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12th Sikka Art & Design Festival closes Dubai Art Season with record-breaking attendance

12th Sikka Art & Design Festival closes Dubai Art Season with record-breaking attendance

Tuesday, March 19, 2024/ Editor -  

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Dubai, UAE, 19 March 2024: The 12th Sikka Art & Design Festival, 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, marked a significant milestone with record-breaking attendance, underscoring its pivotal role in the local and regional art scene and reaffirming its significance in enriching the cultural and artistic landscape of the emirate. Dubai Culture proudly announced that the event, held under the umbrella of the Dubai Art Season, attracted over 162,000 visitors who immersed themselves in various artworks and masterpieces showcased across the houses within Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood. Additionally, attendees actively participated in artistic performances, entertainment shows, workshops, and engaging discussion sessions throughout the 10-day festival.

Fatma AlHelo, Project Manager of the Sikka Art & Design Festival, emphasised the event’s integral role within the local art scene. She commended the success of this edition, noting its significant impact and attractiveness within the artistic community, saying: “Sikka has effectively enriched the Emirati, GCC, and international cultural and artistic landscape, elevating public appreciation through unique cultural experiences and high-quality artworks. It plays an integral role in providing opportunities for established and emerging artists to showcase their creativity, thereby supporting and promoting Dubai’s cultural and creative industries.” AlHelo also extended her gratitude for the invaluable contribution of volunteers to the festival’s success, underscoring the Authority’s commitment to youth involvement and development in cultural and artistic fields.

This year’s edition featured the participation of over 500 artists from the UAE, GCC, and the world, presenting approximately 300 artworks showcased across 14 houses. Each venue exhibited diverse artistic expressions, including distinctive installations, digital works, sculptures, and interactive spaces, all inspired by the festival’s theme, ‘New Creativity, Same Path.’ Additionally, eight murals adorned the Al Shindagha Historic Heighbourhood walls, characterised by their unique concepts, styles, and ability to capture the essence of Dubai’s culture, heritage, and traditions. Notable murals included ‘The Door to Pearls’ by Emirati artist Duha Al Hallami, ‘Joy Step’ by artist Maryam Rashid AlKaitoob, and ‘The Old Dubai’ mural by designers Amna Mohammed Al Saleh, Hessa Naser Sulaiman, and Lutfi Alkhanji.

The festival also presented a diverse array of 10 installations, each reflecting unique cultural experiences and contributing to the strength of Dubai’s Public Art strategy, including ‘Shera’a’ by artist AlZaina Lootah, which drew inspiration from the creek’s rich commercial heritage and Dubai’s adaptability to change; ‘Hues of Trade’ by artist Abdalla Almulla, through which he expressed the vibrancy of trade in the city; ‘Sheryan Al Hayat’ by Dr Afra Atiq; and ‘The Sea of Floating Dreams’ by Chinese artist Gary Young and Enforce one.

Sikka Speaks

Furthermore, the ‘Sikka Talks’ corner hosted more than 20 engaging discussions and sessions with prominent creatives, delving into global trends within the art sector. Additionally, the festival featured a diverse lineup of music performances and entertainment activities, showcasing over 70 musicians from the UAE, MENA region, and beyond. Notable artists included Hazza, Mahdi Ahmed, Emirati singer and composer Qusai Al Mamari, qanun player Khaled Bin Khadem, Bulgarian guitarist Lidia Stankulova, artist Noor Al Aridi, violinist Snezana Ivkovic, and musician Kamal Musallam. The festival’s theatre also welcomed performances by the Italian ‘Fontane di Roma Youth Orchestra’ as part of its world tour.

Approximately 290 workshops also took place during Sikka, drawing in over 5,000 participants and led by experts and specialists from 48 centres and institutions across nine locations. This year, Dubai Culture introduced the ‘Culinary House’ to underscore the significance of culinary art and its global impact, granting visitors the opportunity to explore around 35 homegrown F&B concepts, presented in collaboration with various brands, along with nine distinctive supper clubs. The house also hosted 16 specialised cooking workshops led by 10 trainers and witnessed the participation of 430 individuals.

Diverse Designs

During the festival, Dubai Culture provided a generous platform for over 50 Emirati and UAE-based designers to showcase their innovative works and products deeply rooted in local heritage. Among these talented individuals, Dubai-based artist Ahmed Mathil skilfully transformed traditional proverbs into captivating printed artworks, while Meera Jassim, drawing inspiration from intricate henna designs, showcased products that celebrate the cultural significance of palm trees in the UAE, symbolising hospitality and sustainability.

Hessa Alghandi, under her brand ‘Hessa Archive,’ presented a diverse array of designs inspired by cherished memories and narratives from the Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood; Jassim Alnaqbi unveiled an innovative series blending the elegance of Kufic script with the traditional architecture that defined Dubai’s past.; Maryam Alfalasi paid homage to maritime culture through modern interpretations; the brand ‘Ahlan W Sahlan’ wowed attendees with contemporary designs inspired by historical doors through their ‘Beban’ stickers; Sara Alkhayyal’s distinctive ‘Camel’ design offered a fresh perspective on this iconic symbol; and ‘InkByAmna’ showcased a series of wax seals, including the ‘Nakhla Stamp,’ ‘Watermelon Stamp,’ and ‘Shell Stamp,’ invited visitors on a journey into the realm of artistic expression.



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