UAE art scene soars with innovative workshops for children

Over 145,000 students spark a creative renaissance across hundreds of schools

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Published: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 1:58 PM

The art scene in the UAE is currently witnessing a surge of creativity, as tens of thousands of school children actively participate in a collective journey of self-expression and innovation. Geared towards cultivating artistic flair and nurturing emerging talent, these efforts have gained enthusiastic support from various art institutions. Observers note that the workshops represent one of the most ambitious initiatives in the country's art scene, reflecting a dedicated push to empower the younger generation.

A standout programme among these initiatives is the ARM Holding Children’s Programme, which collaborates closely with local schools and children at the upcoming Art Dubai (March 1-3) through bespoke workshops. This marks their most extensive programme yet, expanding to over 100 schools across all seven emirates and involving 15,000 young participants.

Renowned Indian artist Sahil Naik is set to lead this year's programme, infusing it with his sculptural, architectural, and arts education-based approach. Tailored for children aged between 5 and 17, the workshops aim to kindle their imagination and prompt them to envision the future of cities. Naik elaborates, saying, "In these workshops, we create dioramas—a captivating, hands-on method for kids to breathe life into their favourite sights and stories. It's a space where they can build an exciting world within a small area, fostering creativity and innovation through hands-on play." The resulting works of art will be showcased at the workshop space in Art Dubai, marking the commencement of a programme set to extend its impact into participating schools.

Indian artist Sahil Naik
Indian artist Sahil Naik

Meanwhile, over 130,000 students from 43 schools across the UAE have been invited to contribute to artistic visual expressions of human fraternity as part of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity (ZAHF) initiative. In collaboration with GEMS Education, this undertaking aims to raise awareness for the International Day of Human Fraternity on February 4 among the youth.

The second edition of ZAHF’s ‘Expressions of Human Fraternity’ initiative will engage students of all ages to showcase their personal interpretations of human fraternity through various art forms, including paintings, drawings, sketches, and mixed media.

In another creative venture, the SEE Institute in Dubai Sustainable City is gearing up to host the Teen Art Awards (taa) on March 2. Organised by the Art.Coordinate Foundation, the awards invited young artists worldwide to submit artworks across various genres, from painting to video art and performance, centred around the theme "Sustainable World: A Society of the Future through the Prism of Art."

With over 320 entries from 38 countries, including two from the UAE among the 32 shortlisted, the awards showcase the diverse perspectives of young artists globally. Daria Kalinina, founder and president of The Art.Coordinate Fund, emphasised the importance of amplifying teenage voices on pressing planetary issues through art. She expressed excitement about welcoming artists to celebrate youth's artistic talent and perspectives on a sustainable world.

Daria Kalinina, founder and president of The Art.Coordinate Fund
Daria Kalinina, founder and president of The Art.Coordinate Fund

Art.Coordinate, a contemporary art support and development foundation, began its work in July 2021, with a primary objective of supporting young artists and serving as a platform for teenagers to communicate and share experiences. This marks the second season of the Teen Art Awards, with the inaugural event held in Saint Petersburg.

"Teen Art Awards is not just a competition but also a platform for professional growth and implementing bold ideas, " said Daria.

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