Interactive installations, performances, food stalls: 11th Sikka Art and Design Festival kicks off in Dubai

The event houses 6 murals, 9 outdoor installations, and over 100 talks, panels and workshops


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 24 Feb 2023, 5:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Mar 2023, 6:55 PM

With art installation, murals and live workshops, the 11th edition of the Sikka Art and Design Festival kicked off at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood on Friday. On the opening day, crowds of art lovers and families thronged the area to look at the various artworks and participate in free workshops.

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council, the festival will run until March 5. It was inaugurated by Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, who toured the houses of the neighbourhood, each presenting a vibrant range of artwork.

Held under the theme ‘New creativity. Same Path’, the festival features a wide variety of artworks, installations, murals and creative exhibitions throughout the festival period. Several local artists will be performing at the festival as well.

Various artworks

The installation ‘Threads of Time: weaving history on a blank canvas’, produced by Emirati artists Hamda Ahmad Al Falahi and Reema Al Mheiri, appreciates the region’s rich heritage of weaving. It is an interactive installation where visitors can tie multi-coloured threads on the artwork.

Hala Badri visited House 31 and was briefed on the output of 14 artists, including the installation work ‘Shahin’ created by Melika Shahin, in which she explores the intersection between heritage, belonging and escaping from reality, and ‘Rugs’ by Areen, which aims to inspire the audience to communicate their love to others. She also saw the origami-influenced installation ‘Mirrorigami’ by Ali Bahmani, and a group work created by students of the Higher Colleges of Technology – Saif Saud Alreyami, Hamad Al Jasmi, and Mohammad Ahmad AlDhanhani.

The Talli House, by artists Sarah AlKhayyal, Hajer Al Tenaji, Feryal Al Bastaki, Munira Al Mulla and Noora Taher, celebrates the UAE's success in registering the traditional art on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. One of the areas, Bait Al Khazaf, houses the works of 35 artists including sculptures and artistic installations.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention is participating in the festival for the first time this year at House 5. The MOHAP is using an innovative and interactive 'Art for Health' initiative to convey the message of the National Programme for Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (Hayat).

Art hub

Hala Badri affirmed that Dubai has become a prominent hub in the arts and culture sector thanks to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“A decade after the launch of Sikka, the festival has succeeded in cementing Dubai's position and global leadership, in addition to enriching its art scene with works that celebrate the creations of promising talent and young artists in the UAE and the region, ” she said. “The continuous growth of Sikka Art and Design Festival reflects the depth of the cultural movement taking place in the emirate and raises the contribution of the cultural and creative industries to Dubai's GDP.”

According to Badri, this year’s edition of the festival reflects the artistic diversity of talent in the country and fulfils Dubai Culture's commitment to creating a sustainable, creative and artistic ecosystem capable of empowering creative talent and refining their skills. It also ensures that their businesses support Dubai's creative economy and achieve its vision of being a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity and a thriving hub for talent.

The current edition of the festival houses 6 murals, 9 outdoor installations, and over 100 talks, panels and workshops that highlight the trends of the international arts sector. In addition to this, a wide range of cinematic and musical performances and entertainment activities will be held along with over 30 local F&B concepts in collaboration with Brand Dubai, celebrating the local culture and rich flavours of Dubai.

Sikka Art and Design Festival, which falls under the umbrella of the Dubai Art Season, also provides its visitors with the opportunity to live unique cultural and artistic experiences, designed by Dubai Culture in cooperation with a group of institutions and art centres, with the aim of presenting events and activities that highlight the aesthetics of the arts and reflect the richness of Dubai's creative scene.


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