More than 120,000 visitors in its eleventh edition
• There were 14 ‘Sikka Talks’ sessions and 35 ‘Bait Al Khazaf’ artist sculptures
• The festival's workshops attracted 600 visitors and ‘Little Sikka’ brought in 1,500 children
• Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children hosted 28 workshops
• 127 musicians dazzled the audiences, and 59 films were shown
• Fatima Al Helou: ‘Volunteers are the pulse of Sikka and Dubai Culture supports their participation and efforts’
Dubai, UAE, 18 March 2023: The Sikka Art and Design Festival, which is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Culture and Arts Authority in Dubai, and member of the Dubai Council, in its eleventh edition, can reflect on a number of new achievements and statistics that depict the vitality of Dubai's creative scene.
Dubai Culture has revealed that Sikka attracted more than 120,000 visitors, who came to see the work of 200+ creatives. Their output decorated the rooms and walls of the houses of Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood, and went hand in hand with dozens of workshops, talks, entertainment and musical performances.
Noor Khalfan Alroumi, project manager of Sikka Art and Design Festival, confirmed that the numbers achieved by the eleventh edition show the size of the festival's influence and strength and its position locally and regionally. She said, 'Sikka Art and Design has succeeded in becoming an essential part of the growing local cultural and artistic scene, thanks to its ability to give artists broad horizons that enable them to produce works and designs that highlight the richness of Dubai.”
Al Roumi added, 'The successes of the current edition of the festival reflect the vitality of the cultural movement in Dubai, which enhances its position as a supportive platform for Emirati and GCC emerging artists in the UAE.' She went on to suggest that Dubai's renewed spirit was on display, elevating the emirate's status as a preferred destination for living, working and entertainment.
Over 200 Emirati and resident creatives were showcased, in addition to three international artists and two from the GCC. They presented 500+ works of art to the visitors, distributed in six arenas and fourteen houses. Over the course of its ten days, the event opened itself to nine outdoor installations. Their presence reinforced the strength of the Dubai Public Art strategy aimed at transforming Dubai into an outdoor art museum.
The artwork ‘Threads of Time: Weaving’ drew attention, presented by Hamda Al Falahi and Reema Al Mheiri, as well as the works of the French Alexy Goguet and the Emirati artists Jassim Al Awadhi and Rawdha Al Ketbi.
Murals and Talli
Sikka displayed six murals inspired by the spirit of Dubai and its ancient heritage, including the mural ‘My Dubai’ by Abdullah Lutfi, ‘The Future is Here’ from the artist Badr Abbas, and ‘Ya labes el Tally’ by the Emirati Fatima Al Ali.
‘Talli House’ represented a quality addition to the eleventh edition, as it rejoiced at the UAE's success in registering the Talli craft on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage items, and included among its walls innovative works bearing the fingerprints of five Emirati practitioners. They were inspired by the Talli threads, while visitors were given, through the group exhibition organised by Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in the ‘Bait Al Khazaf’, the opportunity to explore masterpieces of ceramics and clay and their artistic uses, through a variety of sculptures presented by 35 artists.
This year, the festival launched the first initiative of its kind, ‘Sikka Talks’, which included 14 diverse discussions, presented by a group of artists and experts, who shed light on the local cultural scene and the directions of the arts sector globally. The larger interactive programme witnessed the presentation of more than 136 adult workshops, which attracted 600 visitors, while ‘Little Sikka’ programme included 100 workshops that brought the attention of over 1,500 children. Al Jalila Cultural Center for Children had 28 workshops for children supervised by specialists in the arts and crafts sector.
The festival witnessed the active participation of 13 tenants who took the houses of the historic neighborhood as their headquarters, including the Tashkeel Center, Akkas Center for Visual Arts, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding, the Architectural Heritage Society and others. Therein they showcased the creativity of elite artists from the UAE, the region and all over the world.
There were many musical and entertainment performances, cinematic and poetry evenings hosted by the ‘House 45’ rooms, in addition to the stage that raised its curtains in front of 127 performers, who dazzled the audience with their eclectic artistry. The festival screened 59 films, and presented 10 entertainment workshops.
We must highlight the role of the volunteers and their contributions to the success of the event. In this context, Fatima Al Helo, the team leader of volunteers at Sikka Art and Design, said: 'The volunteer team members played a vital role in the eleventh edition of the festival, through their efforts while guiding visitors and providing the facilities to ensure integrated artistic experiences, in addition to their participation in organising various activities and workshops throughout the period.” Al Helo noted Dubai Culture's keenness to involve young people in all cultural activities that it organises, from their commitment to developing capabilities, refining skills, and enhancing knowledge in the cultural and artistic sector.