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International report

Arts funding in the Gulf region

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The Bahrain National Theater is a waterfront building complex in Manama that costed 46 million euros.
The Bahrain National Theater is a waterfront building complex in Manama that costed 46 million euros. Rory/CC/Wikimedia

The Persian Gulf region is famous for its flashy mega-projects. The United Arab Emirates in particular has received a lot of attention over the past few years for its Louvre and Guggenheim museums. But few are aware that the tiny kingdom of Bahrain is now attempting to compete with its neighbour. Bahrain’s capital Manama boasts one of the biggest theatres in the Arab world with a price tag of 50 million dollars. Last autumn, Bahrain held its first international art fair. All this despite being one of the poorest members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Minister of Culture Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa recently organized an international forum to discuss the social and economic impacts investing in culture could have in the Arab world.

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