About the Festival
For the 14th consecutive year, the Spring of Culture Festival returns in a new cultural season full of activities that cater to various tastes, interests and age groups and underscore the Kingdom of Bahrain’s position as a leading regional and global cultural hub.
This latest season of the festival comes as part of BACA’s year-long celebrations of Bahrain’s achievements under the slogan “From Jubilee to Another”- A Year of Celebrations. As is the case every year, the festival is set to kick off on February 25 in conjunction with Arab Tourism Day, an occasion which was adopted when Manama was the Capital of Arab Tourism in 2013 to mark the birthday of the great Arab traveler Ibn Battuta.
The 2019 festival season features numerous art exhibitions, starting with the 45th Bahrain Fine Arts Exhibition which takes place at the Arena Tent at the Ritz Carlton Bahrain Hotel in Manama and highlights the works of various Bahraini and expat artists in the Kingdom. The Bahrain National Museum meanwhile will host three exhibitions: “Design Crossroads: The Jewellery of Saudi Arabia”, the “Golden Jubilee Celebration of Bahraini Diplomacy” and the “Bahrain National Museum: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective”.
The Memory of the Place – Bin Matar House will host the exhibition “CERN in Bahrain”, a showcase of the wonderful world of physics and secrets of the universe. For its part, Albareh Art Gallery will host the fine arts exhibition “Nostalgia” highlighting the glass creations of artist Jamal Al-Yousif that reflect the “subconscious warmth that one feels from nostalgia”. Another exhibition, “Pathaways” by the Artist Rasmi Al-Kafaji, features monochromatic watercolours that reveal the final hitherto unknown outcomes of the painting process. The Art Centre will host an exhibition of its own entitled “Noor” by Artist Marwa Rashid Al Khalifa that takes the public on a journey of her incredible paintings, photography and light installations, while La Fontaine Centre presents the Turkish exhibition “Spark!” featuring the works of Ali Abayoglu, an artist who sees beauty in what others deem to be rubbish and transforms these objects into charming and vibrant artworks using mundane materials. Another exhibition, held at the Bahrain National Theatre, will allow audiences to witness the beauty of the traditional Korean costume known as the Hanbok. Studio 244, a joint initiative between the Supreme Council for the Environment and BACA will transform Arad Bay Protected Area and Park into an open space for multiple art activities.
The Spring of Culture Festival is replete with song, music and theatre performances, including Scheherazade at the Bahrain National Theatre, a Russian ballet inspired by the tales of 1,001 Nights and first performed by one of the most influential ballet groups of the 20th century. The Bahrain Theatre will also host a musical evening “Alongside You” honouring the journey of the Bahraini icon Khalid Al Shaikh featuring the Bahrain Music Band and led by maestro Khalifa Zaiman, as well as a performance of Don Giovanni and the music of maestro Rene Jacobs performed by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.
Bahraini folk music is also very much present in this edition of the festival, where, starting from February 28, the Mohammed Bin Fares Hall for Fan Al-Sout in Muharraq will host the Mohammed Bin Fares Band in weekly evening concerts every Thursday that highlight the song heritage of diving, pearls, and other occasions. Dar Al-Riffa will also highlight the area’s local heritage, while Dar Al-Muharraq will celebrate the mystical chants and rhythms of the unique fjiri musical genre.
The Cultural Hall, in turn, is set to host a multicultural series of live performances, including a taste of quintessential Italian sounds by the Hathor Plectrum Quartet and tenor Aldo Gallone, while the Miyabi Ensemble showcases Japan’s signature Taiko drums and other traditional instruments such as the shinobue in two concerts. In addition, the Cultural Hall will host a journey through the traditions of Azeri, Kurdish, Syrian and Armenian music by the Haidouti Orkestar, as well as Germany’s Arcis Saxophon Quartet which will pay tribute to the great masters of music, followed by Ahmed Effat will pay homage to Abdel Halim Hafez on accompanied by the Arabic Music Ensemble.
The Cultural Hall concert series continues with American pianist Steven Lin and his virtuoso performance of classic works of masters that changed the course of music history forever such as Beethoven, Liszt and Schumann, as well as artist Scott Booth who will present his unique style of complex rhythms on the six-string guitar. Audience will also be treated to the audio-visual feast that is Korean fusion band QUEEN with its unique blend of traditional and contemporary elements.