The second edition of Ramadaniyyat at NYUAD will feature well-known personalities over its three-day programme. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is hosting its second edition of Ramadaniyyat, which kicks off on April 3 and runs for four days until April 6.

Ramadaniyyat will feature a diverse series of public events for Ramadan hosted jointly by NYUAD’s three public-facing institutions: The Arts Center, The Art Gallery and The Institute, under the theme of Al-Andalus.

“We look forward to coming together and reconnecting with our community and the wider public at NYUAD again this year for the Holy Month of Ramadan; it is not only a time for spiritual reflection and connection but also an opportunity to appreciate arts and the power of expression,” said Nadia El Cheikh, Vice Provost for Cultural and Research Engagement at NYUAD.

“This year’s theme, Al-Andalus, is a term used by historians to refer to the period when Muslim sovereigns ruled over parts of the Iberian Peninsula. The theme aims to share the remarkable story of a unique time in history when Muslims, Christians, and Jews forged a common cultural identity that frequently transcended their religious differences and encapsulates stories of a time when these three groups managed to sustain relationships that enabled them to coexist, collaborate, and flourish,” El Cheikh said.

The programme will feature a series of activities, kicking off with a talk at The Institute on April 3 around the interwoven relationship between poetry, philosophy, and music. Beginning with Andalusian poetry and classical music, poet Mahdi Mansour and musician Faraj Abyad will discuss with poet, critic, and media expert Barween Habib and delve deeper into contemporary poetry and music, exploring the profound impact the Andalusian Maqamat have had on modern Arabic poetry.

On April 4, The Arts Center will host a special edition of its contemporary Arab Cinema series, CinemaNa, with four short films by Emirati filmmakers, Eman Al Sayed with Hamam Zakiya, Sarra’a Al Shehhi with Small Dream, Shereen Abu Ouf with the documentary drama Hayya, and Abdulrahman Al Madani with The Monster. CinemaNa is a collaboration with NYUAD’s Film & New Media programme.

On April 5, The Arts Center will also present a world premiere of Andalusian Love Story, composed by Faraj Abyad. Andalusian Love Story is a mix of contemporary and classical poetry blended with classical Egyptian and Syrian sounds, based on a series of love letters written between Ibn Zaydun and Wallada Bint Al Mustakfi. The music performance will be followed by an interactive workshop on April 6 on how to set Arabic poetry to music using the Arabic Maqam and rhythm.

The Art Gallery will present a workshop, also on April 6, led by artist and curator Zuhoor Al Sayegh, who will explore natural healing processes passed down throughout generations, using plants and herbs often sold at Hakeem (Arabic for ‘wise’ and ‘healer’) spice shops that are ubiquitous in the UAE. Combining oral history, shared by participants, with books on Andalusian plant medicine from the NYUAD library, the group will be invited to document, imagine, write, and research recipes that can be relevant and accessible to us today.

A suhoor will be served nightly after the events throughout the programme for the NYUAD community and the general public.