March 29, 2015
The exciting calendar planned for the 10th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival, which is being held under the slogan “Ten Bright Years”, was unveiled at a press conference held at the visitors centre of Bu Maher Fort in Muharraq attended by Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities President, Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunication, His Excellency Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, and a number of strategic partners, corporate sponsors, and media.
The festival will run for two months, and features many captivating events and activities for individuals and families, and suited to different interests and hobbies, including intellectual seminars, concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, and many more.
Audiences will be able to engage in a unique visual experience through a number of art exhibitions representing different perspectives, cultures, and forms of expression.
The Bahrain National Museum in collaboration with Al-Mansouria Foundation for Culture and Creativity, hosted ‘Modern and Contemporary Saudi Art, The Al-Mansouria Collection’, an exhibition which illustrates the evolution of Saudi contemporary art from the 1960’s to present day.
In addition, ‘Qal’at Al Bahrain through the Ages’ is an interactive art installation which enhances the visitors’ experience of the site and raises awareness about its historical significance.
The Bahrain National Museum is currently hosting the ‘Berber Women of Morocco’ exhibition, a showcase presenting millennia-old Berber culture and identity through exquisite objects from the Atlantic coast of Morocco to the eastern edge of the Arabian Maghreb region.
The paintings and wood installations featured in Lobna Al-Ameen’s exhibition, hosted by Al-Riwaq Art Space illustrate the artist’s reflection on life, nature, and place.
Meanwhile, the Sh. Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research is hosting a unique multimedia exhibition, featuring the works of Saudi artist Faisal Samra on the topic of ‘Global Warming’.
Jordanian artist Fadi Daoud’s unique music exhibition at Albareh Art Gallery is inspired by his passion for the timeless works of classical Arab greats such as Umm Kulthoum, Asmahan and Fairuz.
‘Encounters’, a photo exhibition by artist Sueraya Shaheen hosted at La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, is a collection of intimate documentary-style portraits of internationally-known Middle Eastern artists.
From April 7 – 21, Albareh Art Gallery will host ‘The Margins’, a group exhibition which brings together four Saudi artists who offer a unique and compelling approach to abstraction and rejection of realist representation.
Another exhibition, ‘Vantage’, hosted by Al-Riwaq Art Space from April 12 – May 7, showcases the perspectives of eight female artists on their connections with Islam through a wide range of styles and mediums. The exhibition will also include weekly talks with the artists about their artwork and personal experiences.
The wonder of ancient fables will come alive on April 23 in ‘Kalila wa Dimna, Fables through Time’, an interactive exhibit hosted by the Bahrain National Museum, and whose characters present ancient wisdom and life lessons through their relationships.
Music and Song
Different genres and styles of music and song will be prominently featured in the Spring of Culture festival as well. The started earlier this month at the Sh. Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research with “Hijazi Nights”, a showcase of authentic music of the Hijaz with Saudi artist Bander Al-Shareef and his band.
Multiple Grammy-winning artist John Legend entertained audiences at Arad Fort on March 2 in the first of a series of open air concerts to be held this year at the historic venue. This performance was followed by a concert by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi who performed a collection of his greatest hits to audiences in Arad Fort on March 13.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain National Theatre hosted an evening of music with acclaimed Egyptian composer Omar Khairat, one of the most prominent Arab composers of his era.
Every Thursday evening beginning from the 5th of March, Mohammed bin Faris Band will perform to audiences at the Mohammed bin Faris Hall in Muharraq.
Lebanese singer Rima Kheshish’s will hold a concert entitled ‘Hawa’, which will display her style of combining the classics with contemporary music, at the Sh. Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research.
Lovers of classic tarab, will be able to experience the classic hits of the late Farid Al-Atrash’s at the Cultural Hall on April 9th through a concert featuring the National Arab Music Ensemble and organised in collaboration with the Egyptian Embassy in Bahrain.
To conclude the music performances, Multi-platinum selling and Grammy Award winning UK artist Joss Stone will visit Bahrain as part of her world music tour and will be the featured artist in the grand finale of the open air concerts at Arad Fort on the 10th of April.
Lectures and Thought Symposia
The Spring of Culture’s diverse agenda also includes a number of lectures and thought symposia which cater to a wide range of interests.
Lectures already conducted in the past weeks include a lecture by Dr. Timothy Insoll, Professor of African and Islamic Archaeology at the Bahrain National Museum. Dr. Insoll presented the results of archaeological research completed in Bilad Al-Qadim between 2001 and 2015 with a focus on the Islamic period.
Egyptian poet Farouk Jweideh performed a reading of his poetry at the Ebrahim Al Arrayed House of Poetry.
Jack Lang, Former French Culture and Education Minister and President of the Arab World Institute in Paris, gave a lecture titled ‘Love’ where he shared his extensive cultural knowledge.
Dr. Anna Gastel, Vice-President of the Italian National Fund and Regional Director of the Italian National Fund in the Lombardy region, gave a lecture titled ‘Successful Management of Italy’s Natural Heritage – Art & Tradition’.
Future lectures include a talk by international author Pamela J. Olson at La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art on April 9th, in which she brings to life stories from her award-winning memoir Fast Times in Palestine.
The Sh. Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research will also host a number of other lectures, including an exploration of Arab economic cooperation during the so-called “Arab Autumn” by Dr. Marwan Iskandar at Abdulla Al-Zayed House for Bahraini Press Heritage, as well as a lecture on the World Peace Organisation by Countess Krystyna Maria Wilczek from France.
Audiences interested in art will be able to attend a lecture by the Director of the Guggenheim Foundation in Italy, Philip Rylands on the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice at the Sh. Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research on April 20.
For fans of literature, Saudi writer Badriya Al-Bishr will speak on novels and change within Saudi society on April 20, while Booker Prize-winning Kuwaiti author Saud Al-Sanousi will share his insights on the subject on April 27.
Performance Art and Theatre
The Spring of Culture features an exciting international lineup of talented stars, including the award-winning martial arts-inspired high-wire acrobatics act from Korean dance group Jump.
US troupe Land of Shadow will perform their act using silhouettes to create vignettes of movement. Families were able to attend children’s show ‘The Magic Chicken’ which is a performance of slapstick comedy.
Additionally, Indian dance musicals will be featured through ‘Bharati’, a Bollywood performance that portrays the crossroads of traditional and modern India
The Spring of Culture festival also features a number of community outreach initiatives revolving around culture and the arts which are organised in collaboration with the EDB and the Ministry of Education.
These initiatives, which target students and teachers, include a workshop on documentary making taught by award-winning Egyptian director Amir Ramsees, the art of sculpture on tree trunks led by Bahraini sculptor Fuad Al Binfalah, creating art out of hammered copper sheets with Egyptian artist Mohamad Nashaat, as well as Enkiru and Enka’s puppet-making workshop on March 26 at the Qal’at Al-Bahrain Site Museum.
Moreover, a number of workshops will also be conducted in collaboration with some of participating artists in the festival, including performance art workshops with members of the ‘The Magic Chicken’ and ‘Bharati’ shows.
Corporate sponsors of the festival include National Bank of Bahrain, Promo 7 Holding, Euro Motors – Ferrari, Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), and Nass Corporation.