UAE: 5 selfie spots pop up in Sharjah as Islamic art festival kicks off

The Sharjah Islamic Art Festival is set to run until January 21


SM Ayaz Zakir

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KT Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir
KT Photos: SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 2:46 PM

Looking to spice up your Instagram feed? Among hundreds of spots across the UAE, the House of Wisdom in Sharjah promises to captivate and enchant you with some new attractions.

As a part of the Sharjah Islamic Art Festival, this unique venue has become one of the hotspots for residents eager to snap selfies with incredible installations and creative masterpieces from artists around the globe.

The festival started on the 13th of December and will run until January 21.

The venue has emerged as a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and a canvas for artists worldwide to showcase their talents and imaginative creations.

Al Isharat

As you enter the campus on the venue, Al Isharaat greets you. It is a cool artwork by artist Aleksandra Olszewska from Poland. A big sculpture with lines and angles, it creates captivating patterns. The artist used steel mesh to create it, which makes it balanced and graceful, but there's more to it.

The shapes in the artwork represent the connection between things we can see and things we can't. It's like a reminder of how important shapes and patterns are in Arab culture. As the sun goes down, the artwork makes interesting shadows, sharing secrets and making us think about art, knowledge, and our feelings.

Aleksandra is based in Dubai and loves drawing inspiration from Arabic themes and the beautiful desert.

Power of one

The highlight of the festival is ‘Power of One’ — an installation by Choi + Shine Studio, based in the USA. It is an immersive artwork that takes viewers into a unique exploration of the human essence. The installation, comprised of suspended geometric lace forms over dark water, transforms the commonplace into the extraordinary.

As viewers engage with the installation, they actively become a part of it, symbolizing the recognition of one's power to cause change.

Artists Jin Choi and Thomas Shine bring their architectural expertise to create this meditative journey.

Mewa by ToyStudio

‘Mewa', created by UK-based Toystudio, is a pavilion made of wooden ribs and special panels with holes in them. It is constructed from a series of wooden CNC ribs that are oriented around a central point. The ribs are clad with mashrabiya-style panels, which are perforated with geometric patterns.

The circle is broken or incomplete as it represents the journey people go through in their lives to reach perfection and how in Islam, they believe that only god is perfect, therefore the incomplete circle highlights that we are not perfect.

The patterns on the panels are like those in mosques, connecting the pavilion to the theme of manifestations, representing divinity. It's a modern take on Islamic art and architecture. The pavilion's design creates cool shadows and protects it from the sun.

Mewa is a contemporary interpretation of Islamic art and architecture and is a thought-provoking and visually stunning installation that explores the concept of manifestations in Islamic art.

Dandelion project

Enter the enchanting world of the ‘Dandelion Project’ by Japanese artist Ryotaro Muramatsu. It is an initiative sowing seeds of connection and peace globally.

The project started in 2020, has reached over 50 cities — a global garden of hope through technology's positive touch. The artist wishes that the art connects people to peace throughout the world. Thanks to Muramatsu's clever use of technology, these wishes bloom into matching flowers, uniting us beyond online disagreements.

Muramatsuis, the founder of Naked, inc., brings a wealth of experience to his craft. A film director and professor, his creative endeavours span presentations, local revitalization, and traditional Japanese arts.

Manifestations of the soul

Kuwaiti artist Jassim Al Nasrallah may sound puzzling, talking about the unseen soul and its appearance. The artwork ‘Manifestations of the Soul’ is all about understanding oneself during worship.

The phrase in Arabic which translates to ‘And the soul shimmered in light, exuding a beauty akin to the moon' is written in a way that makes you ponder on its meaning. Jassim wants people to interact with the artwork, inviting them to think about their own souls and discover deep ideas within themselves.

Jassim is an expert in traditional Arabic calligraphy, adding a modern twist to Islamic arts. He learned calligraphy at a young age, and his work reflects a mix of tradition and contemporary spirit. He has designed the mural at the Kuwait Opera House.

He hopes to make Arabic calligraphy a part of global art and has contributed to significant projects, including the National Museum of Qatar.


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