Shopopolis Brings the Arab World to Westfield London

The City of London is in the midst of Shubbak, its first city-wide celebration of Arab culture. The festival takes place over the month of June, and brings together work by contemporary Arab artists in all fields. It has a full program of visual arts, literature, dance, film, music, theatre, and more.

Westfield London is taking part with Shopopolis, an initiative by Delfina Foundation. It looks at the shopping center as a social space, redefining the relationship between commodities and communities. It brings shoppers into comparisons between luxury shopping in the UK and the UAE. According to the center, Shopopolis “involves reciprocal residencies, workshops, an exhibition and a live intervention.”

Shubbak is the brainchild of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and it is part of the leadup to London’s 2012 Olympics. According to Johnson, “‘London is a global city in which Arab culture has played a significant part over the centuries – the word ‘Trafalgar’ even originates from the Arabic language. This festival is a unique chance for Londoners to glimpse the breadth and excellence of contemporary Arab culture and its influence on London’s cultural scene today. At a time of remarkable political and social change, Shubbak marks an exciting moment between artists in the capital and across the Arab world. I have no doubt that it will stimulate, delight and surprise audiences.”

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