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The Arab Spring comes to London

A new festival in London reveals the changing realities of life in the Middle East and challenges lazy assumptions about Arab art

By Munira Mirza   July 2011

An image from Hala Elkoussy’s work ‘Myths and Legends Room: The Mural,’ on display at the Chamber Exhibition Space in Camberwell

Few, if any, political analysts predicted the Arab Spring. The raw energy of millions of protestors in the streets of Tunis and Cairo came as a surprise to many who believed that Arabs were essentially reconciled to their governments and non-democratic rule. Yet the signs had been there for some time—in the contemporary Arab art emerging from the region. A new generation of artists, film-makers, musicians, designers, playwrights and poets had been making work for years that expressed the…

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