All for a brush with creativity
Al Bastakiya is an arty, local heritage hub and SIKKA adds to its charm
My favourite haunts in town are the alleyways and courtyards of Al Fahidi's historic neighbourhood. You may know the area as Al Bastakiya. Until recently, it was not among the must-see spots for tourists, but I consider it so and make sure I take my friends there. Of course, a bit of coaxing is always needed, but once there, they enjoy the place and click photographs at every corner.
Today, it's a different story all together, courtesy, SIKKA. But I'll come to that later. For now, let's take a little tour.
So, which are my favourite spots in this local, heritage hub? I love spending time at the Coffee Museum, each time equally intrigued about the coffee grown in various regions; the difference in colour, texture and smell. My guests particularly enjoy sitting down for a cup of Ethiopian coffee prepared by the lovely lady at the museum. Guests are allowed to use the laptop and I can't ask for more. What else does a writer need other than some calm and some good coffee?
A calligraphy artist in the vicinity will write your name or any word you please in Arabic. He will then happily sprinkle some glitter on it for you to take home for keeps. As you walk around, don't forget to take a peep into the rooms and watch the artists at work - from recycled arts to digital prints - you'll be inundated with inspiration.
The hub comes alive in winter and during SIKKA which happens towards the end of winter. Yes, March could be a tad bit away, but the excitement is already in the air. A couple of weeks ago, Dubai Culture & Arts invited emerging Emirati, GCC and other UAE-based artists to apply to the 10th Edition of the SIKKA Art Festival. This time, the festival is welcoming artists across a wider spectrum - visual arts, performing arts, music and film. So, whether you are a spoken word performer, a stand-up comedian, an actor or a painter, it's time to give wings to your dreams.
My first visit to SIKKA was in 2014 and I have not stopped since. The outdoors are lit up with fairy lights, lending a festive feel and the trees around serve as platforms for installations. Indoors, creativity buzzes - a room full of cause-centric works with plastic bottles as a muse, a wall adorned with art on skateboards and more. We plonk ourselves on the bean bags to watch a bunch of actors stage a set of plays, walk up to the verandas and the rooftops to admire the activations, and chat up with the artists who are happy to share their journey. It's a busy place with a puppetry session in one corner and a range of free-to-attend adult and children's workshops in another.
This year, the fair promises to be larger, more colourful and inspirational. Are you excited for a brush with creativity? Well, we are. What's more, SIKKA isn't your artsy-fancy outing. You don't have to dress up to be here. Just be yourself, for SIKKA is all about individuality.