This is what is promised for a cultural extravaganza par excellence in Bahrain.
34 events of art, poetry, music, dance, lighting, theatre, lectures, sound, sculpture, vision and emotion.
34 dishes to feed your mind and soul in some of the most thrilling locations in Bahrain.
Once again Arad Fort will host live events from all over the globe: the Caracalla Dance Theatre on March 7th, Youssou N’dour on the 9th, Osaka Dadada-Dan Tenko taiko drummers on the 11th, The Chehade Brothers with Tony Hanna on the 15th and just before the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix weekend, we’ll be able to enjoy Brasil Brasileiro on the 12th and 13th of April. I want to attend them all, but even if I attend a couple I shall be very happy.
Other events I’m rather looking forward to is the first ever pharaonic exhibition to be held in Bahrain. The legendary displays and artifacts will be housed in the Bahrain National Museum from March through to July.
Then we have the various art exhibitions and displays at the most influential art galleries in town: Al-Bareh, Al-Rewaq and La Fontaine as well as the Art Centre by the Museum. Of those there are too many that I would like to attend, but two I shall make every effort to visit are my late father’s dear friend Ibrahim Bu-Sa’ad’s art exhibition at the Bahrain Art Society from 18th – 27th of March and the Zimbabwean sculptures at Al-Bareh from March 20th – 30th and I do hope that I will have a little money to add to my Zimbabwean sculpture collection!
This time, I will make sure that I do not miss Marcel Khalife‘s inauguration of the festival; this time I am especially looking forward to be there as Marcel will – for the first time ever – be premiering a performance based on our very own Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad. Marcel will be reinterpreting Qassim Haddad’s “Laila wal Majnoun” (Laila and the mad man) through his own particular brand of music, coupled with song and dance. An cultural Bahriani/Lebanese Opera!
More brainfood is awaiting us all as well, just look at who’s coming to share their thoughts with us: Professor Mohammed Arkoun’s going to lecture about “the issue of humanism in Western & Muslim contemporary societies”; Patrick Seale will talk about the “conflict in the Middle East” both of which I think would probably be well worth attending.
This year particularly, the Spring of Culture is a true cultural event catering to every facet of the word. This year, the partners that Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa – the undersecretary of culture and heritage at the Ministry of Information – has managed to bring into the events certainly add to the variety of the experience. She didn’t stop there, she announced that next year’s SoC will be bigger and better and will have a new major venue added to its location: next year we will enjoy these major events against the backdrop of Bahrain Fort! By that time, the Delmon Museum should have been finished too in the location of the fort and the venue really spruced up. Just imagine, the spectator stands will extend over the sea and they will watch the thrilling, artistically lit fort as a backdrop. That in itself will be a thrilling experience!
I applaud Shaikha Mai and her colleagues for their endeavors, they have certainly lynched the whole cultural arena in Bahrain from slumber. More power to them.
Kudos also go to the EDB and Batelco for helping create this event.
Batelco donated BD100k for the pleasure of being associated with such an event as a main sponsor and Peter K might actually take my suggestion of streaming some of the events on the net so that a wider international public can enjoy them. I realise that these broadcasts are mired in copyright issues; however, even facilitating a 5 minute wrap per day would be great to be made available for streaming, as well as those events that do not require much money for the pleasure of re-broadcasting of course.
I know that I will be vlogging the event as much as I can, and it would be great if I can coordinate with others who intend to shoot the events so we can create a program that we can upload to YouTube or our own websites.
The budget for the main Arad Fort events, the advertising campaigns and other functions exceeded BD800k this year. This does not include the contributions of private galleries who are footing their bills themselves. It is a modest budget for such a cultural event, one that other countries might blow on a single night’s function, but as Shaikha Mai recalled a remark made to her by a renowned poet (and I paraphrase): “Bahrain is small but packs a huge punch when it comes to culture!”
Bahrain, it is these events that help brighten the light at the end of the tunnel. It is these events that ameliorate the frayed edges of passions in this society. It is these events that makes one proud to be Bahraini. It is these kind of events that allow us to concentrate on the central message of being Just Bahraini.
Have a wonderful Spring of Culture my friends. I wish you all well.