Manama, Feb. 16 (BNA): The Spring of Culture returns for its sixteenth edition to stimulate the cultural movement in the Kingdom of Bahrain, reviving hopes for normalcy to return in the Kingdom after two years and a halt of in-person activities due to the pandemic (COVID-19).
This long-awaited program offers audiences a wide range of artistic and musical activities, lectures, as well as local and international exhibitions that suit the varied tastes and age groups in Bahrain, extending the bridges of cultural and human communication between the Kingdom with the world.
Earlier today, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research and Al Dana Amphitheatre, in cooperation with Al Riwaq Art Space and Albareh Art Gallery, announced the Spring of Culture Festival’s activities and programs, during a press conference at the Bahrain National Theatre in Manama.
Held in the presence of Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the press conference was also attended by a number of diplomatic figures and ambassadors accredited to Bahrain, in addition to the presence of a group of supporters of the 16th Spring of Culture Festival and those interested in cultural affairs in Bahrain, as well as media personnel.
On this occasion, Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa said, “Through the Spring of Culture Festival, we reaffirm the importance of cultural work, and after two years of communicating with our audience from a distance, the festival finally comes face to face. Culture is our global language that we use to communicate with different peoples and is our tool to build bridges between the Kingdom of Bahrain and civilizations from around the world.” She added that the sixteenth edition of the festival will present its patrons, citizens, residents, visitors and various segments of society, a diversified program celebrating literature, music, art, design and theater.
She added, “We are glad to launch our golden jubilee, commemorating fifty years, from the Bahrain National Theatre as we celebrate many jubilees that formed stations for our modern civilizational achievements. We are also pleased to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the National Theatre, all thanks to the generous support of the first patron of culture, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.”
She emphasized how this edition of the Spring of Culture is enriched by the premier participation of the Al Dana Amphitheatre, a qualitative addition to the nation’s cultural infrastructure. She warmly welcomed the return of the Al Riwaq Art Space in elevating the festival for this edition. She explained how the continuous work with partners of the Culture Authority from civil and private institutions presents a renewed season of joy, reviving hope in our ability to overcome various challenges. She extended her gratitude towards the key collaborators of the Spring is Culture Festival such as Albareh Art Gallery. She also thanked the sponsors and supporters of the Spring of Culture Festival and its contributors from Arab and foreign embassies.
The 16th Spring of Culture Festival is strategically sponsored by the Economic Development Board, and silver sponsored by Alba, Bahrain Airport Company, Bahrain Duty Free Shop Complex, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, Mumtalakat and the National Bank of Bahrain. A number of embassies in Bahrain will participate in the festival's program, namely: Italy, Pakistan, Germany, Egypt and the Spanish embassy in Kuwait. Also participating in the festival's activities are: The Enki Performing Arts Center, Entertainment Live, the Aga Khan Music Programme and the Shaikha Hessa Girls’ School.
The press conference witnessed a review of the activities of the Spring of Culture Festival for the year 2022, all which will be hosted by cultural institutions, historical sites and urban landmarks in the Kingdom. Live saxophone musical pieces were played for the attendees of the press conference by the Abdullah Haji.
The festival kicks off, as every year, on February 25, coinciding with the Arab Tourism Day, which was adopted when Manama was declared the Capital of Arab Tourism for 2013, coinciding with the birthday of the Arab traveler Ibn Battuta.
The Bahrain National Theatre celebrates Arab Tourism Day with a contemporary performance called “Akhenaten.. Dust of Light” choreographed and directed by Walid Aouni. The tale of an ancient pharaoh, Akhenaten will be depicted through contemporary dances and theatrical scenes taking audiences on a journey 3000 years into history.
Music, Song, and Performance:
In regards to musical, singing and theatrical performances, the festival will present a concert at the Bahrain National Theatre by Palestinian artist Omar Kamal on March 10, occurring after the great success he achieved in his first album Serenade, as he will present the audience with a bouquet of the most beautiful and timeless Arabic and international songs. In its Kingdom of Bahrain debut, the Philharmonia Orchestra from the United Kingdom will take the stage of the Bahrain National Theatre on March 25 performing timeless pieces that will charm classical music lovers. The National Theatre will conclude its activities on March 31 with the “Manama Mon Amour” concert, which brings together two of the most famous pianists in the world, Richard Clayderman and Zaid Dirani, accompanied by the tunes of the Bahrain Music Band.
For the first time in the Arab World , the "EntreQuatre" (a guitar quartet composed by Spanish musicians Manuel Paz, Seila González, Jesús Prieto and Carmen Cuello) is performing on 28th of February in the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research. The Concert is supported by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center, Acción Cultural Española, the Embassy of Spain in Kuwait, Música Prima, INAEM (Instituto Nacional de Artes Escénicas y Música) and Purple Papaya Events. The center will host as well the Sufi Jazz concert by the Lebanese artist Khaled Al Abdallah on March 7, and a magical evening by the Egyptian soprano and opera singer Ameera Selina on March 21.
For its premier event, the starte of the art Al Dana Amphitheatre welcomes the famed Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi for an incomparable concert taking place on March 4.
The Cultural Hall will host a variety of performances from all over the world at 8:00 PM, starting with the Great Opera Arias performance by the Italian Teatro Massimo held in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Bahrain on March 3. In collaboration with the Embassy of Pakistan in the Kingdom, celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations, audiences will learn about the culture of Pakistan through the Qawwali Night which presents a form of Sufi music on March 4 and 5, a moving musical arrangement accompanied by Urdu poetry, as well as the “Mushaira” Urdu poetry event on March 6.
For their outstanding performance suitable for all ages, young children and elderly alike, the German “Pianotainment” duo will return to Bahrain on March 9 with an act that has dazzled audiences for more than 20 years. From West End London in the United Kingdom, The Wind in the Willows is a fun and engaging theatrical show, perfect for all members of the family, which will take place from March 11 to 14.
In collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Programme, the Cultural Hall will host, on March 15 to 18, the programme’s workshops, open to the public to attend and designed for a number of school students and local musicians, as well as a concert by the Aga Khan Master Musicians who will take the audience on a journey inspired by their deep roots in their worldly cultures on March 19. Additionally, the Cultural Hall presents the theatrical performance “Raya & Sakina” on March 24 & 25, held in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Egypt in the Kingdom of Bahrain, retelling the story of two popular characters known across Egypt and the Arab world in the form of contemporary dance.
Evenings of traditional Bahraini folk arts return during this edition of the Spring of Culture, as the Mohamed bin Faris Music Hall in Muharraq will present weekly musical evenings by the Mohammed bin Faris band every Thursday for audiences to engage with the lyrical heritage associated with diving, pearling, weddings and happy occasions. As for Dar Al Muharraq, it will host two evenings celebrating Al-Fjiri art on February 27 and March 26, while Dar Al Riffa will celebrate the diversity of Bahraini musical genres on March 5. Dar Bin Harban will participate in the Spring of Culture Festival for the very first time, where it will host on an evening of traditional folklore on March 12.
Arts and Exhibitions:
This edition of the Spring of Culture Festival provides a variety of local art exhibitions, starting with “Woman Between Reality & Fantasy” by artist Ebrahim Khalifa at the Art Centre, engaging all the senses in his illustrations of women through his paintings that use soft and hard materials on February 27. Starting March 1, the Art Centre hosts a solo exhibition by artist Rashed Al Araifi, “Visual Memoirs: Between Figuration & Abstraction”, in recognition of winning 2nd place at the Bahrain Annual Fine Art Exhibition in 2020. It is a body of work which acts as a visual response to the urban behavior, social practices, and cultural customs in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Art Centre continues to support talented artistic energies this season by hosting the exhibition “Omnificent” launching on March 22 for students of Shaikha Hessa Girls’ School in the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Visual Arts Program for the year 2022, displaying selected artworks from the 2020 and 2021 Visual Arts Program. Al Hidaya Al Khalifiya School will present the “A Hundred Years Later.. Celebrating the Foundation of Annadi Al Adabi” exhibition on March 23, highlighting how the foundation served as the first incubator for literary and cultural activity in Bahrain at the beginning of the last century.
At the Memory of a Place - Bin Matar House, the drawing and installation artworks of artist Faika Al Hassan entitled “Protection” will be on display between March 8 to May 8, exploring the traditional use of frankincense in Bahraini homes and families. The launch of the Hanging Sculpture by artist Khalid Farhan will take place on March 21, the final of a series of sculptures created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research. Al Riwaq Art Space returns to enrich this season of the festival through an exhibition entitled “Post-Fiction: Manama”, which sheds light on the space in which shared narratives, personal perceptions and the prevailing history of Manama according to the visions of five artists.
Literary and Intellectual Lectures and Cultural Symposiums:
In diversification of its cultural activity, the Spring of Culture Festival presents intellectual and literary events which will be hosted at different cultural spaces. At the Al Jasra Crafts Centre on March 8, Jassim Mohammed bin Harban will present a lecture on “Documenting Women’s Performing Arts,” accompanied by Sharifa Mohammed and her band, in collaboration with the Enki Performing Arts Center. At the Flexible Theatre of the Bahrain National Theatre, the Culture Authority launches Khalid Al Rowaie’s “Khadija Book” through an exhibition and poetry recital occurring between March 13 to 16. The festival also celebrates the World and Arab Poetry Day through “In Yearning for Springtime and Roses” event, a seminar honoring the legacy of the late Shaikh Isa bin Rashid Al Khalifa, with the participation of Dr. Dheya Al Kaabi, Dr. Rashid Najem, Dr. Khalifa bin Arabi, Dr. Fawaz Al Shurooqi.
As for the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, it will host a series of lectures between the center itself and the Abdullah Al Zayed House for Bahraini Press Heritage, the latter which will host a lecture by the Syrian-Russian journalist Khaled Al-Rushd on February 28, during which he will address the role of enlightening media in preparing for the Arab Renaissance. A lecture entitled “Conservation of the Urban Historic Heritage in the Muslim World” will occur on March 16, conveying the Aga Khan Foundation experience with the Director General of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Luis Monreal, and finally a lecture on March 28 by Ibrahim Al-Mulaifi, Editor-in-Chief of Kuwait’s Al-Arabi magazine, entitled “Al-Arabi Magazine and the Challenges of the Digital World”. As for the House of Poetry - Ebrahim Al Arrayed will host an exquisite event of poetry with the Saudi filmmaker and poet Ahmed Al-Mulla on March 14.
For the first time, the Al Riwaq Art Space will host the “Approaching Learning: A Symposium” on March 25 to discuss topics and issues centered around the relationship of education with the arts.
The Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum will offer cinephiles the chance to experience a night of classic Arabic films, screening the Egyptian film “Between Heaven & Earth” (1959) on March 4, as well as giving explorers and adventurers the opportunity to sign up for a fisheries (Hadhra) tour around the beach adjacent to Qal’at Al Bahrain on March 26.
Between March 4 and 18, the “Made in Bahrain” store in Bab Al Bahrain will host a pop-up “Made from a Palm Tree” which will showcase 50 traditional and contemporary palm products in continuity of the efforts of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities to support local crafts. During this edition of the festival, the opening of the multistory car park on the Pearling Path in Muharraq will take place on March 26, designed by architect Christian Kerez.
In addition, the Spring of Culture Festival in its sixteenth edition is jam-packed with a schedule of workshops aimed at refining artistic talents and unleashing creative energies within the Educational Program of the festival, hosted at the Al Jasra Crafts Centre, the Flexible Theatre at Bahrain National Theatre, the Bahrain National Museum and the Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum. These workshops are held in collaboration with Enki Performing Arts Center, Bahrain Cinema Club and Enkiru kids Club.
Tickets for the Spring of Culture events are sold online through WWW.SPRINGOFCULTURE.ORG . Tickets for Al Dana Amphitheatre events are also sold online at: WWW.ALDANA.COM.BH. Tickets for Bahrain National Theatre events are sold at Virgin Megastore and online at: VIRGINMEGASTORE.ME. Tickets for Entertainment Live shows at the Cultural Hall are sold at Al Osra Supermarket
To keep up with the latest news about the 16th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival, you can follow the official @springofculture account on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You may also view the full details of the festival, its activities and events, and register for the various workshops via the website www.springofculture.org.