Since 2011, Syria and Yemen have witnessed unprecedented destruction and degradation of art and cultural infrastructure, in addition to humanitarian crisis, as a result of the ongoing conflicts in both these countries. In this symposium, artists, curators and scholars investigate the current status and future of art and culture from the point of view of artists working inside these countries as well as those who are presently living outside Syria and Yemen. What are the challenges? How is war affecting artistic expression? What means are there for artists to communicate their practice? How does artistic mobility reflect on art and how do artists cope with migration and exile, forced or voluntary? How can artists engage individually and collectively, through art and other means of expression with a possible future post-conflict era?
The symposium at the British Museum will be divided into three sessions, one each on Yemen and Syria, introduced by overviews of the art scenes prior to the present conflicts. The third session, in the afternoon, will show a series of recent films by Syrian and Yemeni filmmakers.
Shubbak is the UK’s premier festival of contemporary Arab culture, presenting outstanding Arab artists to audiences in London and across England. Shubbak's programme includes UK premieres and new commissions from more than 150 artists based in the Arab region, in Europe and in the UK, with both cutting-edge and celebrated names, through a mix of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debates. Led by Eckhard Thiemann, artistic director, and Daniel Gorman, executive director, Shubbak 2019 is the fith edition of this biennial festival.
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