About the Festival

The Spring of Culture Festival is back for its 15th season with an array of activities and events. We have a diverse lineup of initiatives and collaborations that will cater to various tastes, interests and age groups. This edition of the festival comes as part of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities’ year-long celebrations for 2020 under the slogan of Dilmun: Land of Density.

The Spring of Culture is an annual festival organized by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the Economic Development Board the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, in cooperation with the Albareh Art Gallery and La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art.

The ongoing “Dive into the Jurassic” will continue its display until the 16th of March at the Bahrain National Museum, bringing an interactive exhibition that, unlike the standard exhibition, has touchable artifacts and immersive CGI that will submerge visitors into the ancient sea. This exhibition is curated and produced by the Natural History Museum (London) and is generously supported by the British Council, DCMS and GREAT through the UK-Gulf Culture and Sport Programme.

Local talents are showcased through numerous art exhibitions. Take pleasure in the “What Night Does” exhibition displaying the artworks of Abdulrahim Sharif as it reexamines the relationship between subject and painting, focusing on the synchronization between text and image. The Art Centre presents the “Archipelago” exhibition, which won second prize last year at the 45th Bahrain Annual Fine Arts Exhibition, created by multi-serviced creative collective Shepherd studio known for their art installations regionally and in the United Kingdom. A joint art exhibition entitled “Fourth Dimension” by porcelain artist Huda Al-Saie and painter and sculptor Khalid Farhan will establish a unique dialogue on nature and plants.

Studio 244 – Arad Bay Protected Area and Park presents the “What if Rashid Didn’t Exist”, a performing arts that looks at the symbiotic relationship between artists, looking at the influence Khalid Al Ruwaie draws from Rashid Al Oraifi. Albareh Art Gallery will launch a solo exhibition featuring the works of Bahraini artist Mohammed Al Mahdi called “Greetings to Fernando Botero” as well as an exhibition by Lebanese artist Zena Assi titled “Wallpaper” reflecting the transformation of urban contemporary environments. La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art will host “Reconnect,” an art exhibition uniting a group of established artists whom will use the old doors of La Fontaine as their medium.

Beyond local talents, this season brings you an immersive, multi-screen sound and video installation exhibition called “Topologies of Air” by Scottish-Danish artist Shona Illingworth that will be on display at the Bahrain National Museum. This installation is presented by The Wapping Project, in partnership with the Bahrain National Museum, and generously supported by the British Council, DCMS and GREAT through the UK-Gulf exhibition programme. Moreover, award-winning Italian artist Ezio Gribaudo will launch his first solo exhibition in the region at the Bahrain National Museum.

Arab Tourism Day will be commemorated at the Bahrain National Theatre with an otherworldly contemporary dance performance titled “Hadid Tears” to celebrate the legacy of the late architect Zaha Hadid. This mystical show explores her connection to the Sufi dervishes of the Mawlaw’iyya Order through circular movements paralleling her architecture, a study of gravity and the notion of cathartic release when fusing with the infinite.

Bahrain Bay has more programs for performance enthusiasts as well. The location will host a concert for GRAMMY Award winner Ms. Lauryn Hill. Additionally, a theatrical dance entitled  “The Merchants of Bollywood” will execute an electrifying show.

The Cultural Hall presents exquisite musical evenings for all. Tune into a musical performance by Barbaros Büyükakkan for a whirlwind musical evening. Barbaros is a famous Turkish singer being the crème de la crème of world music, performing in various languages including French, English, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.

Perfect for all age groups, a one-of-a-kind concert starring the German duo of Pianotainment is unmissable. They’ve dazzled the world for over 20 years and are coming to the Kingdom of Bahrain to captivate the minds of young children and the elderly alike through their wacky program that is self-described as the perfect symbiosis between piano comedy and amazing virtuosity.

The Spring of Culture Festival is more than entertainment. Stimulate your intellect through a diverse set of upcoming lectures and discussions. Accompanying the “Topologies of Air” exhibition is discussion examining the accelerating geopolitical, technological and environment impacts on the deviating composition, nature and use of airspace. The Bahrain National Museum Auditorium is offering a study of filmography and videography as a course, accompanied by established professionals in their respective fields

The Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research will host a series of events, including a lecture by Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Issa who will discuss the historical novel, a lecture titled “The Psychology of the Russian People between West & East” by Artium Kapchuk, and a lecture on the topic of “Writing & the Happiness Hormone” by Kuwaiti novelist Taleb Al-Rifae to name a few, in addition to other events. Hala Al Khalifa will exhibit her latest body of work at Bin Matar House under the title “Where Do We Sit?” and Mai Al Moataz will launch her “Proof of Presence” exhibition.

The Shaikh Ebrahim Center hosts more than lectures. Musical events include weekly Mohammed bin Faris performances at the Mohammed bin Faris Hall on Thursdays; a Japanese musical evening with the Koto player Naoko Kikuchi; a joint performance between Palestinian pianist Fadi Deeb and Palestinian-Japanese artist Mariam Tamari; and Conversation between Lebanese qanun player Elie Achkar and the guitarist Manuel Delgado. Saudi Arabian poet Ahmed Al-Ali is scheduled at the House of Poetry for “Souvenir of the Opposing Chairs” and Samir Darwish will appear for an event titled “The Status of Women in the Egyptian Poetic Landscape”.

No season is complete without catering to the children. Entertainment Live, the adored British theater troupe, presents an action-packed retelling of Aladdin and introduce us to Romeo & Juliet: The Musical, topped off with a catchy pop score. Children and nostalgic adults alike will have the opportunity to watch the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters come to life through a hilarious puppet show. Furthermore, children will have the opportunity to engage in the tales that took place within the old neighborhoods of Muharraq through the “Hazawi Telling” storytelling event.

For lovers of literature, there is the 19th Bahrain International Book Fair, The State of Kuwait is the guest of honor this year and will be celebrated throughout the event. This biennial literary fair will showcase regional and international publishers and booksellers covering a variety of subjects all under one roof, along with other dynamic cultural activities like book signings, talks, exhibitions and more. There will be a children’s program, a vital point of interest as we aim to nurture a love for reading amongst this digital generation.

Experience an alternative Bahrain with the “Archaeology Walkathon” tour passing through various archaeological sites north of Bahrain. The trail will start at the Qal’at Al Bahrain Site, passing through surrounding farms and historical locations, finally ending at the Barbar Temple Site. Learn more about the history of the nation through a study of its folk medicine with the “Tour: Medicinal Plants” event. Participants will learn about the healing properties of plants and herbs, followed by     a tour to a nearby factor to observe the distillation process of these folk medicines.

Film aficionados will rejoice at the phenomenal selection of film screenings from all over the world. Firstly, we present the much anticipated Bahrain Film Festival to showcase regional talents, both established and undiscovered, celebrating filmmakers, intellectuals and artists alike through various programs to be held in conjunction with the festival. Three Tunisian films will be screened at the Tunisian Film Festival event, and four Japanese animations are to be screened on behalf of the Japan Animation Film Festival.

The Pearling Path Visitors Centre will screen the 1948 Italian classic “The Bicycle Thief,” the 2009 Palestinian film by Elia Suleiman “The Time That Remains,” and Bollywood movie, “Lagaan, Once Upon a Time in India.” The Sudanese film “You Will Die at Twenty,” one of the pioneering films to emerge from the Republic of Sudan, will premiere at the Bahrain National Museum. Qal’at Al Bahrain will host “A Night of Arabic Classic Films” event and will screen the 2010 version of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Performances at Dar Al Riffa and Dar Al Muharraq will continue to highlight their area’s local heritage, enchanting audiences with their traditional folk arts. Our 5 P.M. at Bab series will continue to bring weekly Thursday night activities at Bab Al Bahrain, from music, tours to workshops, all which reflect the historical value of Manama. Watch the ancient history of Bahrain come to life through an audiovisual journey projected on the walls of Qal’at Al Bahrain through the “Sound & Light” show.

The annual Food is Culture project is back, an experimental initiative that aims to tie the philosophies of a variety of artists from musicians to photographers to the works of accompanying culinary artists, culminating towards the publication of the 5th journal edition.

Families are spoiled for choice with an array of international performances by professional artists in venues across the Kingdom of Bahrain. These include The Flying Dutchman, a street theater filled with explosive energy and lots of fun. From the UK” Frantic” a spectacular acrobatic performance, from the Netherlands” Stick Stock” a spectacular sticks and from Italy “ The Marlon Banda Show “a hilarious comic street theatre with a live instrumental music twist.

There are many more events during this festival season, and the 15th Spring of Culture is set to offer a diverse workshops and educational programs, from calligraphy to pickling to weaving, aiming to elevate the creative minds and skills of our youth

To stay up to date on all festival news, we invite you to follow us on our official account (@springofculture) on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. You can find the all the details on the various events and activities and register in any of the various workshops by visiting (www.springofculture.org).

We hope the programs this year delight you more than ever before. We can’t wait for you to join us, it is truly your support that makes these activities and events worthwhile.

Thank you and enjoy the festivities!