Dubai: From art exhibition and documentary film screening, to meditation, flea market as well as workshops on gardening, beekeeping and more, Alliance Francaise Dubai started a three-day eco-festival on its compound in Oud Metha on Friday to promote environmental protection.
Dubbed ‘together&now — Alliance for the Future’, the festival organised by the French language-learning and cultural centre is aimed at supporting eco-citizenship and ecological transition in the country, Melanie Martini-Mareel, Alliance Francaise’s Dubai director.
She said: “The festival seeks inspiration from the four corners of the world, but above all, focuses on exchanges around solutions related to food, energy, housing, collaborative economy and responsible consumption here in Dubai. With our special guests, we tackle the latest environmental issues and discuss new ways of living to help you take action at your level in favour of the ecological transition.”
“We’ve all heard about the issue of global climate change and loss of biodiversity. This has pushed us, as a language-learning and cultural centre, to do as much as we can to fight global warning. This can be simple things like recycling, composting and like a few months ago, we started our own beehive colony to have better pollination of our garden and surrounding environment,” Mareel told Gulf News.
Eco-conscious families, enthusiastic gardeners, environmental advocates of various ages and nationalities attended the event over the weekend.
Man vs Nature
One of the highlights of the ‘together&now’ event is an art exhibition titled ‘The World is Too Much with Us’. The title of the exhibition was taken from a poem by English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, who, at the end of the 19th century, had observed the growing disparity between Man and Nature.
The art exhibition was curated by Anna Seaman and featured six UAE-based women artists, namely Valentina Alexeevna, Stephanie Neville, Huma Shoaib, Soraya Sikander, Emma Skinner and Jennifer Stelco. The artists visualised the poem by Wordsworth by highlighting modern environmental issues such as climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation, marine life degradation, and others. They also used their artworks “to raise human consciousness and present a diverse message of sustainability.”
The ecofest, which will conclude on Sunday, also has 15 feature and medium-length films being screened at Alliance Francaise Dubai Theatre. One documentary movie titled ‘True Cost’ talks about the origins of the clothes we wear and poses a question about being ecological in our choice of clothes.
Another movie titled ‘Life is One’ by independent filmmaker Patrick Rouxel is dedicated to rainforest conservation and animal welfare. The film titled ‘A Quest for Meaning’ highlights meditation.
A two-day flea market opened on Friday, offering products that are environment-friendly. Workshops were also held on beekeeping, upcycling, biodynamics, zero waste, composting, creating recyclable wipes and transforming plastics into fashion accessories.
The eco-festival will end on Sunday with a discussion with the artists of the collective art exhibition and a talk on future energies in the Middle East.