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Episode 1: Digital Liberation

In the first episode of the Shubbak Festival podcast we are exploring art, politics, identity, and social media.

With the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic we all looked for ways to cope. For many, artistic expression was pivotal in passing the long hours spent indoors with no escape. For artists, this was no different; creativity battled boredom, frustration, and loneliness. Without access to public spaces, some of the artists showcasing their work at Shubbak Festival utilised all they could at their disposal. The most important tool of them all? An internet connection. DJ Nooriyah speaks to Abdulisms, Toufik Douib and Balqis Al Rashed to understand just how important the digital sphere is in their art and activism.

Read the episode transcript (PDF, 34Kb).

Beardy long-haired man in dungarees holds plate of lemons

Abdulisms is a London based British born Iraqi-Irish Creative Director and Digital Content Producer for IRAQ-A-FELLA. Growing up between London, Doha and Dublin his vision is informed by the contrasts of worlds, spaces and mother tongues he's long found himself alternating in.  

Abdulisms’ work explores bridging underground music with themes of ancestral heritage in creative and diasporic community based projects. Releasing work across the mediums of live broadcast, documentary, Augmented reality, live shows, community radio and public installations.

Abdulisms’ portfolio boasts collaborations with the likes of Talib Kweli, Narcy, Steam Down, Girls of Grime, Ancestral Futures collective, Sofar Sounds and New Delhi based community radio Boxout FM to name a few.

Bearded man standing in front of a planter filled with geraniums.
Toufik Douib

Toufik Douib is an independent curator and event director. His multidisciplinary practice focuses on the question of Algerian-Maghrebi identities. He coordinates the online mapping research platform DIGI-MENA and his many exhibitions include Belonging | Sideways in Shubbak 2019.

A woman wearing a top hat pulled down over her eyes.
Balqis Al Rashed

Balqis Al Rashed is a multidisciplinary Saudi artist based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She spent much of her childhood in Beirut, graduating from the American University of Beirut with a BFA in Graphic Design. Due to this upbringing, her practice examines questions of power either through mobilization of the body, her hypersensitivity to the audience or via representations in mythmaking, icons, or space.

Al Rashed first exhibited at Athr Gallery in Jeddah in 2011 as part of the exhibition Collage / Assemblage, and in 2015 took part in the March Project Residency at Sharjah Art Foundation. She was the first international artist in residence at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017, and later that year participated in their Cities of Conviction exhibition. Most recently, she performed Norms of Life in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue.