Shubbak Festival 2015 – The 30+ Free Events!

The Shubbak Festival is far more than just a window looking onto the contemporary Arab cultural scene. This biennial programme – organised for the third time in London and taking place between 11-26 July, 2015 - shows in spectacular fashion how the arts and the featured Arab artists themselves are winning and triumphing over the undeniably difficult atmospheres back home in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as the obvious need for a safe environment like London in which they can showcase their work.

It also puts into context how there is indeed a burgeoning artistic movement from within - in many cases still underground - that is challenging in creative ways the otherwise ugly, aggressive and negative elements coming at us left, right and centre. Shubbak thus offers an international platform that dares its many audiences to question and reconsider what they believe about the Arab, his abilities and contemplation as to his future that seems in places to be uncertain or undecided.

Whilst for the proverbial Arab nomad himself, who is either taking part or coming from across the globe to attend this festival, this is a rare opportunity to unite with fellow Arabs in order to celebrate and share in the positive, the good, the beautiful and the intelligent that is all his own and that he can be proud of. From music, to dance, performance, literature, visual art, talks, films and digital, there is something for everyone including for children.

Spread over sixteen days with over 60 events, Shubbak will see many of London’s beautiful and iconic venues become a MENA haven, including: the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), the Southbank Centre and even the Royal Opera House. In a rare in tandem, they will all be hosting over 130 international and UK based artists with a number of themes running through the comprehensive programme.

Unique to this year’s festival is the ‘In-Situ’ project where Shubbak and its partners invited eight artists to respond to London’s unique outdoor, unusual and historic locations and to reinterpret the city’s famous and hidden public places. Also for films, this year has a focus on the celebrated Palestinian director Michel Khelifi who has curated this year’s main film schedule; and, last but not least, there is a great new strand of Arab-London theatre as well as two digital commissions that are free to watch online.

Whilst many of the events are ticketed at reasonable prices and for which I advise you look at the official website, the good news is that you don’t’ need to spend a penny on tickets as there are over 30+ free events! I have listed them below for easy reference by indicating the categories under which you can find them at: www.shubbak.co.uk.

In general, the art exhibitions are all free and the ‘In-Situ’ projects are all free with the exception of ‘Kissing Amnesia’ by Raed Yassin that is ticketed at the Leighton House Museum from 13 July-2 August. There are also opportunities to attend free talks, films, theatre and the opening ‘Hafla on the Square’ as well the music provided by Shubbak at the family-friendly Mayor of London’s ‘Eid Festival’ at Trafalgar Square.

All the events below are free and indicate if there is a need to book in advance.

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Hafla on the Square: Family-Friendly Festival Launch Day (Family + Music + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Nazir Tanbouli, Variant Space, Aimen Ajhani, Farouk Al Safi, Yaz Fentazi Trio and Younes Baba-Ali

Date and Time: 11 July – 12-5pm

Location: 7 World’s End Place, Chelsea Theatre, King’s Road, London SW10 0DR

 

Pre-Concert Talk, by Kamal Kassar, AMAR Foundation (Talk + Music)

Featured Speaker: Kamal Kassar

Date and Time: 11 July – 5.30pm-6pm

Note: This is in advance of the ticketed ‘Burda’ event at the Barbican

Location: Club Stage in the Foyer, Barbican, Concert Hall, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

 

Pre-Concert Performance, Homage to Sami al Shawa (Talk + Music)

Featured Musicians: Asil Ensemble and Ahmed Al-Salhi

Date and Time: 11 July – 6pm-6.30pm

Note: This is in advance of the ticketed ‘Burda’ event at the Barbican

Location: Club Stage in the Foyer, Barbican, Concert Hall, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

 

Radouan Mriziga and Nazir Tanbouli (Performance + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Radouan Mriziga and Nazir Tanbouli

Date and Time: 12 July – 11am-5pm

Location: Great Court, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

 

From the Figurative to the Abstract, Venetia Porter Guided Tour (Talks + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Shafiq Abboud, Michel Basbous, Safeya Binzagr, Rafa Al Nasiri, Tahar M’Guedmini and Marwan

Date and Time: 12 July – 1pm

Location: Room 34, The Islamic World, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

 

Pre-Show Talk, Crossing Borders (Performance)

Featured Speakers: Hakeem Onibudo, Candoco, Jorge Crecis and Carole McFadden

Date and Time: 14 July – 6.30pm

Note: This is in advance of the ticketed ‘Badke’ event at Southbank Centre

Location: Front Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

 

Now Is the Time To Say Nothing (Film + Performance)

Featured Filmmaker and Director: Reem Karssli and Caroline Williams

14-18 July – 2pm, 4pm, 7pm, 9pm

Location: The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London SE1 8LZ

Free but booking is required at: nowisthetime@youngvic.org

 

Pre-Show Talk, Nari (Fire in Me) with Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi (Performance)

Featured Artists: Yassine Aboulakoul, Moad Haddadi, Mohamed Lamqayssi, Fouad Nafili and Nabil Najhi

Date and Time: 15 July – 6.30pm

Note: This is in advance of the ticketed ‘When the Arabs Used to Dance' at The Place

Location: The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, London WC1H 9PY

 

Shubbak at The Mayor of London’s Eid Festival – (Family + Music)

Featured Musicians: Karama, 47Soul and Massar Egbari

Date and Time: 25 July – 2-5pm

Location: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN

 

Children’s Workshop with Lena Merhej (Family + Literature)

Featured Illustrator: Lena Merhej

Date and Time: 26 July – 11am-12.30pm

Age Guidance: 5+ years with accompanying adult

Location: The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Free but booking is required at: boxoffice@bl.uk or call +44 (0) 1937 546 546

 

Flippy Page Comic Workshop with Lena Merhej (Family + Literature) 

Featured Illustrator: Lena Merhej

Date and Time: 26 July – 3-4.30pm

Age Guidance: 12+ years with accompanying adult

Free but booking is required at: boxoffice@bl.uk or call +44 (0) 1937 546 546

Location: Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

 

Speaking Truth to Power (Literature + Talks)

Featured Writers: Sinan Antoon, Choman Hardi and Samar Yazbek

Date and Time: 23 July – 6.30pm

Location: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

Free but booking is required at: www.freewordcentre.com

 

Shahba Hello Psychaleppo aka Samer Saem Eldahr (Digital + Film + Music) 

Featured Artist: Samer Saem Eldahr

Dates and Time: 11-26 July – Anytime

Location: Online at www.shubbak.co.uk or at www.thespace.org

 

Top Goon Reloaded: Intimate Diaries of Evil (Digital + Film + Performance)

Featured Artists: Masasit Mati

Dates and Time: 13-26 July – Different times for Episodes 1-5

Location: Online at www.shubbak.co.uk or at www.thespace.org

 

El Seed, Tunisian Calligraffiti Artist (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artist – el Seed

Dates and Time: 11-26 July – Anytime

Location: Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, London EC2A 3PQ

 

Derivable Sculptures, Ziad Antar (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artitst: Ziad Antar

Dates and Time: 11 July-15 November – Anytime

Includes: On-Site Guided Tour 11 July at 2pm

Location: Riverside Walk Gardens by 60 Milbank, London SW1P 4RW

 

The Nomad, Khalid Shafar (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artist: Khalid Shafar

Dates and Time: 16-27 July – 7am-9pm

Location: Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU

 

Carroussa Sonore & Other Works, Younes Baba-Ali (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artist: Younes Baba-Ali

Dates and Times: 11-26 July – Anytime

Includes: Display will visit the Victoria & Albert Museum in the John Madejski Gardens on 18 July - 11am-5pm

Location: Foyer, Chelsea Theatre, 7 World’s End Place, King’s Road, London SW10 0DR

 

A Stage For Any Revolution, Alia Farid (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Alia Farid

Dates and Times: 11-26 July – Anytime

Includes: Performance on 11 July - 3.30pm

Location: Nutford Place, Edgware Road, London W1

 

Bright Echo, Sophia Al Maria (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artist: Sophia Al Maria

Date and Time: 18 July – 3.30pm

Includes: Featured sound work can be downloaded at www.shubbak.co.uk or www.serpentinegalleries.org

Location: Nutford Place, Edgware Road, London W1

 

Breaking Cover, Gulf Street Art (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Fathima Mohiuddin, Shaweesh and Talal Al Zeid.

Dates and Times: 18-22 July – Venue opening hours

Locations: Southbank Undercroft, Southbank Centre, Belverdere Road, London SE1 8XX; Stockwell Legal Wall, Stockwell Park Estate, 8-18 Aytoun

Raod, London SW9; Leake Street, London SE1

Note: You must visit www.shubbak.co.uk for precise timing and locations

 

Another Day Lost, Issam Kourbaj (In-Situ + Visual Arts)

Featured Aritsts: Issam Kourbaj

Dates and Times: 11-25 July – Venue opening hours

Locations: St James’ Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL; Central Books, 99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN; Heath Street Baptist Church, 84 Heath Street, London NW3 1DN; 10 Golborne Road, London W10 5PE; Goethe-Institute London, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PH

 

I Spy With My Little Eye, A New Generation of Beirut Artists (Exhibition + Visual Arts + Talks)

Featured Artists: Caline Aoun, George Awde, Mirna Bamieh, Nour Bishouty, Pascal Hachem, Charbel-Joseph H Boutros, Aya Haidar, Georgette Power, Joe Namy, Stephanie Saade, Siska, Lara TAbet and Tala Worrell

Dates and Times: 11 July - 22 August – Gallery opening hours

Includes: A Curator’s Tour on 11 July - 12-1pm

Includes: An Artists’ Talk on 16 July - 7-8pm

Includes: ‘Institutions and Emerging Artists’ Discussion on 25 July - 12-1pm

Location: The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW

Free but booking is required at: rsvp@mosaicrooms.org.

 

A Prologue To the Past and Present State of Things (Exhibition + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: To be confirmed

Dates and Times: 3 July-15 August – Gallery opening hours

Includes: Accompanying events are planned and can be found during the festival at www.shubbak.co.uk

Location: Delfina Foundation, 29 Catherine Place, Victoria, London SW1E 4AU

 

Echos & Reverberations (Exhibition + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Jumana Emil Abboud, Joe Namy, (Check website!)

Dates and Times: 23 June-16 August – Gallery opening hours

Includes: Accompanying events are planned and can be found during the festival at www.shubbak.co.uk

Location: Hayward Gallery Project Space, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

 

Road Block, Road Bloc Collective (Exhibition + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Road Bloc Collective

Dates and Times: 9-30 July - Venue opening hours

Includes: Artists’ Tour’ on 12 July at 3pm

Location: Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA

 

What Is Home? (Exhibition + Visual Arts)

Featured Artists: Manal Al Dowayan, Faten Eldisouky, Walid Elsawi, Amina Menia, Hamra Abbas, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Moataz Nasr, Ahmed Mater and Ayman Yossri Daydban

Dates and Times: 15 July-9 August – Gallery opening hours

Location: Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

 

Sadik Alfraji, Artist Talk and Book Launch (Talks + Visual Arts)

Featured Artist: Sadik Alfraji

Date and Time: 23 July – 6pm

Location: Ayyam Gallery, 143 New Bond Street, 1st Floor, London W1S 2TP

Free but booking is required at: london@ayyamgallery.com or +44 (0) 207 409 3568

 

Jaykar, The Cheeky Video Scene of the Gulf (Film)

Featured Curator: Monira Al Qadiri

Date and Time: 17 July – 7pm

Location: Crossway Foundation, 40 Elcho Street, London SW11 4AU

Free but booking is required at: info@crossway-foundation.org

 

Canticle of the Stones, Michel Khleifi (Film)

Featured Director: Michel Khleifi

Date and Time: 13 July – 6pm

Location: The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW

Free but booking is required at: rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

 

Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land, Michel Khleifi (Film)

Featured Director: Michel Khleifi

Date and Time: 21 July – 6pm

Location: The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW

Free but booking is required at: rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

 

Route 181, Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel (Film)

Featured Directors: Michel Khleifi and Eyal Sivan.

Date and Time: 21-22 July – 7.45pm (21 July) – 6pm (22 July)

Location: The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SW

Free but booking is required at: rsvp@mosaicrooms.org

 

Turn the Cold Weather Into Sun and Fun (Talks)

Featured Artist: Lantian Xie

Date and Time: 23 July – 8pm

Location: Shishawi, 51-53 Edgware Road, W2 2HZ

Free but booking is required at: events@alserkalavenue.ae