Dubai: The Sikka Art Fair 2019, which just opened at the Al Fahidi Historical neighbourhood, is for the first time offering two distinctive but intertwined experiences: Sikka by Day, celebrating Al Fahidi tenants, the neighbourhood and their art exhibitions and installations; and Sikka by Night where multiple cultural activations will be hosted.

The neighbourhood is welcoming its visitors — as of 11am — to its streets to explore the spectacular Sikka exhibitions and enjoy a selection of evening activities that will spread the joy of the place with spectacular visual and audio performances until late hours of the day.

This year’s edition, which runs till March 24, is being held under the patronage of Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors at Dubai Culture. The fair organised by Dubai Culture celebrates the emirate’s growing creative and cultural scene through a rich array of unique cultural and artistic activities including outdoor art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions, and performing arts.

Saeed Al Naboudah, Acting Director General at Dubai Culture, said: “In recognition of the multiculturalism of Dubai and its respect for all faiths and cultures, the fair will emphasise tolerance. Therefore, we chose the title ‘An Open Window to Art and Tolerance’ to celebrate the ‘Year of Tolerance’ initiative, emphasising cultural diversity, harmony, and a strong community fabric in the UAE. The exhibition will achieve many other goals, chief of which is the sponsorship of UAE and regional artists, offering them the perfect opportunity to showcase their works to a wide local and international audience in Dubai. We will also hold many specialised workshops for the artists under the supervision of experts in various fields to achieve our mission to create opportunities for novice artists and to embrace and encourage talent by providing them with the ideal platform to hone their skills.”

Walid Ahmad, Head of Dubai Art Season, said, “Young artists will seek to embody the message of the exhibition through their artistic work that encourages participation, invites others to meet on the same path, and integrate in an environment that supports dialogue and coexistence. We will provide visitors with a fun and enjoyable experience for all age groups as part of their visit to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to discover many of its landmarks, such as the historical designs of the old buildings and houses, and art galleries. Visitors can enjoy delicious local meals offered by kiosks scattered throughout the neighbourhood, and participate in workshops and discussions as well as enjoy a selection of evening activities that will spread the joy of the place with spectacular visual and audio presentations until 8pm.”

Exhibition participants include new local names like Shough Fardan, Fatma Abdullah, Noura Al Neyadi, and Rasha Al Saffarini — and a number of artists who had participated in previous editions — Shaikha Al Awadi, Ameehna Al Jarman, Jaber Al Haddad, and Ahmad Al Enazi among others. The new edition will attract a total of 23 Emirati artists — whose works will be of particular interest because they will provide an in-depth look at the emirate’s art scene — representing 48 per cent of the 48 participating artists from around the world.

This year, Sikka Art Fair is presenting special projects, including ‘UAE at the Crossroads’ by Zayed University students, curated by Sabrina De Turk. There will also be a number of installations.

How to get there

Visitors can reach the venue by taking public buses through Al Fahidi Bus Station, the Metro through Al Fahidi Metro Station, Careem, or even by abra for as little as Dh1 per trip. Dubai Culture has partnered with Careem to provide Sikka’s visitors with a special 30 per cent discount on two rides when they book a taxi using the code SIKKA2019. The code is valid till March 26 for ‘now’ and ‘later’ bookings across all car types excluding GO, UNCHR and BOX, with a maximum discount of Dh30 per ride. Valet parking is also provided at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood on a first-come-first-serve basis.