Both Egyptian artists and acts inspired by Egypt will be well-represented at this year’s Shubbak festival in London, a biennial event which celebrates Arab contemporary culture.
Among this year’s featured musical acts is Egyptian rock band Cairokee; founded in 2003 by lead vocalist Amir Eid and lead guitarist Sherif Hawary, the group rose to fame in Egypt during the 2011 revolution with their politically charged lyrics and protest songs.
Egyptian theatre director Hani Sami and choreographer and writer Mona Gamil will also take part in the festival, presenting their prominent lecture performance, “Mind, The Gap”. The work combines live performance, theoretical discussion and visual projections, addressing the iconic events of the past decade.
Independent Egyptian theatre director, dramaturge and playwright Laila Soliman will prepare a performance and installation in collaboration with Belgian performance artist Ruud Gielens. The artworks will retrace personal narratives through video interviews and archival research, exploring the history of radical activism and civic resistance in Dalston, east London.
In addition, the festival’s digital magazine Words Without Borders will publish newly translated works from various Egyptian artists under the theme of “Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Dystopias.”
Such works include political nonfiction from Egyptian artist Basma Abdel Aziz--an award-winning writer, sculptor, long-standing human rights activist and psychiatrist who specialises in the treatment of victims of torture; and an extract of Egyptian writer Mohamed Abdelnabi’s “gay Egyptian novel.”
The festival will also feature Egyptian satirical cartoons from the 19th century, mid-20th century children’s comics, and contemporary graphic novels.
A number of other works which will be featured at the festival are influenced by Egyptian art. The festival will feature Lebanese artists Wael Koudaih (Rayess Bek) and Randa Mirza (La Mirza)’s live video performance Love and Revenge. The performance revisits old Egyptian songs and films from the golden era of Cairo’s Studio Misr, paying tribute to prominent figures such as Samia Gamal, Tahia Carioca, Laila Mourad and Farid El Attrache.
Shubbak, from the Arabic word for window, was founded in 2011 by the mayor of London and is now an independent charity. It features visual arts, film, music, theatre, literature, and debate, with the aim of introducing local audiences to contemporary Arab culture.
This year’s festival will take place between 1 and 16 July.
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