Dubai’s Sikka Art and Design Festival seeks to support emerging creative talent

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The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has announced the program for this year’s Sikka Art and Design Festival, the flagship event of Dubai Art Season (DAS).

To be held from March 15 – 24, 2022, the festival will be organized under the theme ‘Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth,’ and will feature a series of unique creative events and activities at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, according to a report by Emirates News Agency (WAM).

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This year’s edition, which marks the Festival’s 10th anniversary, is being held under its new umbrella, the Sikka Art and Design Platform, which seeks to support the professional growth journey of emerging creative talent.

The Festival also features a new visual identity inspired by a sidr tree at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

The Dubai Art Season (DAS) is a comprehensive annual artistic celebration organized by Dubai Culture in February and March to celebrate the emirate’s growing creative and cultural landscape. The Dubai Art Season brings together various creative events and activities in public places, as well as art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops, exhibitions, discussion sessions and performing arts.

This year’s Sikka Art and Design Festival exemplifies the growing vibrance of Dubai’s artistic scene.

The city’s arts sector has seen a new creative energy driven by focused investment and support for cultural development in the emirate. The city has transformed itself into a global art and culture destination.

As part of its new direction, the Sikka Art and Design Festival aims to foster an integrated ecosystem that supports emerging creatives and provides a platform for them to embark on their journey to become professional artists.

The artworks featured this year were chosen to create a compelling narrative about the Festival’s journey over the past decade.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, said, “Through the Sikka Art and Design Festival, we seek to provide local and regional artists with unique opportunities to present their artworks to a large local and international audience in Dubai, under the supervision of experts. This reflects our mission to engage, inspire, and encourage promising talent to achieve success, which in turn will further enhance Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, a thriving hub for talent and the global capital of the creative economy.”

Badri said the concept behind the new visual identity of this year’s edition of Sikka stems from its most important element: people, as well as its community of tenants, artists, and visitors.

“As we mark the 10th anniversary of the Festival, we express our gratitude to all the people who contributed to making the Festival one of the most unique cultural events in the UAE and Dubai. This year, we celebrate the Festival’s growth over the last decade and the new generation of talented artists who embarked on their professional careers from a Sikka platform. To highlight the creative vibrancy of one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, three artists, Shereen Shalhoub from Jordan, Evgenia Silvina from Russia, and Paola Lopez from Mexico, were commissioned to create an artwork titled ‘Sikka Sidr Tree Art installations’ using existing sidr trees in Al Fahidi,” the Director General of Dubai Culture said.

“This year, visitors will be able to enjoy a diverse set of events featuring visual arts, theatre, music, film and singing that will see the participation of emerging talent from the UAE and GCC. We invite art enthusiasts to visit the Festival and explore a wide variety of artworks and designs,” Badri added.

At the 10-day Festival, emerging Emirati and UAE-based artists will present artworks that interpret the theme of the event in uniquely creative ways.

Three homes in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood have been designated for this purpose.

The Festival will also feature an exhibition titled ‘NFT Space,’ curated by Giuseppe Moscatello.

For the first time, Sikka will have its own house at the Festival dedicated to introducing visitors to the idea behind converting Sikka ‘the festival’ to Sikka ‘the platform.’

The alleyways of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood will be transformed into an open art museum. Various programs will be organised to provide visitors a memorable experience.

Another highlight is the ‘Design and New Media House’ which features an interactive installation by artist Jack B. Du that reflects the image of any person or object in front of it.

Another artwork titled ‘Swalef By Modu’ by Emirati designer Omar Al Gurg, showcases an interactive space that recreates a traditional Emirati household in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

Also featured at the Festival is the ‘Khaleeji House’ by the Khaleeji Art Museum. Curated by award-winning Emirati artist and curator Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, the House showcases the works of five GCC artists.

Sikka Art and Design Festival will also host diverse design exhibitions and creative installations, most notably the ‘Back to Roots House’ by UAE-based Jewellers, which offers a self-guided journey through time, art, and jewellery, in addition to murals by talented UAE and GCC-based artists including Saggaf Alhashemi, Gary Yong, Perry El-Ashmawi and Bahrain-based artist Huvil.
The Festival will also showcase unique installations at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood created by a group of artists, including Lebanese Karim Tamerji and Emirati Sarah Ahli.

This year, a cinema and animation courtyard will be set up at the Festival, which will feature a line-up of film screenings by the Locomotion Community Cinema. Three days will be dedicated to home-grown talent from universities and independent filmmakers. The courtyard will also dedicate two days to Arab Shorts – Beirut Animated 5th edition, and host workshops and activities conducted by the Animation Chamber.

The 10-day festival will also feature workshops on visual arts, design, and new media curated by Art Dubai, in addition to live music and authentic home-grown food concepts.

The Festival will be open to visitors daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.


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