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Artists and scientists take date development to new heights in UAE

Sustainability and invention important elements of the palm tree

Azza Al Qubaisi showcases a creation she fashioned out of date palm by-products
Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Azza Al Qubaisi showcases a creation she fashioned out of date palm by-products at the LiwaDate Festival. She collects the leftovers after the trees are cleaned at her father’s farm.
Gulf News

Western Region: Everyday objects which may seem common to the human eye, may be the source of inspiration to those with the right amount of passion and innovation.

Originally a jewellery maker, Azza Al Qubaisi, applied what she learned from her crafting skills and uses the remains of palm trees to create furniture and interior decorations.

She uses the leftovers of palm trees after their cleaning process which takes place at her father’s farm.

“What people may call ‘waste’ is raw material to me. The more etched the branch is, the more beautiful I find it,” said the Emirati artist.

While being the care-taker of the farm of which holds 600 date palms in Liwa, Azza has participated in the Liwa Date Festival since 2007.

“Although I live in Abu Dhabi, I was born in Liwa. This is why, I feel that the people of my home town have the right to see my work, before everyone else does,” she said.

By giving a modern look to products of nature which are often used in traditional means, Azza wishes that someday her work can be used in public locations.

“We have all these natural resources, very much like oil. Why import expensive wood, and other material from outside, when we could use all this material for a public service knowing that it is sturdy enough to withstand our changing weather conditions,” asked the 34 year-old.

Similarly, it is this innovation which has led to the production of two very rare dates within the UAE.

Eng Ahmad Ali Al Marzouqi usually spends the harvest season (two months) walking around in Emirati date palm farms seeking a stray date superior from its mother in colour, shape, taste and quality.

This can only be done at noon time, when inspection conditions are at their peak.

“Recently, I discovered the Al Humaidiya date, which His Highness Shaikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman has named after himself during the Liwa Date Festival in Al Ain,” Al Marzouqi told Gulf News.

The Al Mansouri date was duplicated in the UAE for the first time ever using plant tissue cultures which ensure that the date produces will be an exact copy of its mother.

“A farmer came to us seven years ago holding a date which he noticed was different from the others growing in his farm,” the Sales Manager at University for date palm trading said.

“After years of research at the United Arab Emirates University’s plant tissue culture laboratory, we have finally been able to reproduce a duplicate of the original,” he added.