Over 80 UAE artists to introduce Emirati culture, heritage at Washington festival

Event celebrates 50th anniversary of the Emirates


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 4:36 PM

More than 80 Emirati artists and resident artists will be participating in the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. in the US to showcase the UAE's culture, traditions and the rich heritage to the American people.

The festival, which is one of the leading artistic and cultural events in the world, will run from June 22 to 27 and June 30 to July 4, 2022.

This year's edition of the annual event will have the UAE as the country in focus.

Titled "UAE: Living Landscape, Living Memory", the event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE, where it will present to the public a variety of events involving craftsmen, creators, and musicians from the emirates whose mission will be to introduce the legacy of Emirati heritage and contemporary arts and culture of the country.

At a media briefing held in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, met with some of the creatives who are participating at the festival.

Al Kaabi stressed that the event celebrates the UAE’s heritage and showcases the central role of arts in the country’s progress and evolution.

She explained that art is the highest form of human expression. “Showcasing different forms of Emirati creations is an opportunity to expand cooperation with international institutions. Arts embody the true value of creative experiences that form a fundamental link between different people and civilizations,” said the minister.

She noted that the role of creatives in such events goes beyond local and regional boundaries, adding that during the event, people in the US will learn about Emirati art and heritage and contribute to changing the stereotype about the region.

“Artists are the best representatives of their country, and such platforms enrich their experiences and add value to their craft. They can showcase their country’s ethos through their work and uphold the legacy of their homeland,” said Al Kaabi.

The minister noted that the participation of a group of UAE creatives, including Emirati and resident artists, reflects the rich heritage of the country. “As the country in focus, the UAE will showcase a glimpse of Arab civilisation and its living heritage by exhibiting Emirati and Arab culture and arts,” she added.

Artists excited about taking part in the event

Emirati artist, Sarah Al Alhosani, 30, who’s the founder of Khazaf for Fine Arts said she will make people at the festival know more about the UAE and show them how to make Arabic coffee cups.

“I’m a ceramic artist and I will be presenting workshops inspired by the Arabic culture,” she said.

Alhosani's art studio in Abu Dhabi teaches people how to make artworks from clay.

“I will teach people how to make coffee cups with paintings on them.”

Another Emirati artist, Abdullah Lufti, 29, who enjoys painting black and white images isaid he was happy to be part of the event.

“My illustrations offer amazing observations of UAE culture and a fabulously simple narrative that enables the viewer to have an immediate insight into his world,” Lufti told Khaleej Times at the media briefing.

“My larger works are incredibly detailed and create a real journey for the eye as my black & white palette gives way to social interactions and environments we can all appreciate and relate to.”

The festival will start with a concert on June 22, followed by cultural programmes the next day,

Festival to highlight living memory, cultural traditions

The festival will highlight the nation’s living traditions, cultural exchange, intellectual and linguistic richness, as well as showcase the country’s diversity of nationalities and cultures and its sustainable vision and plans for the future.

Visitors to the festival will be able to engage in activities that reflect the diverse cultural expressions found throughout the UAE. For example, visitors can participate in a workshop to create perfumes and incense, and at the same time learn the importance of aroma in Emirati culture.

Master falconers will demonstrate falconary while describing its historical and sustainability role. Visitors can hear the traditional, plaintive songs of pearl divers. The flavours and techniques of Emirati and Bedouin home cooking will also be demonstrated, emphasising on local cuisine and global influences. There will also be a dedicated marketplace for contemporary arts and crafts from the emirates.

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