Manama lines up host of events
Manama, October 30, 2011
A competition that will accept new designs for a redevelopment of Bab Al Bahrain, Manama, is among a host of projects being lined up next year.
It will take place in February as part of events to celebrate Bahrain's capital city being named Cultural Capital of the Arab World 2012.
Other locations earmarked for a makeover are the historic Al Qaysariya Suq in Muharraq, Al Khalifa Library, Al Hedaya Al Khalifa School and Riffa Fort museums.
New initiatives include the new National Theatre, a regional centre for world heritage, an audio museum, a textile factory in Bani Jamra and visitor centres at the Tree of Life and the Al Khamis Mosque.
The renovation of the Bahrain Hotel, Bab Al Bahrain, Al Qaysariya Suq and Al Khalifa Library are going ahead.
In addition, there will be an international fashion show, sculpture symposium, mobile museum, a convention of leading Arab intellectuals and a tribute to Arab music legends to look forward to, among other things.
They are among a raft of activities lined up throughout the year along the theme "love, hope and the right to be different".
It is the first time Manama has been selected for the initiative, which was launched by the Arab League in 1996.
Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa yesterday announced Manama had been chosen as next year's host city during a Press conference at Bahrain National Museum.
"This title is an emphasis of Manama's pioneering role in the field of culture and knowledge in the region," she said. "Also, our broadly comprehensive civilisation is able to prove that Bahrain has a prime role in the cultural world."
A range of activities incorporating different aspects of Arab culture will take place between January and December next year. They will feature a host of guest speakers, exhibitions and workshops focusing on a different pillar of culture each month.
Those pillars are: art, architecture, poetry, heritage, museums, translation, design, literature, environment, music, theatre and homeland.
January's activities will concentrate on art and will include the 38th Fine Arts Exhibition, the fifth Bahrain International Sculpture Symposium, an exhibition of the works of Arab artists in collaboration with the Arab World Institute in Paris and a visit from renowned artist and diplomat Princess Wijdan Ali.
His Majesty King Hamad will officially open the events on February 2 and the rest of the month will focus on architecture, with a competition for proposals for the redevelopment of Bab Al Bahrain and a presentation by Pritzker Award winner Rem Koolhaas already lined up.
In March, the month of design, a special exhibition of design products from a wide range of fields will take place, as well as the Arab-International Fashion Show.
Heritage is the pillar of culture on the agenda in April, when an international conference on the World Heritage Convention and the 19th Heritage Festival will take place.
May will focus on museums and will feature a mobile display touring the country and speech by International Council of Museums president Dr Hans Martin Hinz.
In June, attention will turn to poetry with a meeting of poets from all over the GCC taking place in Bahrain. July is a month for literature and a meeting of leading intellects from around the region to discuss the current trends of thinking.
A special screening of Arab movies is the highlight of August, focusing on the pillar of translation, which also includes a conference on the subject attended by Arab and international delegates.
Music comes into focus in September, with a special production on the masters of Arabic singing coinciding with the 21st Bahrain International Musical Festival.
Events in October will look at the environment and will include a forum on traditional knowledge of the management of nature reserves and heritage sites and a keynote address by International Union for Conservation of Nature senior adviser for social policy Gonzalo Oviedo.
Among the events scheduled for November next year, during which theatre is the subject, are a presentation by author and stage director Fadhel Jaibi and the staging of a play highlighting the history of Bahrain.
The programme concludes in December with a look at 'homeland' and the launch of a series of books based on the 12 pillars of culture in focus throughout the year.
The Arab Capital of Culture is an initiative launched by the Arab League under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's Cultural Capitals Programme.
Its aim is to promote and celebrate Arab culture and encourage co-operation in the Arab region. - TradeArabia News Service