German-Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni’s sculpture Rubble Theatre is a highlight of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland. It recreates a scene of destruction in Syria, featuring the rubble of a bombsite and an abandoned car. Halbouni was born in Syria, the son of a Syrian father and a German mother. He studied at art school in Syria and then moved to Germany a few years before the war. In 2017, far-right groups in Germany protested against his installation Monument, which erected three, upended buses at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and at the Frauenkirche in Dresden, in homage to a barricade of buses that protected civilians from sniper fire in Aleppo.
Vehicles (and most frequently cars) are a repeating theme in Halbouni’s work – whether as a means of escape or as a mobile home. ‘With the car, a symbol of mobility, I try to reach a place that I can call home to take root again,’ he says. Rubble Theatre will bring the theme of displacement to the heart of Glasgow and be a space for emerging artists from refugee and migrant backgrounds and others to meet, discuss and share their work.
Rubble Theatre will continue Halbouni’s ongoing exploration of belonging and ‘home’, acting as a catalyst for public discussions central to Refugee Festival Scotland’s theme of ‘Making Art, Making Home’ – enabling wider dialogue about the pivotal role of art in creating welcoming and inclusive communities.
Join us at Rubble Theatre for the launch of Refugee Festival Scotland 2019 on World Refugee Day, Thursday 20 June. On Sunday, 23 June at 4pm, Halbouni will be in conversation with Rachael Disbury from Alchemy Film at the site of his installation in St Enoch Square. Halbouni will also be in conversation Kate Gray, Director of Collective about his international work as an artist on Monday 24 June.
Rubble Theatre will be open to the public between Thursday 20 – Wednesday 26 June. The installation is outdoors and wheelchair accessible.
Commissioned by Counterpoints Arts and Refugee Festival Scotland and supported by Creative Scotland.