Doha-based Cultural Magazine Alef Launched in London

Celebrating culture, creativity and innovation from talents in the Gulf region, Alef magazine was launched on 6 July 2013 at the Serpentine Pavilion in London, to an audience who has a vested interest in Arab art and culture.

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Jack Thomas Taylor, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Alef, elaborated on the vision of the magazine and said:

This magazine will provide the opportunity for talent from the Gulf region to be unofficial historians who are passionate about promoting art, music, and literature to the new generation of people who thirst for this knowledge about this part of the world.’

Alef is an independent magazine published out of Doha, Qatar. Printed bi-monthly in English and Arabic, the magazine focuses on cultural topics that are indigenous to the Gulf region. Alef launched during a family day event in collaboration with London’s Serpentine Gallery and the Qatar Museum Authority (QMA). The event explored London and its connections with the Arab world through discussions, oral histories and interactive environments.

Commenting on the strong relations between London and the Arab community, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

There are unprecedented opportunities to increase bilateral trade and investment flows, but also to enhance the flourishing exchanges in the arts and culture, exemplified by the year-long cultural festival Qatar UK 2013.’

‘But the relationship goes deeper than being solely about trade and investment. There is a thriving and diverse Arab community living here, contributing not just to London’s economy, but infusing its cultural and social life.’

Luma E Bashmi, Editor of Alef, also added:

We are at a time when youth and future generations of our region should harness the power and potential of culture and innovation into viable careers, and more importantly, fulfilling lifestyles that can lead to a resuscitation of cultural heritage. Contributions to our first issue from all over the Gulf countries illustrate that we’re not forgetting this.’

The launch event coincided with Qatar UK, the 2013 bilateral celebration commemorating the friendship between Qatar and the UK through the arts, culture, education, science and sport; and the London Mayor’s Shubbak Festival, a biannual event that celebrates Arab contemporary art and culture.