Bahrain’s biggest arts festival, the Spring of Culture, returns
Time Out Bahrain staff
It all starts here, literally on March 1, Bahrain’s sixth consecutive Spring of Culture event. Never has the phrase ‘bigger and better’ been more appropriate, with the list of art exhibitions, musical performances, lectures and family events more staggering than ever before. From March 1-31, and in some cases beyond, the kingdom will turn into an eclectic cultural hub, with venues from Arad Fort to Bahrain National Museum all playing host to talent from around the region and the world. Perhaps the biggest names on the schedule are singers Julio Iglesias and Corinne Bailey Rae, who will no doubt attract more attention and add a touch of glamour to the event.
But we are as equally excited by some of the festival’s many other offerings. The amazing exhibition, Reclaim, which won the prestigious Golden Lion award at last year’s Venice Biennale, featuring photography from Bahrain-based Camille Zakharia, will be on show, examining the lives and ultimate decline of the fishing trade in the kingdom. The touring Jameel Prize 2009 exhibition, organised by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, will also be stopping by, and there will be musical tributes to various Arab artists, Mozart, the songs of Bollywood and more, plus exhibitions on everything from the history of photography to the wedding dress. It certainly looks set to keep us busy over the coming weeks.
There will be a chance for Bahrain’s younger residents to develop their own artistic talents too, with educational workshops for kids. And, on the back of the kingdom’s continued efforts to preserve its historical landmarks and cultural sites, there will be presentations by UNESCO about its work. March looks set to be a highly eventful month, but also a very rewarding one. For more info on events and tickets, go to www.springofculture.org. Or call the event hotline on 39 900 630.
March 1-20 Art Exhibition by Fadi Yazigi: Born in Syria, Fadi Yazigi has held exhibitions all over the world, and his paintings on canvas and newspaper, black and white paintings and bronze sculptures, have been sold by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Albareh Art Gallery (17 717 707).
March 2-26 Spaces and the In-between: An exhibition featuring 13 artists, mainly from the Arab world, all exploring the notions of belonging and displacement. Look out for workshops based on the theme, hosted by artists Rana El Nemr and Sara Rifky. Al Riwaq Art Space (17 717 441).
March 6-April 6 History of Stereographs (3D photography): A look at the evolution of photography from 1830 to 1930, revealing how man kept developing technology to make the images seem more realistic. Bahrain National Museum (17 298 777).
March 10-11, 24-25 Market 338: Pop along to Block 338’s art and crafts market, the first of its kind in Bahrain. Here you can find jewellery, baked goods, fashion and accessories, all made here in the kingdom. Adliya Block 338. Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri noon-10pm.
March 11-April 30 Whirling and Swirling: See conceptual works by Pakistan-born American artist Simeen Farhat, incorporating Arabic script and resulting in impressive large-scale installations. La Fontaine (17 230 123).
March 13-April 30 200 years of French Wedding Dresses: See wedding dresses dating back as far as 1810, and learn the history of the brides that wore them. Bahrain National Museum, Hall 8 (17 298 777).
March 14 Zineb Laouedj: Readings by Laouedj, a poet and an academic at the International Institute for Humanities and Social Studies, Paris. She also supervises seminars on the works of women in various Arab-Muslim countries. House of Poetry (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 16-June 30 The Jameel Prize 2009: This exhibition of contemporary artists and inspired by Islamic design, organised by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, has been touring since 2009. Bahrain is its final stop. Bin Matar House (17 322 549).
March 21 A tribute to Nizar Qabbani on his birthday: Arab poet Nizar Qabbani will recite some of his poetry and invite discussion, sharing his views on humanity and his literary experiences. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 23-June 30 Reclaim: This is the exhibition that won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale 2010, with photography by Camille Zakharia examining the decline of sea culture in Bahrain. Bahrain National Museum, Hall 1 (17 298 777).
March 28-April 17 Bidoun Library Project: See books, catalogues and journals tracing back the art scene across the Middle East. Al Riwaq Art Space (17 717 441).
March 5 The Vertical Garden from Nature to the City: Learn all about the ‘vertical garden’ – discover a way of turning walls of buildings into thriving green spaces, enriching the lives of a city’s inhabitants. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 7 The Time of News and the Time of Ideas: A look at the multi-facetted relationship of news, perspectives and sentiments, and how each works with sensationalism, reductionism and generalisation in the media. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 13 Dominique de Villepin: Learn all about former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and his remarkable life. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 28 Is there accountability in the Arab media? Marcel Ghanem is a former host of political TV shows in Lebanon and an award-winning journalist. In this Arabic-language lecture, he examines Arab media. Al Zayed House (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 30 The World Heritage Convention: Representatives from UNESCO discuss the organisation’s work in preserving the world’s best cultural and natural sites. Bahrain National Museum, Auditorium (17 298 777), 8pm.
Just for kids
March 11-12 Play… Please!: A creative musical experience for children, teaching them how to create a composition. Salman Culture Centre (39 999 521), 11am and 4pm.
March 18-19 Pekka: This puppet show performed by the Théâtre des Petites Âmes follows Pekka, a tiny turtle who ventures into the night to see why the moon hasn’t appeared. Salman Culture Centre (39 999 521), 11am and 4pm.
March 23-25 Train of Tales: Children get to learn about serious topics and moral issues through stories, illustrations and drama. There are creative workshops too. Salman Art Centre (39 999 521), 10am-noon, 4pm-6pm.
March 31 Iqra 2 opening: A new library space for children opens, with learning materials and education programmes. Iqra 2 Library (17 322 549), Malkiya, 6pm.
March 1 In the Presence of Absence: A Homage to Mahmoud Darwish: Lebanese composer and oud master Marcel Khalife performs with a 26-piece ensemble. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 4-5 Dan Zanes & Friends: Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Dan and his band will entertain all ages, with sounds ranging from the electric guitar and mandolin to the fiddle and harmonica. Arad Fort, 5pm.
March 10 Ghanna Al Hadi: Renowned African singer Abir Nasraoui is said to combine Oriental song and music with the rhymes of her home country. She is accompanied by Ahmed Jebali on oud. La Fontaine (17 230 122), 8pm.
March 12 Spring Flowers: See award-winning Tunisian artist Hela Melki perform an array of ballads by well known Arabic singers, accompanied by her orchestra. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 12 Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara: A night of blues with Robert Plant guitarist Justin Adams and Gambian master musician Juldeh Camara, performing music from their three albums. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 15-16 Julio Iglesias: Julio Iglesias performs in Bahrain for the first time, with songs from his extensive back catalogue of romantic ballads. Arad Fort, 8.30pm.
March 16 Sinfonietta Cracovia: Cracovia performs a range of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – widely considered one of the greatest composers of all time. Cultural Hall, 8pm.
March 17 Corinne Bailey Rae: This British singer landed a No 1 in the UK with ‘Put Your Records On’ and made it into the Top 20 in the US. Here she performs songs from her new album, The Sea. Arad Fort, 8.30pm.
March 19 Oumeima El Khalil: Lebanese singer Oumeima has been performing since she was 12 years old. Discover the reasons behind her enduring success. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 24 Trio Khoury: This ‘cine-concert’ combines the 1926 film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, an adaptation of the Arabian Nights stories, with live Middle Eastern music and jazz by Trio Khoury. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 26 Naghmashat: Famed Lebanese musician Imane Homsy demonstrates her knowledge of classic Arabic music and Western influences, performed on a qanun with 10 fingers instead of the usual two. Shaikh Ebrahim Centre (17 322 549), 8pm.
March 27 Samar Kammouj Sings Ryad Al Sonbati: Acclaimed classical Arabic and Oriental singer Samar Kammouj performs the undisclosed and rare tunes of Ryad Al Sonbati. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 3-5 Stories of Faces: A mix of storytelling and live sculpture, as recycled paper and newsprint become three-dimensional characters on the stage. Culture Hall. March 3, 4.30pm; March 4-5, 11am.
March 9-10 New York Song & Dance Co: This dance troop’s latest show combines old-style hoofing and theatre dance. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 10-11 The Merchants of Bollywood: A celebration of Bollywood film, with big dance numbers and well known songs, combines with the heart-warming story of a young girl and her grandfather. Arad Fort, 8.30pm.
March 20-21 Dark White: Poetry with a twist, as music, light displays and movement help bring the meanings to life on stage. Culture Hall, 8pm.
March 31 Fuerzay Compas: The Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba performs an array of dance moves from flamenco to ballet to Cuban rhythms. Culture Hall, 8pm.