Dubai: Hundreds of thousands of exclusive handmade carpets from all over the world are gathered under one roof in one of Dubai Shopping Festival’s many attractions the Carpet and Art Oasis organised by Dubai Customs.
The 18th Carpet and Arts Oasis was opened on Wednesday by Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone at the Dubai World Trade Centre and will run until January 14, 2012.
The exhibition showcases more than 170,000 handmade carpets from countries that are thriving in the carpet weaving industries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and India.
“What distinguishes Dubai’s carpet exhibition from any other carpet exhibition in the world is that we managed to bring together handmade and exclusive carpets chosen from the most famous carpet producers in the world under one roof. This was not an easy task as handmade carpets take many years to complete,” said Abdul Rahman Essa, head of the Carpet and Arts Oasis organising committee. “The UAE has now become the third country in the world after America and Germany in importing and exporting carpets,” he added.
The Carpet and Arts Oasis plays a major role in stimulating the economic and trade movement this time of the year and attracts foreign investments from leading handmade carpet manufacturers worldwide. Carpet sales since its inception in 1996 have amounted about Dh1.5 billion and the average sales in the past 17 years was around Dh70-90 million.
“This year the exhibition is expected to match and exceed these numbers as the net worth of carpets available exceeds Dh1 billion. We also tried to diversify the price range of the carpets by introducing Afghani carpets that are good quality but are relatively cheaper than the Iranian carpets,” said Essa.
In celebration of the 18th event, a $3 million Iranian carpet measuring 500 square metres was displayed at the main entrance of the exhibition. The carpet consists of 160 million knots which took 11 years to complete and is the largest carpet at the exhibition.
The exhibition also features an initiative held under the patronage of Shaikha Hind Bint Maktoum Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, called ‘Naseej Al Walaa’ which means loyalty weaving in Arabic where 10,000 participants will participate in making a carpet portrait of the Ruler of Dubai.
“Two of the best Iranian weavers in the world who are specialised in portrait carpets will supervise the participant who together will make 1 million and 50 thousand knots. The portrait is the first of its kind in the world as it will have a high resolution, even the shiny glare in his highnesses eyes will show in the portrait,” said Dr Afshin Ghanbarinia Vice-Chairman of Heritage Carpets and organiser of the initiative.
— Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News