Abu Dhabi: A series of artistic and cultural events, including sculpture, painting and ceramics, are on the agenda for the Al Ain Book Festival 2022, which began yesterday and will continue until November 20 at Al Ain Square – Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium. The festival is being organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
Participants in the exhibition are showcasing their individual skills and their views on life through art. A variety of multimedia materials have been included to ensure that the paintings are as meaningful as possible and to emphasise layers within the artwork. Six influential and inspiring artists from the region and the world are participating in the fest. They include Dr. Abeer Issa, Ali Al-Jabri, Bassam Kyrillos, Mohamed Youssef, Wael Hilal and Ali Mualla.
Artists at the festival are working with a wide range of materials and are adopting a variety of sculpture styles. Dr Issa from Egypt, who specialises in ceramic sculpture, has a masterpiece on display at the fest. By sculpting a face with traditional features on a base inspired by the shape of the Al Jahili Fort in the city of Al Ain, she celebrates the local heritage and creates a link between Emirati history and women’s role in society.
Meanwhile, Syrian artist Wael Hilal is showcasing artworks from three schools of sculpture: Arabic calligraphy, calligraphy and modern abstract art. Hilal said that the symbols are derived from a saying by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE: “There is no place in the future for those who lack knowledge.”
Syrian artist Ali Mualla uses wood and leather to express his artistic creativity through a valuable collection of artworks in which he depicts figures using natural leather to create face masks that convey ideas and stories about each character’s history. As part of the Al Ain Book Festival, Mualla is displaying a group of wood and leather carvings that represent the beauty of Emirati heritage on one hand, and the future of the digital world on the other.
Throughout the week, highlight events include ‘Sung Poetry’, a beautifully curated series of daily poetry evenings at the Qasr Al Muwaiji (Muwaiji Palace); live music from around the world, theatrical performances, and a children’s programme including arts and crafts workshops, storytelling and competitions, all hosted in Al Ain Square. There will also be inspiring Arabic-language cultural seminars on topics such as ‘Female role models’ at Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa.
Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, earlier said: “The Al Ain Book Festival is a vital platform to celebrate the work of Emirati writers, intellectuals and innovators, and through this annual event the ALC seeks to nurture a culture of reading that is inherent to Emirati heritage and values. The reinvigorated festival programme is also an opportunity to promote a strong sense of community in young Emiratis and inspire the values of culture and creativity that are integral to the UAE. The festival aims to offer something for everyone and highlights Abu Dhabi’s leading position in producing major cultural events at the highest regional and international standards.”
Under the slogan ‘All Eyes on Al Ain’, the 13th edition of the event will shine a new light on Al Ain’s rich cultural heritage. Home to the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Al Ain is not only the birthplace of 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. The Festival celebrates their work while also reviving legendary characters from Arabic folktales for a new generation through interactive installations.