Top 10 events not to miss at the Shubbak Festival

From a Dabke dance troupe to Khleifi documentaries and street art from the Gulf, schedule your next two weeks at Shubbak with Vision’s top picks of the fortnight

11 July, 7pm, Barbican Concert Hall

Moroccan singer Karima Skalli and the Asil Ensemble are performing three Burdas – song cycles combining poetry and music, which have inspired the greatest Arab composers and poets across the centuries.

el Seed
11-26 July, Village Underground

Stop by to watch the celebrated French Tunisian ‘calligraffiti’ artist eL Seed painting his first London commission, a large-scale mural in the heart of the city’s urban art quarter. His previous creations adorn the 47-metre high minaret in the Southern Tunisian city Gabes, a wall on the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, motorway underpasses in Qatar and walls in New York, Melbourne and Jeddah.

eL Seed
One of French Tunisian ‘calligraffiti’ artist eL Seed's works in AlgeriaImage: eL Seed/Shubbak Festival

Michel Khleifi
12 July, 2-5.30pm, The Institute of Contemporary Arts

The Palestinian director Michel Khleifi celebrates being 65 this year. To mark this occasion, he is curating the festival’s main film programme. The season explores representations of Palestine and the Arab in European cinema, and the struggle for the emancipation of women. On this day, a triple bill of seminal documentaries will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the director plus Tariq Ali, Peter Kosminsky and Ilan Pappé.

14 July, 7:30pm, Southbank

Dabke, the Arab folk dance performed at weddings and other celebratory events, is subverted by this anarchic dance troupe of 10 Palestinian performers. The infectious performance, choreographed by Koen Augustijnen, Rosalba Torres Guerrero and Hildegard De Vuyst, will use the dancers’ backgrounds in hip-hop, capoeira and circus to update the traditional dabke into anarchic theatre.

tree climber
A detective, lizard, time-travelling dervish and magic tree turn the quiet life of a married couple upside-down in 'The Tree Climber'Image: Shubbak Festival

The Tree Climber
14-18 July, various times, The Cockpit

Directed by Ahmed El-Alfy and adapted by Perdita Stott, The Tree Climber promises farce, high drama and humour. This version of the play by Tawfik Al Hakeem, Egypt’s most renowned playwright of the 20th century, has been adapted for British audiences. Expect a detective, a lizard and a time-travelling dervish, in no particular order.

What is home?
15 July-9 August, 11am-5pm, Pump House Gallery

Visitors to this exhibition curious about place, memory and history are invited to spend time with the artworks of 10 artists including Hamra Abbas, trained in the Indo-Persian tradition of miniature painting, and Amina Menia, whose work questions the relation to architectural and historical spaces.

Khalid Shafar
Khalid Shafar's updated Arish – the traditional Gulf houseImage: Khalid Shafar/Shubbak Festival

Zahed Sultan
16 July, Barbican Centre

Watch art being made. Using existing and new material created in a short residency on-site, Kuwaiti artist Zahed Sultan performs a live set. This will be especially created for the Barbican Art Gallery as part of the American multimedia artist Doug Aitken’s Station to Station project.

Khalid Shafar’s The Nomad
16-27 July, Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground

Dubai-based Khalid Shafar presents 'The Nomad', an exhibition featuring his take on the Arish – a traditional Gulf house made from palm trees and fronds. Using similar building techniques, the designer offers an updated version that functions both as social space and a sculptural installation. Visitors can interact with The Nomad in the iconic grounds of the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College.

elias khoury
Elias Khoury will read from a selection of his novels at the finale of the festivalImage: Shubbak Festival

Breaking cover: Gulf street art
18-22 July, across London

Watch as the Gulf’s best street artists spray their designs onto walls around London, ranging from subtle interventions to large-scale murals in styles varying from cartoon, to realist and abstract. Check out Southbank Undercroft, Stockwell Legal Wall and Leake Street to see artists such as Shaweesh, Talal Al Zeid and Fathima Mohiuddin in action.

Elias Khoury
26 July, 5:30pm, The British Library

Closing the Shubbak Festival will be the acclaimed writer Elias Khoury, author of Gate of the Sun. He discusses his writing and inspiration with award-winning author, academic and critic Marina Warner.