Reflections on Arab culture in London

Reflections on Arab culture in London

Reflections on Arab culture in London

The festival on contemporary Arab culture in London hosts an exclusive retrospective dedicated to the 83-year-old Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi.

According to the Art Newspaper, the second edition of London’s festival of contemporary Arab culture, Shubbak, meaning “window” in Arabic, closes July 6 with two events; a three-day Ehtifal festival, co-organized by the Serpentine gallery and Qatar Museums Authority, and a retrospective dedicated to the 83-year-old Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi.

The 15-day festival has synchronized a wide-ranging program of Arab fine art, theatre, music, literature and architecture. Its artists, representing 16 Arab nations, range from the underground and experimental, including Soraya Syed and Hanaa Malallah, to the well-established, including Saloua Raouda Choucair and Boushra Almutawakel, said the Art Newspaper.

El-Salahi spoke at Ehtifal’s first event yesterday, “Pop-up Mathaf: Mapping Arab Literature in London.” The program was jointly developed by Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art that opened in 2010 in Doha, and the Serpentine’s Edgware Road Project, a five-year-old residency that links local residents with international artists.

“The concept of mapping Arab London has been developed in consultation with artists and the Edgware Project curators over a period of time, and when I was invited to do the pop-up, it was an opportunity to turn it into a reality,” said Deena Chalabi, the curator of the pop-up Mathaf series.

Panel on El-Salahi

“El-Salahi is a very important artist who is a wonderful addition to a panel on Arab literary London because of his collaboration with [the late Sudanese author] Tayeb Salih on one of the book covers for “Season of Migration to the North,” the quintessential modern Arab novel,” Chalabi added, “But especially because El-Salahi has been witness to the ongoing exchange between London and the Arab world.” The exhibition dedicated to the artist, titled “Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist,” runs from July 3 to Sept. 22 at London’s Tate Modern.