Western history from an Arab perspective

La Chanson de Roland

Wael Shawky

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The Egyptian artist Wael Shawky looks at Western history from an Arab perspective in his work. He has exhibited in various places, including New York (MoMA), London (Serpentine Gallery) and Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, and last year the Holland Festival presented his film Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala, which presented the Crusades history from the Arab point of view. This year he is directing a music theatre adaptation of La Chanson de Roland. This epic poem, written between 1040 and 1115, tells the story of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland, who were embroiled in war with the Saracens, a people who had converted to Islam early on. Shawky retells this timeless tale with a cast of twenty to thirty traditional Fijiri singers from the gulf states.

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