The visitors look at the ceramic painting of late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The annual Korea Festival kicked off in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with a dazzling light show paying tribute to the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the friendship between the UAE and South Korea.

Held every year since 2013, the festival is organised by the Korean Cultural Centre and is aimed at promoting the culture of Korea in the UAE. This year’s festival will run until November 10.

“This year’s Korea Festival is specially organised to celebrate the Year of Zayed, and it will continue for almost a month. The Korea Festival is one of the most important events we host annually to enhance mutual understanding between the people from both countries,” said Park Kang-ho, South Korea’s ambassador to the UAE.

“I believe cultural exchange is the most important step to understand each other fully,” he added

The ambassador said that this year’s festival would feature a number of events such as the Year of Zayed Exhibition featuring both Emirati and Korean artists. Other events include musical and theatre performances, Korean cooking classes, and a Korea Happiness Festival.

“The UAE-Korea art exhibition will commemorate Shaikh Zayed and his legacy with artworks by the artists from both the UAE and Korea. Each artwork will present Shaikh Zayed and his achievements in its own creative way,” he said.

“There will be other events as well, such as the Korean traditional medicine seminar (October 18), UAE-Korea Friendship Taekwondo Championship (October 27), Korean speech contest (October 31), Korea Happiness Festival (November 1—3) and the Korean Film Festival (November 7—10),” he added.

“The festival has been becoming more popular each year, and more people are asking about the festival before we even announce it as people now know that it’s an annual event and they’re anticipating it each year,” the ambassador said, highlighting the festival’s growing popularity.

Korean artists

Korean artists involved with this year’s festival also spoke positively about being able to take part.

“When different cultures meet, it creates a great synergy. The UAE is a really good example of a country where so many different cultures coexist in peace and harmony,” said Kim Tae Un, one of the Korean artists involved with the Year of Zayed Exhibition.

“As a Korean I have also learned a lot about Emirati culture especially the late Shaikh Zayed. Learning about his life and what he did as a leader was really amazing. This is the power of culture which brings us all together,” he added.

Another Korean artist, Yangkura, said he believed events like the Korea Festival helped to connect different Asian countries.

“There is a long distance between the UAE and Korea, but we are both Asian countries and so we need to know more about each other.

“Festivals like this are a great way of building connections between one another, even after the festival ends a lot of relationships are built for the future,” he added.

Korea Festival 2018

When: October 17-November 10

Where: Abu Dhabi

Full schedule and locations: www.koreafestivaluae.com