Photos: Sneakers with Emirati weave, traditional handicrafts at House of Artisans

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 18, 2021 | Last updated on May 21, 2021 at 02.15 pm

Photos by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times

Located at the historic Qasr Al Hosn, the House of Artisans celebrates Emiratis’ relationship with the country’s natural resources.

Discover the stories of Emirati artisans and how they’re keeping centuries-old crafting traditions alive at the newest permanent exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Located at the historic Qasr Al Hosn, the House of Artisans celebrates Emiratis’ relationship with the country’s natural resources.

At the heart of the exhibition are Emirati women weaving traditional crafts, telling stories about the rich local culture and heritage that have been passed on for generations.

“Some of traditional handicraft highlighted at the exhibition are Al Sadu, Khoos, Talli, sea crafts, cooking and cuisine and others. By showcasing these crafts, we highlight the stories the community of artisans in the UAE,” said Ayisha Hassan Khansaheb, researcher at Qasr Al Hosn.

Launched during the recently concluded holy month of Ramadan, the exhibition honours UAE artisans and serves as a platform where artisans and artists can practise traditional crafts.

Within the diverse landscapes of the UAE — from the desert and the oases to the coast and sea — artisans have developed skills and craftsmanship to meet their needs. They not only keep traditions alive, they also preserve the social values associated with the Emirati identity.

As the exhibition presents age-old traditions, it also features the work of younger artisans and contemporary Emirati and Arab designers who are taking their heritage to the next level, Khansaheb told Khaleej Times.

“One of those artworks, for example, is the Sadu sneakers which has been designed by our own product development team. Camel leather and Sadu woven pieces have been used by the artisans in a contemporary fashionable sportswear and are on display for sale at the exhibition.”

Sixty pieces of artefacts and collections from across the UAE are showcased at the house, each of them telling the story of different artisans, she added. “Meanwhile, we have about 30 artworks displayed in the contemporary craft islands across the pavilions inspired by traditional art crafts.”

Traditional crafts on display at the exhibition

Al Sadu: It’s a traditional form of weaving practised by Bedouin women in the UAE. Using the wool of sheep, camels and goats, women create beautiful and distinctive designs with geometrical patterns that often reflect both social identity and the surrounding environment. This intricate weaving was used to create the bait al shaar (the tent) and various Al Sadu patterns were used to decorate the interior tent divider.

Khoos: The date palm is the foundation for many crafts of the UAE. While the date palm is known for providing the staple food of the region it is the branches and leaves of this tree that are used in the traditional weaving technique known as khoos. Khoos is practised by both men and women and it involves braiding date palm fronds together to form an object. While the products serve a functional purpose, the techniques used, and colours chosen provide elements of personal artistry.

Talli: This is a traditional form of decorative embroidery practised by Emirati women. Cotton or silk threads, intertwined with gold and silver threads are used to decorate the collars, sleeves and hems of the kandoora and thawb (traditional women’s robes) with intricate designs and vibrant colours.

Sea Craft: For thousands of years, the people of the UAE have found ingenious ways to understand and benefit from the richness of the sea. The boat-building industry helped develop trade relationships across the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, and boats made for pearling and fishing significantly contributed to the local economy.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

ERROR: Macro /ads/dfp-ad-article-new is missing!
MORE FROM Khaleej Times
CurrentRequestUnmodified: /news/20210616/how-to-apply-for-a-taxi-drivers-job-in-dubai macro_action: article, macro_profile: ,1664,1000 macro_adspot:
KT App Download
khaleejtimes app

All new KT app
is available
for download:

khaleejtimes - android khaleejtimes - ios khaleejtimes - HUAWEI AppGallery