Still from a video of artist Malak Al Ajou painting a portrait of a poet as part of the Al Ain Book Festival events at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Artistic and cultural events, including sculpture, painting and ceramics, have been captivating visitors to the week-long Al Ain Book Festival 2023, which concludes on Saturday night.

Participants in the exhibition are showcasing their individual artistic skill in multimedia materials within traditional themes inspired by the shape of the Al Jahili Fort in the city of Al Ain, celebrating the local heritage and creating a link between Emirati history and women’s role in society.

The Fort is symbolic of not only the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, but also of renowned poets who helped to keep Nabati poetry alive – an ancient and increasingly popular form of Arabic poetry.

Outlet for expression

Among the influential artists is Malak Al Ajou, a Jordanian born in 1992, who currently lives in Al Ain. She works as an architect with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, focusing on Heritage Documentation.

For her, art is an outlet for expression, derived from personal experiences, revolving about being an Arab woman. Al Ajou previously took part in various local exhibitions. Representing a need to communicate, she chooses to work with are traditional oil paint and pencils which form a base to achieve a range of expressions.

Al Ajou is showcasing artworks using oil painting of portraits. She painted many poets such as Kamidish bin Noman Al-Kaabi, the poet of Melodies of Eternity; Awad bin Al-Saba Al-Kutbi, and Matlaa Alshams, as part of the Al Ain Book Festival, who read their poems on stage, representing the beauty of Emirati heritage on one hand.