It's fun and games at traditional Emirati pastimes exhibition

Its fun and games at traditional Emirati pastimes exhibition
A visitor examines an installation based on a traditional game

Abu Dhabi - The event highlighted 6 popular local games: Al Teela, Habil Al Zaibal, Al Dusays, Al Zubout, Al Karabi and Al Miryhana


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sat 6 Jan 2018, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2018, 4:29 PM

Commissioned artworks by six UAE artists and celebrating national pastimes are attracting people to the Emirati Traditional Games Exhibition, which ends early this week at Al Qattara centre in Abu Dhabi.
Celebrating traditional heritage elements, the exhibition displays artwork inspired by the games Emirati children created to entertain themselves in the past. With time, these traditional games became a crucial aspect of the heritage of the country.
Launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the exhibition highlights six of the most popular local games: Al Teela, Habil Al Zaibal, Al Dusays, Al Zubout, Al Karabi and Al Miryhana.
Several artists have each selected one game and adapted a work that merged their unique technical skills with the traditional themes of the games.
Saudi artist, Ayman Zedani, presents an artwork inspired by Al Teela. Al Teela refers to a small glass ball, and one of the popular traditional games. This game is considered to be one of the most collective games popular among boys.
Pakistani jewellery and accessories designer, Areeb Masood, presents an artwork on Habil Al Zaibal, who is also one of the collective dynamic and vocal games distinguished for its diversified performance. This game consists of a rope of two or three metres long, tied around a board fastened and mounted on the ground or fixed to a large pebble.
Roudha Al Shamsi presents an artwork on Al Dusays, which means hiding or disappearing, as the Arabic verb indass means hide. This hide-and-seek game is played by three or five players, and sometimes the number of players reaches 20.
Emirati artist, Ayesha Al Mheiri, presents an artwork on Al Zubout. Al Zubout or whirlpool is one of the popular collective games, which consists of a conical piece of wood that pivots on an iron tip from the bottom, as well as a thread that ties one of its ends to a small piece of wood that allows connecting the thread between the player's pinkie and ring finger during the game. The purpose of the game is to spin and weave the longest Zubout or remove any other one.
UAE-based Irish artist Michael Rice presents an artwork on Al Karabi, a collective game where the team has an important role in the process of cheering, encouragement and participation. This game depends on the player's ability and skill to maintain balance.
The artwork of Miryhana presented by Emirati interior designer Maryam Al Suwaidi, is one of the oldest and most popular games among women and girls, which involves movement and lyrical sounds. Al Miryhana is usually played during the days of Eid in the afternoons. In days of yore, women used to play this game in the time before noon prayer, after they finished preparing lunch.

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