Updated: Jul 23, 2019


Shubbak (meaning ‘window’ in Arabic) is London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. Founded in 2011 by the mayor of London, Shubbak is now an independent charity (charity number: 1150374) whose founding chair was Omar Al-Qattan.

Shubbak connects London audiences and communities with the best of contemporary Arab culture through ambitious festival programmes of premieres and commissions of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debate. Shubbak work with arts institutions in London and internationally.

Shubbak has become a key moment in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab world, bringing new and unexpected voices alongside established artists to new audiences every two years. This year’s festival takes place in London from 28 june–14 july 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

This year FerArts will be contributing through a collaboration with legendary Mehdi Annassi. Casablanca-based street artist Mehdi Annassi will be visiting our local neighbourhood of North Kensington to create a new mural in a public location with our members and artists + support from the local community. Nicknamed little Larache, Golborne road has long been at the centre of Moroccan identity in London. Together with residents and community groups, the artist will delve into its history and scenes of everyday life. He will develop a short graphic story, which will be painted directly on one of the walls in this iconic neighbourhood.

Mehdi Annassi aka Machima works on large-scale murals, comics, zines, animation, illustrations and street art (Street Art Caravane, Jidar festival, Sbagha Bagha Festival). He is known for his contribution and involvement to Morocco’s thriving comic art scene and is a founding member of Skefkef, the first Moroccan independent comics magazine. He is currently working on his first graphic novel.

This weekend we wrapped up warm and pitched up on the Westbourne Green canal for a pre festival mural workshop which was a spectacular in itself. A great way to introduce working with new materials and surfaces such as brick walls, spray paints and masonry paint, we also accustomed our bodies to the outdoor cold during long hours.

The workshop started with some reflection time into what we wanted to achieve by drawing sketches, delving into our souls and thoughts to really connect our artistic mind with the surroundings. Sat in close proximity of the newly renovated Trellick tower many of our contributors explored themes such as nostalgia and regeneration, others felt compelled to explore the local heritage and cultures, particularly the north african influence from the other side of the bridge on Golborne road with its Moroccan cafes and shops, bustling roads of people old and young casually switching between English and Darija

With an eclectic mix of people contributing to the workshop from 18+ we shared plenty of experiences, laughs and memories creating the pieces that took 2 days to complete.

Thanks to soor on Harrow Road for the flavoursome Lebanese lunch that kept us going throughout the weekend and of course to our local resident artists Flex and Bamboo Kidd who were able to share techniques and generate ideas with the guidance from Mehdi

Overall, we managed to make it through the cold and bring some colour to that site along the canal which attracted a lot of attention from the passersby; joggers, cyclists, boats and even canoes! Looking forward to the master piece we’re working on with mehdi this summer…. Stay connected for updates on more workshops, how to get involved and where to find us painting next.


Shubbak festival 2019 presented with additional support from Paul Hamlyn foundation, Drosos Foundation and Nour Creative Learning Programme in collaboration with FerArts