Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture, will encompass over seventy events in more than thirty key cultural venues throughout the city for three weeks from 4 – 24 July 2011, organised by the Mayor of London and sponsored by HSBC.
Shubbak (the Arabic word for ‘window’) will feature a wide-ranging programme of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussion, many of them free, hosted by leading London cultural organisations.
Highlights of the programme include:

Literature, Poetry, Debate and Discussion

4, 14 & 18 July: Contemporary Arab Culture. Three evening talks with leading writers and thinkers, programmed by the London Review of Books, The British Museum.
5 July: Hisham Matar, reading from latest novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, Southbank Centre
6 July: London’s Historic Connections to the Arab World. Lecture by Jack Lohman, Director of the Museum of London. Weston Theatre, Museum of London
6 July: Inauguration. Conference by the new Brunel Institute of Contemporary Middle-Eastern Music, Brunel University
6, 12, 13 & 20 July: Contemporary Arab Poetry. Four evening events by Poet in the City, the Chamber, City Hall
9 July: Moroccan author Mohammed Achaari & Saudi Arabian author Raja Alem, winners of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction read together for the first time. Southbank Centre
12, 13, 14 July Talks at Freeword. Al Sha’ab Yurid (The People Demand) Yasmine El Rashidi on Revolution in Egypt (12 July); Brian Whitaker with Nesrine Malik on Sex and Power: Seeds of Change in the Arab World (13 July), and Lebanese novelist and journalist Hassan Daoud in Conversation (14 July).
13 July: The Arabs: A History, a talk by Eugene Rogan, Foyles Bookshop, in partnership with Arab British Centre
14 July: Being Young in the Arab World. Launch of a new, year-long project. Mosaic Rooms
16 & 23 July: The Bidoun Library Saturday Seminars, Serpentine Gallery
18-22 July: A week of debates and specialist talks around arts and the Arab world broadcast on Resonance FM
16 July: A Day of Contemporary Arab Culture, Land in Focus at Rich Mix
20 July: Little Atoms: Comedy in the Middle East. Radio broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm
21 July: The Arab Spring: A Literary Perspective. Three Arab writers in conversation with journalist Brian Whitaker, SOAS, a collaboration of Arab British Centre, Banipal, SOAS and Caabu
23 July: Celebrating the Jameel Prize 2011: Jameel Prize 2009 artist, Hassan Hajjaj in discussion and Performance storyteller Xanthe Graham, the V&A

Visual Arts

4-8 July: Majed Shala: Breathing the Air, Arab British Centre
4 July – 18 September: From Facebook to Nassbook: A showcase of contemporary Egyptian art, culture and thought, MICA Gallery
4-24 July : Abraaj Capital Art Prize Winner 2010 Hala Elkoussy: Myths and Legends Room: The Mural, City Hall.
4 July-24 August : Shopopolis: creative interventions by Emirati and British artists, Westfield London.
5 – 14 July: Degree Show, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.
7 July: Global launch of Footnote to a Project* the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize book project, followed by a panel discussion focusing on opportunities for artists in the Arab World, Mosaic Rooms.
8 – 10 July: Interference. A three-day exploration of art, agency and agitation in the Arab world and beyond. Presented by the ICA in partnership with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
9 – 21 July: Al Bab: A Gateway to Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s.
12 – 30 July: Public Domain: Public and Civic Spaces in the Arab World. Curated by Nous, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
12 July – 11 September: The Bidoun Library in Residence. Serpentine Gallery, part of the Edgware Road Project.
13, 14, 22 July: Free Gallery talks by Ladan Akbarnia, Curator of Islamic Collection, Venetia Porter, Curator of Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Department: Alexandra Porter on Pre-Islamic Yemen, The British Museum.
Until 23 July: Wael Shawky: Larvae Channel exhibition, Delfina Foundation.
Until 23 July: The Knowledge: Stop 3 – Alexandria (Egypt), Delfina Foundation.
To 22 July: Rania Matar: A Girl and her Room, Mosaic Rooms.
To 23 July: KHATT, An exhibition by Moroccan calligrapher, Noureddine Daifallah, Selma Feriani Gallery.
21 July onwards: The Jameel Prize 2011, The Jameel Galleries, V&A.

4 July: A Musical 360 Degree Revolution into the Arab World: Zeid Hamdan, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Myriam Saleh, Scoop, MORE London.
6 July: The Dash Café Arabic Series: a night of live music and film, Rich Mix
6 July: Inauguration, opening of the new Brunel Institute for Contemporary Middle-Eastern Music, Brunel University
12 July: Lyrical Easternisms, lyrical rap, Ginglik
15 July: Easternisms, acoustic and electronic sonic arts from the Middle East, Café Oto
21 July: Hassan Hajjaj and Leighton House Museum present.. Amina Annabi, Leighton House Museum
22 July: El Tanbura: A Night on Tahrir Square, Barbican Centre
22 July: Bidoun Library Park Night, Serpentine
22 July: Concert for the Children of Egypt by the English Chamber Orchestra with Egyptian pianist, Amira Fouad, Cadogan Hall
22, 23 July: A Glimpse at Arab Contemporary Choreography. Two performances by leading Arab dancers, programmed by Arab New Trends, Sadler’s Wells Theatre
23 July: Preconceptions and Identity in the Arab World: A Debate and Q&As Between Arab Choreographers, Sadler’s Wells

11 – 23 July: In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka. Presented by the ShiberHur Theatre Company of Palestine, Young Vic Theatre
13, 14, 15 July: Jarideh, A Secret Encounter by Tania El Khoury presented by the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) in collaboration with Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, ICA
15 July: Culture Now, a discussion on new trends in Arab performance. LIFT at ICA
14, 15 July: On the importance of Being an Arab presented by LIFT and Orient Productions in collaboration with the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival
15 July Gulf Stage: UK premiere of digital theatre project, You….Me…The Human… from the National Theatre, Qatar, a partnership with the British Council, Digital Theatre, the Ministry of Culture, Arts & Heritage Qatar and the Qatar Foundation
12 July – 30 September Exhibition: Public Domain: Public and Civic Spaces in the Arab World RIBA
12 July Public Domain: Public and Civic Spaces in the Arab World: Discussion moderated by Edwin Heathcote, Architecture & Design Critic, Financial Times presented by Nous at RIBA
19 July: Forward Thinking: Discussions on the Future of Architecture in the Arab World. Presented by Nous at RIBA
23 July: The Artist’s Place in Kensington, Leighton House Tour. London Walks


5, 14 July: Take 1/Take 2: Yesterday and Today in the Middle East. Two evenings of film and debate. Iniva
8 July: Zenith Foundation presents an evening of shorts from across the Arab region. The Idler
11 July: El Problema: Testimony of the Saharawi People. Screening, Freeword
15, 16 July Egyptian Cinema – Youssef Chahine: Screenings and discussions, Freeword
18 July: Rania Stephan: The Three Disappearances of Suad Hosni. Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project, The Gate Cinema
19 – 23 July: A Short Season of New Arab Films Mosaic Rooms in partnership with the Dubai International Film Festival
21, 22 July: Ahmed Bouanani. Two nights of screenings by the Moroccan filmmaker. Tate Modern

Full details of the Festival are available on a new website at
Shubbak Facebook, twitter and flickr conacts provide opportunities for dialogue and information sharing during the Festival.

Press Enquiries:
Jane Quinn/Tamsin Selby, Bolton & Quinn +44 (0) 20 7221 5000 or /

Mayor of London’s Press Office – Culture & Community Desk
Ben McKnight +44 (0) 20 7983 4071 07881 501 920
Shubbak Advisory Committee: Oliver Butterworth, Founder, Musicstage Promotions; Aaron Cezar, Director, The Delfina Foundation; Deena Chalabi, Head of Strategy, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; Maxime Duda, Director, Arab New Trends; Judith Greer, Art Advisor; David Jones, Director, Serious Music; John Martin, Founder, John Martin Gallery; Karen McLuskie, Strategic Campaigns Manager, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Dr Venetia Porter, Curator, Department of the Middle East, The British Museum; Nazy Vassegh, Art Consultant; Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator, Tate Modern; Roxane Zand, Director, Middle East and Gulf Region, Sotheby’s; Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive, DACS.
The Festival is also supported by the Arab British Chamber of Commerce and London & Partners

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson: “London is a global city in which Arab culture has played a significant part over the centuries –the word ‘Trafalgar’ even originates from the Arabic language. This festival is a unique chance for Londoners to glimpse the breadth and excellence of contemporary Arab culture and its influence on London’s cultural scene today. At a time of remarkable political and social change, Shubbak marks an exciting moment between artists in the capital and across the Arab world. I have no doubt that it will stimulate, delight and surprise audiences.”

Zarir J Cama, Group General Manager, Group Management Office, HSBC Holdings plc
: “Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture will provide real insight into the Middle East and we are pleased to announce this sponsorship as the first event of our 2011 and 2012 global Cultural Exchange programme, Arabian Journeys. Celebrating the rich and diverse culture of the region, the programme will include research with the Economist Intelligence Unit, Arabia Offscreen - an international education project involving an expedition to Saudi Arabia - and exclusive cultural experiences for clients and stakeholders, with further announcements to be made shortly.
Following our previous spotlights on the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil, our Cultural Exchange programme reflects the value we place on appreciating and understanding different points of view when building successful working relationships.”

Presenting organisations include: _Arab British Centre (with Banipal and Caabu), Arab New Trends, Arts Canteen, Barbican Centre, The British Museum, Brunel Institute of Contemporary Middle-Eastern Music, Cadogan Hall, Café Oto, Dash Arts, Delfina Foundation, English Chamber Orchestra, Foyles Bookshop, Freeword, Gate Cinema, ICA, The Idler, iniva, Land in Focus, Leighton House Museum, LIFT, London Review of Books, London Walks, MICA Gallery, The Mosaic Rooms, Museum of London, Musicstage Promotions, Nous, Poet in the City, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, Resonance FM, Rich Mix, Royal Institute of British Architects, Sadler’s Wells, Saqi Books, Scoop at MORE London, Selma Feriani Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Six Pillars, SOAS, Sotheby’s, Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, V&A, Young Vic, Westfield Shopping Centre, Zenith Foundation.

Work by contemporary Arab artists, writers, film-makers, musicians, choreographers and architects based in London and from countries around the world will be presented including from Algeria, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA.

Munira Mirza, Advisor for Arts and Culture to the Mayor of London: “We are absolutely delighted at the response we’ve received from cultural organisations all over London and across the Arab world to our invitation to take part. There is a real sense of excitement and collaboration amongst artists and I believe the festival will demonstrate the power of culture to bring people together.

Aaron Cezar, Director of the Delfina Foundation: “Through Delfina’s renowned artist-in-residency programme in London, we know first-hand that this city is a beacon to both young and established artists from the Arab world. We are excited to be part of Shubbak, alongside so many venues and organisations in London, at a time when the world is re-evaluating its preconceptions about the Arab world and when London is yet again proving it is the world’s cultural capital.”

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Gallery: “For the past five years, our Edgware Road Project has linked local and international artists with people living and working in that part of London. Artists' residencies, discussions and debates focusing on Beirut, Cairo and other cities have sparked a greater knowledge and understanding of the region. The highly anticipated residency at the Serpentine Gallery of the Bidoun Library, a not-for-profit publishing, curatorial and educational initiative dedicated to supporting contemporary artists, will focus on the Revolution in Egypt and on London libraries with talks by leading authors and artists. The Serpentine Gallery is proud to be participating in Shubbak, a pioneering project.”

Published Date - 04/07/2011