Art with a conscience at RAK fine arts fest
A visitors looks at a painting by Colombian artist Leonardo Montoyo, during the RAK Fine Arts Festival at National Museum. - KT photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Ras Al Khaimah - The 2018 edition revolves around sustainable creativity, aiming to find beauty in recyclable materials.
Fancy taking a spring road trip? There's a new destination to add on your list, if you decide to head in the direction of Ras Al Khaimah.
The annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is back to showcase the work of 84 local and international artists, musicians and filmmakers from over 30 countries, down at the National Museum.
This year's theme is recycled art, encouraging artists to rediscover their inspiration via reused materials while contributing to the conservation of natural resources and endorsing social responsibility. Introduced in partnership with the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Authority (RAK WMA), the festival showcases the creation of a new visual arts category dedicated to highlighting waste-to-art works.
Until March 2, visitors will get a peek at unique photographs, paintings, films and students' work, all featured on the old walls of the National Museum.
The two-week long festival that started on Friday will feature the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation's latest Film Grant recipient and Ras Al Khaimah native Ahmed Hasan Ahmed's film .
Why making art from recycled items is important
The festival this year revolves around sustainable creativity, aiming to find beauty in recyclable materials. The goal is to bring the community together to celebrate art, create opportunities for cultural exchange and support RAK's creative and artistic sectors.
During the opening ceremony, two artists of the new category walked away with trophies for their art.
Salma Sohail, an Iranian student at the American University, won first place for her work 'Urban'. Inspired by urban interior design, she combined wood and metal in her work.
"I thought of combining old wood that already exists in nature with metal, to represent a mix of nature and industry," said Sohail, who studies interior design.
Living in a society that uses part of what nature provides us and disposes the rest, she said recyclable art not only reminds viewers to protect the environment, but also to use their resources effectively. Artists in different fields should take it as their responsibility to recycle materials whenever they can.
Echoing similar thoughts was Spencer Hogg, a railway engineer from England, who won second place for his cubic-shaped art piece 'Stop selling the planet.' Through his work at Etihad Rail, he took some of the recyclable materials of the UAE railway project he's currently working on. The artwork shows a large golden piece packaged by recyclable material including wood, metal and plastic presented in shiny colours.
"I wanted to highlight our large amount of waste, much of which ends up in landfill sites and in the ocean. I used colours to highlight that beautification of products isn't always great, so maybe we should try to stop selling our planet," said Hogg, a UAE resident for the last 10 years.
He added that art has the power to tell messages, which must drive artists to work for a purpose.
Four other winners were awarded in the photography, student work, sculpture and visual arts categories.
The festival will be held over the course of two weeks, with red carpet events every Friday. Throughout the Festival, the visual art and photography exhibits will be open to the public at the National Museum.
Things to look forward to
The 6th Annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival schedule at a glance:
. Opening Reception and Awards Night (February 16)
. Film Screening and Awards Night (February 23)
. Closing Night Red Carpet Reception (March 2)
. Fine Arts Exhibition and Workshops (February 17 - February 28)
. New to the schedule this year are a series of interactive workshops that include miniature painting, short-film script writing, a talk by Mohammad Al Suwaidi on the legacy of pearl diving, as well as photography classes with honorary American guest artist Guy Brooksbank