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Events to mark Manama’s Culture Capital title

Manama, January 9, 2012

A series of cultural exhibitions, shows, music and fairs will take place in Bahrain this year to celebrate Manama being named Arab Capital of Culture 2012.

It will kick off tomorrow (January 10) with three events, including exhibitions showcasing the heritage of Manama, along with a symposium of sculptures by renowned Arab artists.

The nationwide events will be held throughout the year and will focus on Bahraini theatre, art, architecture, fashion, heritage, poetry and writing, film, music, environment and the renovation of infrastructure.

It is being spearheaded by the Culture Ministry as part of an initiative taken by the Arab League under the Unesco Cultural Capitals programme to promote and celebrate Arab culture and encourage co-operation in the Arab region.

"Manama, Capital of Arab Culture, is not just a description for one year but rather an attribute that will remain across the land forever," said a ministry spokesperson.

"This was initiated after years of growing culture which has multiplied the country's characteristics and duplicated its visions of joy and hope. Manama deserves to celebrate its culture, people and history. It also allows Bahrain to carry all aspects of culture to the world."

The exact dates of other events have yet to be confirmed by the ministry, which will also include eight annual events that will run over the course of the year until October.

The first event on the calendar is the 38th Bahrain Annual Fine Arts Exhibition, which will include a discussion headed by Princess Wijdan Ali of Jordan, founder of the Royal Society of Fine Arts and the Jordan National Gallery.

It will also feature a series of arts shows, entitled the Jordanian Arts Exhibition, being held in collaboration with the society and includes works of different generations of Jordanian artists, varied styles of painting and media.

The next event taking place tomorrow is the Approach of Reality and the Colour of the Dream exhibition, which will showcase the works of a selection of Arab artists from the Arab World Institute.

Sculptures made of marble blocks depicting Arab heritage will also be displayed tomorrow during the 5th Bahrain International Sculpture Symposium.

To mark the prestigious title awarded to Manama, this year's event only featured 16 Arab artists, who have been creating the sculptures from natural marble since December 19.

The sculpture symposium, which created a giant open-air workshop, will portray more than 16 different interpretations from artists from various countries.

The symposium was first introduced by Bahrain Arts Society founder and Hend Gallery owner Ali Al Mahmeed in 2002, after he visited a similar event in Lebanon.

All three events are open to the public at the Bahrain National Museum until January 31.

The celebrations continue with the Spring of Culture to be held during March for the seventh consecutive year, which will feature several events with elements relating to theatre, poetry, music and art at various locations.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain International Book Fair will take place on March 22 for the 15th year, where bookshops and vendors in Bahrain will gather to host the country's biggest fair.

Visitors will also receive a selection of modern Spanish poetry, which has been translated by Al Mahdi Khreef.

The fair will start from 9am but the location has yet to be disclosed.

It will be followed by the 20th Heritage Festival in April, which will include a series of events that explore Bahrain's history through architecture, archaeology and its pearling heritage.

Literature and traditional dance performances will be organised, where visitors can listen to short stories, poetry, anecdotes and songs that are vital to the Bahraini identity.

A symposium will also be held to address the latest trends of intellectual thought in the Arab world.

April will also see the first Bahrain Book Award and Al Banki Award for the Cultural Person of the Year, where thinker Mohammed Al Banki will honour this year's cultural figure.

Renovating historical landmarks will also be highlighted this year as architects, urban planners and landscape engineers will get the chance to submit proposals for the redesign of Bab Al Bahrain square in the Ideas Competition starting on November 15.

Entries will be assessed by an international jury and the results will be exhibited at Bab Al Bahrain, where people will be asked to choose their favourite and the winner will be presented with a People's Choice Award.

Bahrain's pearling industry will also be emphasised as the country developed an economic, cultural and social system that was based on a single income, the pearl, said the spokesperson.

Other exhibits include Tylos - A Journey Beyond Life, which will feature 400 artefacts from the Tylos period taken from a collection at the Bahrain National Museum.

It will display the history of rituals and burial customs discovered in areas such as A'ali and Saar.

A lesson in heritage will also be given to children through the Enkiru Bus Museum, which will tour the country and introduce youngsters to Bahrain's culture. A date has not been confirmed.

Bahrainis and residents can escape the summer heat as the 4th Bahrain Summer Festival will start in July, with local and international artists taking part in cultural and musical performances across the country during the month-long celebration.

The year will also highlight Bahrain's youth as they will take part in several Taa' Al Shabab (Come on Youth) events during September.

The next month is all about music and movies as Bahrain gears up to celebrate its musical and theatrical history to promote the importance of the industry and to encourage the young and upcoming Arab film producers and directors.

It starts with the launch of the 21st Bahrain International Music Festival, which will include events such as masters of jazz singing, jazz and the oud, and local and international talents.

It will also feature a chain of events focusing on Arabic cinema and plays, on the sidelines of film screenings that will be held throughout the month.

Local producer and stage director Fadhel Jaibi will also make an appearance to speak of the future of the industry.

A Bahraini play, Beginnings...Culture...Bahrain, will hit the stage during October but a date has yet to be confirmed.

The celebrations will coincide with ongoing renovation projects that will see some of Bahrain's historical sites being restored to their former glory. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Arab Culture Capital | Cultural events |

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