Al Fahidi is one of Dubai's oldest neighbourhoods, home to many restored landmarks Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The alleyways of Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood will be transformed into an open art museum when Sikka Art and Design Festival will be held there from March 15 to 24.

The 10th edition of the festival is organised under the patronage Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council.

Announcing the programme for the latest edition of the festival, the authority said it will be held under the theme ‘Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth’, with a new visual identity inspired by a Sidr tree at Al Fahidi.

“This year’s edition, which marks the Festival’s 10th anniversary, is being held under its new umbrella, the Sikka Art and Design Platform, which seeks to support the professional growth journey of emerging creative talent,” it said.

Sikka is a flagship event of Dubai Art Season Image Credit: Supplied

Flagship event

The festival is a flagship event of Dubai Art Season (DAS), an annual artistic celebration organised by Dubai Culture in February and March to celebrate the emirate’s growing creative and cultural landscape. The Dubai Art Season brings together various creative events and activities in public places, as well as art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops, exhibitions, discussion sessions and performing arts.

The city’s arts sector has seen a new creative energy driven by intense investment and support for cultural development in the emirate. Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city has transformed itself into a global art and culture destination.

Supporting creatives

As part of its new direction, the Sikka Art and Design Festival aims to foster an integrated ecosystem that supports emerging creatives and provides a platform for them to embark on their journey to become professional artists. The artworks featured this year were chosen to create a compelling narrative about the festival’s journey over the past decade.

Hala Badri, director-general of Dubai Culture, said: “Through the Sikka Art and Design Festival, we seek to provide local and regional artists with unique opportunities to present their artworks to a large local and international audience in Dubai, under the supervision of experts. This reflects our mission to engage, inspire and encourage promising talent to achieve success, which in turn will further enhance Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, a thriving hub for talent and the global capital of the creative economy.”

Sidr Tree art installations

She added: “To highlight the creative vibrancy of one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, three artists, Shereen Shalhoub from Jordan, Evgenia Silvina from Russia and Paola Lopez from Mexico, were commissioned to create an artwork titled ‘Sikka Sidr Tree Art installations’ using existing sidr trees in Al Fahidi.”

Another view of Al Fahidi neighbourhood Image Credit: Supplied

‘Sikka House’ plus NFT

At the 10-day Festival, emerging Emirati and UAE-based artists will present artworks that interpret the theme of the event in uniquely creative ways. Three homes in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood have been designated for this purpose. The Festival will also feature an exhibition titled ‘NFT Space’, curated by Giuseppe Moscatello.

For the first time, Sikka will have its own house at the festival dedicated to introducing visitors to the idea behind converting Sikka ‘the festival’ to Sikka ‘the platform’. Various programmes will be organised to provide visitors a memorable experience.

‘Design and New Media House’

Another highlight is the ‘Design and New Media House’, which features an interactive installation by artist Jack B. Du that reflects the image of any person or object in front of it. Another artwork titled ‘Swalef By Modu’ by Emirati designer Omar Al Gurg, showcases an interactive space that recreates a traditional Emirati household in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

‘Khaleeji House’

Also featured at the Festival is the ‘Khaleeji House’ by the Khaleeji Art Museum. Curated by award-winning Emirati artist and curator Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, the House showcases the works of five GCC artists.

Package of creativity

Sikka Art and Design Festival will also host diverse design exhibitions and creative installations, most notably the ‘Back to Roots House’ by UAE-based Jewellers, which offers a self-guided journey through time, art and jewellery, in addition to murals by talented UAE and GCC-based artists including Saggaf Alhashemi, Gary Yong, Perry El-Ashmawi and Bahrain-based artist Huvil.

The Festival will also showcase unique installations at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood created by a group of artists, including Lebanese Karim Tamerji and Emirati Sarah Ahli.

Cinema and Animation

This year, a cinema and animation courtyard will be set up at the Festival, which will feature a line-up of film screenings by the Locomotion Community Cinema. Three days will be dedicated to home-grown talent from universities and independent filmmakers. The courtyard will also dedicate two days to Arab Shorts – Beirut Animated 5th edition and host workshops and activities conducted by the Animation Chamber.

Workshops, music and flavours

The 10-day festival will also feature workshops on visual arts, design and new media curated by Art Dubai, in addition to live music and authentic home-grown food concepts.

The festival will be open to visitors daily from 6pm to 11pm on weekdays, 2pm to 12am on Saturday, and 2pm to 11pm on Sunday.