2017. Shift, part of Shubbak Festival 2017, brought together the work of three young female artists from Saudi Arabia, at their debut in the UK. Showcased at the premises of The Mosaic Rooms,…
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Watch Shubbak 2017 highlights

Category: Blog, Featured

For 16 days in the summer of 2017, Shubbak showcased work from over 130 artists, across 70 events to an audience of well over 50,000. From the latest DJ talents to Eid on Trafalgar Square, from a densely packed literature festival to interventions in Dalston and Shepherd’s Bush, Shubbak presented…
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Shubbak 2017 highlights

Rasha Abbas – The Sword and Sheath

Category: Blog, News

The Sword and Sheath By Rasha Abbas Translated by Elisabeth Jaquette There was no other woman I knew who could have done such a thing. I ran after her, out of the building, and she crawled through a hole in the barbed wire fence around the perimeter. She asked me…
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Ace of Swords

It’s a wrap!

Category: Blog, Featured

It’s a wrap! 16 days across more than 30 venues, with over 70 events and more than 150 artists – Shubbak 2017 is over. Thank you to everyone who came to Shubbak 2017 and to all the artists, performers, producers, partners, sponsors, venues, staff and volunteers who made it such…
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Sacré Printemps! by Cie Chatha for Shubbak 2017

Shubbak 2017 in pictures

Category: Blog, Featured

As Shubbak’s 2017 Festival draws to a close, we’re looking back and remembering a few of our favourite moments from the festival. Want more? Head to Instagram or our Facebook photo stream.

Cairokee kicks off Shubbak’s 2017 music programme at the Barbican

Edinburgh Festivals 2017

Category: Blog · Tags: , , , ,

Shubbak is delighted to be partnering on two events at the Edinburgh Festivals this August. Forever Arab? explores the reception of Arab theatre makers, and Reflections on Syria presents Syrian short films.

Forever Arab? at the Edinburgh Festival 2017

Modern Poetry in Translation

Category: Blog, Featured, On now · Tags:

Modern Poetry in Translation’s summer issue A Blossom Shroud focuses on poets and translators associated with Shubbak 2017 and it publishes a selection of new translations of poets appearing at the festival

A Blossom Shroud: Focus on the Poets of Shubbak by Modern Poetry in Translation

Tarek Yamani Trio @KingsPlace – Review

Category: Blog · Tags: ,

Following his show @KingsPlace, London, I met with Tarek Yamani to discuss his career so far, his latest album, and his performance at Shubbak Lebanese-American self-taught pianist Tarek Yamani, alongside bassist Elie Afif, percussionist Khaled Yassine, and guest performer Trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, produced a mesmerising performance @KingsPlace as part of…
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Tarek Yamani Trio

Tania Saleh & Cairokee – review

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Lebanon’s Tania Saleh and Egypt’s Cairokee launched Shubbak and MARSM’s music programme with an exciting and emotional journey through the musical sounds of the contemporary Arab World. In a graceful London debut, Tania treated the audience to a fun and refreshing collection of songs from her four studio albums to…
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Tania Saleh kicks off Shubbak’s 2017 music programme at the Barbican

Interviewing Najwa Benshatwan

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Interviewing Najwa Benshatwan: The Libyan female author ‘Under The Radar’ speaks to Nahla Al-Ageli for Shubbak An ugly shadow side of Libya’s history is that it was a slave market route for centuries under Ottoman rule, way before the Italian occupation and prior to Libya’s declared independence in 1951. Growing…
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King of Cups – Rasha Abbas

Category: Blog, News

I shuffle the deck of tarot cards and deal three of them onto the table. The first one has a drawing of the Nine of Cups, reversed. Not reassuring. The second has a drawing of the Three of Cups, reversed. Not the best card either. The third is the King…
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Nahla Al-Ageli Interviews Saleem Haddad About ‘Guapa’

Category: Blog, News · Tags:

For Shubbak, Nahla Al-Ageli reviews Saleem Haddad’s ‘Guapa’ and interviews the author before he participates in the Literature Programme Living in a politically volatile city in the Middle East, a young Arab drag queen – who is by day a tireless human rights activist – is arrested by the police…
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Professional Visitors Programme

Category: Blog, News

SHUBBAK FESTIVAL // 1 – 16 July 2017 // PROFESSIONAL VISITORS PROGRAMME SHUBBAK (meaning ‘window’ in Arabic) is London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture bringing new and unexpected voices alongside established artists to new audiences every two years. Shubbak connects London audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab…
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Watch Shubbak’s 2017 festival programme launch

Category: Blog

Watch the Shubbak 2017 Festival programme announced live on Facebook on 3 May 2017, as journalist Bidisha interviews Artistic Director Eckhard Thiemann.

Bidisha interviews Shubbak's Artistic Director Eckhard Thiemann

Volunteers – We Need You!

Category: Blog

Now in its fourth edition, Shubbak festival returns this summer from 1– 16 July 2017, with the best of contemporary art and culture from the Arab World. A key moment in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab World, Shubbak brings its audiences in London and across the…
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volunteers

Watch the 2017 Festival trailer

Category: Blog

Watch the Shubbak festival trailer. Over 150 artists from across the Arab world at venues across London, 1–16 July 2017

Shubbak 2017 trailer

Shubbak 2017 dates announced

Category: Blog

Shubbak Festival dates announced: 1 – 16 July 2017 Shubbak has become a key moment in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab World, bringing new and unexpected voices alongside established artists to new audiences every two years. The festival returns to London from 1–16 July 2017 with…
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Khaled Kurbeh and Raman Khalef at the BBC Arabic Festival

Category: Blog

Sounds from the Syrian diaspora: Khaled Kurbeh and Raman Khalaf performed recently in London at the launch of the BBC Arabic Festival. Experimental electronic music meets Middle Eastern instrumentation and downbeat jazz.

The Syrian musician: Khaled Kurbeh and Raman Khalef

Performance(s) between two shores – selected projects

Category: Blog · Tags: , , , , ,

We’re delighted to announce the selected projects for Performance(s) between two shores عروض بين شاطئي. After the jury’s deliberation in September 2016 in Brussels, the selected projects are: Mind, The Gap by Hani Sami (Egypt), Transaction by Mithkal Alzghair (Syria), and Three Rooms by Amal Omran (Syria). Further details on…
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Shift – Women artists from Saudi Arabia

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Negotiating Space is the UK’s first all women show of artists from Saudi Arabia. Featuring Dana Awartani, Reem al-Nasser and Zahra Al-Ghamdi, the artists present work which contemplates the place for memory and heritage as they negotiate their position amidst rapid cultural change in their country.

Saudi Women Artist

New commissions from Syrian artists

Category: Blog

Shubbak is proud to announce a new programme to support Syrian artists through commissioning the creation of new work from a new generation of talented artists, in partnership with the British Council. This includes musicians Tanjaret Daghet (pictured), Khaled Kurbeh and Wael Alkak; filmmakers Ammar Al-Beik and Yasser Kassab; and…
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Maha’s Music Show – Shubbak 2015

Category: Blog, News

Shubbak was delighted to be covered by Maha’s Music Show on K2K Radio. Maha’s Music Show mixes Arabic music and bilingual English & Arabic chat, sun-soaked sounds that conjure up memories of lazy hazy days in the Middle East. It is the only show broadcast in the UK dedicated to…
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Watch Shubbak 2015 highlights

Category: Blog · Tags:

Shubbak 2015 showcased work by over 130 artists across 70 events in more than 40 venues, to a total audience of over 50,000. From the latest DJ talents to Eid on Trafalgar Square, from a densely packed literature festival to graffiti interventions in East London, Shubbak presented new, diverse and…
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Shubbak 2015 in pictures

Category: Blog

As Shubbak’s 2015 Festival draws to a close, we’re looking back and remembering a few of our favourite moments from the festival. Want more? Head to our Facebook photo stream.

The Mix: Introducing our Music Maestros

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Described as “possibly the biggest Arab musical event of 2015”, The Mix is set to be a show-stopping finale as well as a veritable journey through a spectrum of music that the Arab world, and beyond, has to offer. With jazz, rock, electronica, folk and spoken word poetry, each fused…
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Karama – Dignity through Music: An Interview with Soufian Saihi

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In this interview Soufian Saihi, founder of the band Karama who will be playing at the Shubbak Festival’s musical finale The Mix on 25 July 2015, discusses how this uniquely international and eclectic band was formed; the inspiration behind their upcoming album ‘Visa’; and the responsibility of claiming back Arab…
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Shubbak Literature Festival

Category: Blog

On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July 2015, the British Library will host the Shubbak Literature Festival as part of Shubbak, London’s largest biennial festival showcasing the best in contemporary Arab culture. As one of the leading collections of historical and contemporary Arabic texts in the United Kingdom, the British…
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A Homage to Michel Khleifi: Review of Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land

Category: Blog · Tags: ,

“The holy sites here are this country’s identity but they are also its curse,” says playwright Yehoshua Sobol, “Religion does not adapt easily to the phenomenon of love… so it tries to get rid of it.” Sobol’s words here capture the essence of this documentary, directed by Michel Khleifi, which…
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D-Sisyphe / décisif: Constructing a Better Future for Tunisia

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D-Sisyphe (pronounced as in the French ‘décisif’, meaning ‘decisive’ in English) is an important piece of performance, both as a creative expression that fuses contemporary dance with physical theatre and as an insight into the kind of socio-political situation of Tunisians that ultimately led to the 2011 uprisings that began…
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Behind the Scenes: A Selection of Arab Theatre

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This year’s Shubbak Festival offers a selection of Arab theatre works from the sublime to the ridiculous including comedy Love, Bombs and Apples, revealing moments of revelation for four men spread across the globe; satirical all-female showcase Razor Sharp; Now is the Time to Say Nothing, a play and a…
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An Interview with Masasit Mati of Top Goon

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Holding up a Mirror to the International Community In this interview with the Shubbak Blog, Masasit Mati talk about their new series Top Goon Reloaded: Intimate Diaries of Evil; how they are turning their satire on the international community; and the creative force that is holding strong in the Middle…
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When The Arabs Used to Dance: A Celebration of the Past and a Warning for the Future

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When the Arabs Used to Dance is a somewhat contradictory title for a dance performance, using the past tense for something that is yet to come. The title is not the only part of El Meddeb’s new performance that seems out of place – the four male dancers use styles…
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Arab Feminist Voices

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Razor Sharp showcases three pieces of new writing by Arab women. The title can be taken to refer to an obsession with hair that goes across the Middle East. It also indicates the edginess of the writing. Yamina Bakiri, an Algerian neuroscientist who grew up in France, examines the rise and…
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A Collaborative Home Video for ‘Shahba’: An Interview with Hello Psychaleppo

Category: Blog · Tags: , , , ,

In this interview, Samer Saem Eldahr (aka Hello Psychaleppo) talks about his new video for Shubbak entitled Shahba; his upcoming album; and his hope that electronic music can bridge both a musical and non-musical divide between the Middle East and the West. Aimee Dawson: In the Middle East you often…
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A Dream-like Nightmare and a Painful Joy: An Interview with Badke

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

The Shubbak blog caught up with Badke’s dramaturg Hildegard De Vuyst ahead of their performance at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday 14 July. They have just arrived in the UK after taking the performance to Salzburg, Austria and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are doing a…
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Shubbak ‘In-Situ’ – The Middle East: Coming to a Street Near You…

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

This church is in Syria. And this book warehouse is in Iraq. Don’t believe us? It’s true – from 11–26 July all across London you could find yourself wandering into parts of the Middle East that you never thought you would visit or that some may have thought they would…
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The Art of Imagineering: An Interview with Khalid Shafar

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Khalid Shafar is a pioneer of Emirati design. Born in Dubai, the American University in Dubai business graduate studied furniture and object design, first at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, then at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in New Zealand. Known for his ingenious combinations of…
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Forming a Harmonious Collective: Zahed Sultan Discusses his Barbican Residency

Category: Blog · Tags: , , ,

The multimedia artist Zahed Sultan on his upcoming live set especially created for the Barbican Art Gallery as part of Doug Aitken’s Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening (27 June – 26 July). — In my July residency at The Barbican, we will conceive and bring to life an interactive…
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From the Soul and the Heart: An Interview with Karima Skalli

Category: Blog · Tags: ,

One of the first events for the Shubbak Festival, and the opening event for the festival’s music programme at the Barbican, sees the enchanting Karima Skalli take to the stage with a selection of sensational, spiritual songs accompanied by the talented Asil Ensemble. Internationally renowned singer Karima has been singing…
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An Awakening

Category: Blog · Tags: , , , , ,

Sevan K. Greene on his play Nahda, whose characters are modern Middle-Easterners from the real world Nahda is an interesting beast in my zoo of plays because it is actually made up of four pre-existing short plays or ‘visions’ (three of which were performed elsewhere and one which has never…
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Kissing Amnesia: the work of Raed Yassin

Category: Blog · Tags: , , , , ,

The work of Lebanese multimedia artist Raed Yassin relates to mass media, pop culture, urban life and history – themes that he explores in his first solo exhibition in the UK. In Kissing Amnesia, Yassin presents works from the ongoing ‘Yassin Dynasty’ (2013) series (a project that is derivative of…
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Christmas Eve by Raed Yassin

Brewing ideas for Shubbak

Category: Blog

Playwright Hannah Khalil reflects on writing for the 2015 festival Everyone knows the writer’s enemy – more than enemy, horror is the blank page. And what can be even scarier is to be told, “write whatever you want”. Too much freedom can be a bad thing … In writing terms…
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Shubbak 2015 – First events now on sale

Category: News

We’re delighted to announce our first events of Shubbak 2015! The Asil Ensemble with Karima Skalli opens our music programme at the Barbican, Palestinian / Belgian dance collaboration Badke arrives at London’s Southbank Centre, Radhouane El Meddeb’s moving production When The Arabs Used To Dance visits The Place, and the…
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Open call: expressions of interest

Category: News

The third Shubbak festival of contemporary Arab culture will be held across London from 11?26 July 2015. The programme is currently being developed by Shubbak’s Artistic Director Eckhard Thiemann in partnership with a number of venues. Shubbak is a curated festival and participation is normally by invitation only. However, we…
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ArtLyst: Shubbak Festival announces London Third Edition

Category: Press

“The second edition of Shubbak, A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, featuring artists from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, hosted by London’s leading cultural venues, more than doubled its audience in 2013, it was announced…
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Al Bawaba

Category: Press

“Doubling up: UK’s Shubbak Festival knows how to multiply x 2…” Read the full article

Al Arabiya: Shubbak festival doubles audiences in 2013

Category: Press

“The second edition of Shubbak, a festival in London aiming to be a “window on contemporary Arab culture,” doubled its audience in 2013, a statement from organizers announced this week. The festival, which showcases the work of contemporary artists and musicians from 16 Arab countries, reached over 43,000 people during…
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V&A blog: Culture in Defiance: Syria Speaks

Category: Blog, Press

Nawara Mahfoud has blogged for the V&A on Rich Mix’s Culture in Defiance: Syria Speaks exhibition, part of the Shubbak Festival 2013. “An exhibition at Rich Mix this week presents a range of street art from the uprising in Syria. Guest blogger Nawara Mahfoud introduces the role that graffiti plays…”…
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The Observer: The 10 best Arab films

Category: Press

Read The Observer’s article: ‘The 10 best Arab films’ as chosen by Omar al-Qattan, film-maker and chair of Shubbak.

Young Reporter’s Blogs, Ehtifal Family Day

Category: Blog · Tags:

On the closing day of Shubbak 2013 the Serpentine Gallery and the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) presented the Ehtifal Family Festival – an extraordinarily successful free, one-day family event that celebrating the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Read blogs from our young reporters Guy Phillips (aged 7?), Lulwa Qattan…
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The Guardian: Ibrahim el-Salahi: from Sudanese prison to Tate Modern show

Category: Press

The Guardian covers Tate Modern’s Shubbak exhibition: Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist. “The first African artist to get a Tate Modern retrospective has come a long way since he drew on scraps while a political prisoner. Mark Hudson meets a pioneer finally getting his due…” Read the full article

The Independent on Culture in Defiance

Category: Press

The Independent covers Rich Mix’s Shubbak exhibition: Culture in Defiance. “The hopes of Syria’s protests shine through in a new Hackney art exhibition…” Read the full article

BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves: Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist

Category: Press

BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves covers Tate Modern’s Shubbak exhibition: Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist. Listen to the programme

Al Arabiya: London’s Shubbak Festival: A window to edgy Arab culture

Category: Press

Al Arabiya covers Shubbak 2013 in the article London’s Shubbak Festival: A window to edgy Arab culture. Read the full article

Financial Times: Pop culture diplomacy

Category: Press

The Financial Times covers Shubbak in an article by Peter Aspden. “Among a people used to turmoil and defeat, trivial victories can become trenchant victories…” Read the full article

BBC Radio 3 In Tune: Features Nuba Nour

Category: Press

BBC Radio 3 In Tune featured a live performance from Nuba Nour, and were joined by Eckhard Thiemann, Artistic Director of Shubbak at 6pm, 27 June 2013. Nuba Nour performed at Rich Mix on 28 June 2013 as part of the Shubbak Festival. Listen to the full programme

The Times: Art imitates life in the burgeoning Palestinian art scene

Category: Press

Read The Times coverage of Shubbak 2013 in the article Art imitates life in the burgeoning Palestinian art scene by Sophie McBain. Read the full article

The Guardian: Rachid Taha/Souad Massi review

Category: Press

Read the Guardian’s review of the Barbican’s Shubbak event Rachid Taha & Souad Massi, on 22 June 2013. “Rachid Taha is part of a generation of French musicians who were inspired by the Clash to reinvent rock’n’roll on their own terms, and it now seems no Rachid Taha gig is…
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The Guardian: John Perkins’ best photograph – an Egyptian lion-tamer

Category: Press

The Guardian’s coverage of Mr President’s Circus, on show at the Arab British Centre until 28 June 2013. “This is Hamada with Richard the lion. Hamada was two when he first put his head in a lion’s jaws…” Read the full article

Alsharq Alawsat on Shubbak

Category: Press

Alsharq Alawsat covers the Shubbak Festival 2013. Read the full article

Shubbak 2013 Opening Reception

Category: Blog

The Shubbak festival opening reception took place on 24 June 2013 at The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Speakers included the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Omar Al Qattan, Shubbak Festival Chair. See more photos on Facebook Read Omar…
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The Observer reports on Top Goon

Category: Press

The Observer reports on Masasit Mati, creators of the YouTube finger-puppet show Top Goon: Diaries of a Little Dictator, to be shown as part of the Shubbak Festival next month. “Syrian satirists take puppet show into war-torn towns to mock Bashar al-Assad. Masasit Mati launched the online show Top Goon…
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The Majalla: Shubbak is Back

Category: Press

Shubbak is Back: Contemporary Arab culture returns to London. Read the article by Celia Topping for The Majalla. “Following the highly successful and inspiring debut of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture two years ago, this biennial festival continues to fling the window wide open on Arab arts in…
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Metro: The Barbican delivers a mash-up of Arabic art forms

Category: Press

The Metro reports on Shubbak Festival 2013 in the article The Barbican delivers a mash-up of Arabic art forms by Arwa Haider. “Shubbak is the Arabic word for ‘window’ and the second edition of this city-wide festival aims to present a broad view of modern Middle Eastern arts and culture…”…
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BBC Arabic Radio: Interview with Omar Al Qattan

Category: News, Press

Omar Al Qattan, Chair of Shubbak, speaks about the Shubbak festival on BBC Arabic Radio Xtra. Listen to the full programme

Spear’s Magazine: Check Point

Category: Press

The thriving Palestinian art scene overcomes walls and barriers… Read the article Check Point by Sophie McBain, published in the July/August 2013 issue of Spear’s Magazine. Read the full article