18th edition of Spring of Culture Festival announced

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, Al Dana Amphitheatre, in collaboration with Al Riwaq Art Space, Albareh Art Gallery, Art Concept, and La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art, announced the festival’s events on Wednesday, January 10th, 2024, during a press conference held at the Bahrain National Theater.

The conference was attended by Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), along with several ambassadors, partners, festival supporters, and media representatives.

Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa expressed: “The tradition continues with the 18th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival this year, 2024. The festival continues to enrich the cultural scene in Bahrain as one of the prominent cultural seasons in the Kingdom.” He added, “The Spring of Culture is more than just cultural activities; it provides spaces for human interaction and an opportunity to strengthen communication bridges between our civilization and civilizations around the world.”

He praised the ongoing constructive collaboration with all cultural institutions and centers to enrich the festival’s content, once again thanking all the supporters and contributors, including embassies. He emphasized that the success of the Spring of Culture Festival is attributed to the spirit of collective work among all cultural enthusiasts in Bahrain.

The 18th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival has strategic sponsorship from the Economic Development Board, with golden sponsorship from Tamkeen and silver sponsorship from Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, and National Bank of Bahrain. Additionally, several embassies in Bahrain contribute to the festival’s program, including the embassies of Japan, Italy, France, and the United States of America.

The Spring of Culture Festival commences on February 11th with an exceptional concert at the Bahrain National Theater celebrating Bahraini Fan Al Sawt, presented by the esteemed artist Ahmed Al Jumairi alongside the Bahrain Music Band led by Maestro Zeyad Zaiman. The National Theater stage will witness a series of performances during the festival, featuring the Bahraini Maestro Waheed Al Khan presenting the concert “Back to Life,” revealing some of his works showcased for the first time in the Kingdom. The artist Dr. Abadi Al-Johar, known as the “Oud Octopus,” will celebrate the instrument he is famous for in Arab and global circles in a night where the strings of the oud speak to the hearts of the audience. Additionally, the renowned artists Khalid Al Shaikh and Huda Abdulla will revive the evening with “Ghanawi Al-Shouq,” taking the audience on a journey transcending the boundaries of time and memory.

As for the Al Dana Amphitheatre, it presents a series of not-to-be-missed performances on the stage of the Bahrain National Theater. The theater stage hosts a theatrical work in English that blends theater and music, recounting the story of the “Star of the Orient,” Umm Kulthum, and takes us through the ballet “A Thousand Tales” on a journey through childhood, invoking beloved characters from Aladdin to Cinderella. Meanwhile, Al Dana Amphitheatre stage hosts a variety of international shows, including a concert by Maroon 5, a performance by the maestro and violinist André Rieu with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, and a show featuring comedy icons Trevor Noah and Kevin Hart.

The Cultural Hall will be a key venue during the Spring Festival, hosting numerous performances. It starts with the “Rouh Al Sharq Choir” from Egypt, presenting a collection of classical and contemporary songs, and also featuring the artist Leen Al Faqih, renowned for her expressive songs reflecting the spirit of the nation and identity. From Poland, the hall hosts the accordion duo known as “Face2Face,” recipients of over 60 awards from various international competitions.

In collaboration with the Italian Embassy, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities celebrates the rich legacy of the 20th-century opera maestro Giacomo Puccini. The hall also collaborates with the French Embassy to host the artist Skygge, presenting a show that combines music with artificial intelligence, featuring Bahraini composer Hasan Hujairi. Another show in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy celebrates the fifty-year anniversary of hip-hop art.

The Cultural Hall also hosts shows that blend music with other arts. The Black Blues Brothers band presents an exciting performance, combining acrobatics with music. The hall also brings Shakespeare’s timeless “Romeo and Juliet” to life in a contemporary show that blends the spirit of the past with the present.

Moreover, the Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum will celebrate its 16th anniversary with an authentic musical evening featuring the Mohammed Bin Faris Band, commemorating the museum’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. On another note, the Pearling Path, also on the World Heritage List, will witness celebrations marking the inauguration of the path’s exhibitions.

Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research hosts a diverse range of performances, including the play “Ghazal Akka” by the actress and writer Raeda Taha, exploring chapters from the life of the late Palestinian novelist and journalist Ghassan Kanafani. The center features an evening with the young Egyptian artist Nesma Mahgoub in “Aroma Night,” presenting a blend of classical and contemporary music. Additionally, the center hosts the emerging talent the Saudi Arwa, reviving the art of Arabic Mowashahat in a Tarab-style musical performance. The center also commemorates the centenary of Sayed Darwish with the Egyptian artist and composer Mohamed Mohsen.

On the artistic front, the 50th edition of the annual Bahrain Fine Arts Exhibition is being held this year, celebrating its golden jubilee, and honoring the achievements of both past and present Bahraini artists. Meanwhile, the Art Center, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, hosts the exhibition “I Love Sushi,” explores sushi as an integral part of the Washoku culture of Japan, listed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, in the Memory of the Place – Bin Mattar Building, hosts the exhibition “Anthology” by the artist Faisal Samra. Another exhibition is held at the House of Poetry – Ebrahim Al Arrayed, organized by the Lebanese organization “Inaash,” which focuses on training and empowering women, producing the finest artisanal products. Al Riwaq Art Space organizes an exhibition for artists Ghada Khunji and Eskandar Dawani, presenting their “Application 002” artistic residency program.

Albareh Art Gallery hosts several exhibitions, starting with “Four Stories” in collaboration with Bahrain Gallery, featuring artists Dwa Al Khalifa, Hala Al Khalifa, Lulwa Al Khalifa and Marwa Al Khalifa. Another exhibition, “Black, White, Green, Red,” employs watermelon as a symbol of solidarity with Palestine. There is also the exhibition “Disappeared, Then Appeared” by the artist Noof Al Refaei. Art Concep hosts a transcendent art exhibition where the artist Hakim Al Akel transforms the movements of dancers and the melodies of music into a visual spectacle enriching the viewer’s experience.

Moreover, La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art organizes a session bringing together the German photographer Rainer Hartel and the British author Tim Mackintosh-Smith in their first-ever meeting, despite living in Yemen during the same period. The session involves sharing their experiences and memories, coinciding with an exhibition by the German photographer and the signing of the book “The Arabs: 3000 Years of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires.”

The Spring of Culture Festival this year includes a variety of intellectual, literary, and poetic events. Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum will host a poetry evening and book launch for the works “Rathath Al-Dahsha” and “Tharouha” by the Bahraini poet Abdulhameed Al Qaed and Bahraini journalist and poet Saleh Yousif. Meanwhile, the Shaikh Ebrahim Center at the House of Poetry – Ebrahim Al Arrayed, will host the Jordanian poet and critic Dr. Maha Al Atoum in an evening titled “Women Facing the Poem.” Additionally, the center will host the Syrian writer and journalist Hani Nadim in an evening titled “A One-Armed Wolf Gnaws the Night.” The center continues its lecture series as part of the festival, welcoming the director of “Al Arabiya” and “Al Arabiya Al Hadath” channels, Mamdouh Al-Muhaini, to Abdullah Al Zayed House for Bahraini Press Heritage. The center also hosts the Jordanian-American writer Bashar Jarrar to discuss the latest trends in misinformation and new methods to enhance the media environment. The Shaikh Ebrahim stage hosts advisor to the Palestinian President for Cultural and Media Affairs, Mr. Nabil Amr, to discusses the Palestinian issue and its developments, and hosts artist Suha Shoman, founder and head of the Jordan Art House, presents a lecture titled “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.”

This year, the Archaeology Walkathon returns in a tour spanning 5 kilometers through the burial mound sites. The Spring of Culture tours continue this time to explore fish traps (Al-Hadra) in kayaks, and another tour to Aljaser Factory to learn about the local production of palm pollen water. Lastly, the Spring of Culture offers children and adults a series of creative workshops within its educational program, covering areas such as handicrafts, arts, design, and more at various locations across the Kingdom of Bahrain: Al Jasra Crafts Centre, House of Basket Weaving, Art Centre, Bani Jamra Weaving Textiles, Al Riwaq Art Space, Qal’at Al Bahrain Site, and the Printmaking Studio in Abu Saiba.

The Community Programme for the 18th edition of the Spring of Culture Festival is sponsored by Al Dana Amphitheatre, presenting a wide selection of free social, cultural, and educational programs. These include workshops, lectures, and diverse training opportunities that are offered to the Bahraini community at large. The programs also target less privileged groups, including those associated with rehabilitation centers for the disabled and other institutions dedicated to these segments. Additionally, they extend to the public education sector, institutions, centers, youth and social clubs, as well as cultural and artistic enthusiasts in Bahrain. The activities of the Community Programme cover a range of disciplines such as crafts, arts, theater, music, rhythm, photography, and more.

To stay up to date with all festival news, follow us on our official account @springofculture on Instagram, X, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat. You can also find more details and register for any of the various events and workshops by visiting www.springofculture.org.


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