Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), has inaugurated the seventh edition of SIKKA Art Fair 2017 – Dubai Culture’s flagship initiative under the Dubai Art Season umbrella. Also, present at the inauguration was Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness.

Running from the 11th to 21st March 2017 and based in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai, SIKKA Art Fair showcases GCC, Emirati and UAE-based artists via a range of exciting exhibitions, workshops, recitals and improvisational performances that take place across the city, with new initiatives for 2017 including ‘SIKKA Around the City’ and ‘SIKKA Art Bus.’

The inauguration witnessed an impressive level of participation from the public and the region’s cultural enthusiasts, and was attended by His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and Lubna Al Shamsi, Project Leader of Dubai Art Season and SIKKA Art Fair, who introduced the new initiatives being launched.

Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum commented: “This year’s edition of SIKKA Art Fair brings a new conversation to the public, as its borders transcend its base in Al Fahidi Historical District to engage with different neighbourhoods across Dubai, as well as adding different voices from the GCC to engage with the artworks of our Emirati and resident artists. With such an initiative, we look at how best to engage with the youths’ imagination, and inspire them to create and transcend the existing industry norms. With these experiences, we hope to trigger the urge to create and therefore contribute, which in itself is a platform to nurture happiness, tolerance and innovation.”

‘SIKKA Around the City’ is a city-wide initiative that will see neighbourhoods across Dubai coming to life with pop-up art activations, installations and landscape interventions. Locations like Al Quoz, Old Dubai alleyways and the Dubai Water Canal are among the areas that will be transformed. ‘SIKKA Around the City’ invites visitors to explore Dubai’s ‘open-air gallery’ and immerse themselves in the joy of art in unexpected places.

During her participation at the SIKKA 2017 inauguration, Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi – Minster of State for Happiness – emphasised the positive impact of culture and art on community happiness and well-being, and their power to unite people from all walks of life in a spirit of togetherness and positivity. The Minister also highlighted that rather than merely a belief, this philosophy has scientific grounding, with various studies confirming that culture and art are positive enhancers of human happiness and satisfaction.

Her Excellency Al Roumi added: “Culture and art fairs celebrate human civilisation, innovation and creativity, while also preserving UAE heritage for a future generation in line with the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness considers culture to be a cornerstone of UAE life, a driving force for community development, a mirror that reflects the sophistication of its members, and a driving force for innovation.”

Her Excellency Al Roumi also expressed her gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, for their commitment to spreading happiness and raising awareness of the positive values of culture and art through the Authority’s initiatives and events. Her Excellency particularly praised the focus of SIKKA Art Fair on happiness, as this year’s programme features dedicated happiness workshops for children and adults. These include a dedicated corner that will showcase artworks created by UAE school students and inspired by the logo of the National Happiness Programme, in an initiative that is aligned with the objectives of the programme.

The ‘SIKKA Art Bus’ initiative is also bringing art to new audiences, by taking to the road and offering hands-on art making experiences and workshops to children and adults in various communities. The program seeks to connect Dubai Culture’s arts education outreach with the overall program of SIKKA Art Fair, presenting existing and new audiences with workshops that will take place at various Dubai neighbourhoods during Dubai Art Season. This includes park activities and festivals held in locations such as Dubai Food Festival, Hatta, Al Quoz Pond Park, Zabeel Park and many more.

SIKKA 2017 introduces new happiness activities in line with the National Happiness Programme and the Dubai Plan 2021. Spreading joy across the city, the fair will stage a wide range of children’s workshops such as ‘Right Side Brain Activation Painting’, ‘Yoga for Kids’ and ‘Happiness Jar’, while adults will be invited to partake in ‘Blindfolded Art Therapy’, ‘Laughter Meditation’ and ‘Sound Healing Meditation with Singing Bowls’, among a myriad of other happiness inducing initiatives. The workshops will be hosted by experts and aim to promote contentment and well-being.

Taking every artistic medium under its wing, SIKKA 2017 offers visitors a diverse agenda of highlights across the visual and performing arts, music, film and literature. These include ‘Connect 42’, a pop-up exhibition based on the theme of ‘connection’ and showcasing installations from 25 talents; a collaboration between LOCO’MOTION Community Cinema and The Animation Chamber that will screen a diverse array of cultural films; and for the first time The Bahrain House, which will present the work of five Bahrani artists.

The fair has grown in scope and influence with every passing year, to become a global hub for creativity that attracts acclaimed regional and international artists. Notable 2017 participants include the UAE’s Rashid Al Mulla and Brazil’s Cosmic Boys, Brazilian street artist Tarsila Schubert, Dubai-based designer Miaser Al-Habori, street artist Mark Barretto and 3D graffiti artist Gary Yong, who will bring the fair to life with their distinct creative identities. Adding to the rich tapestry with their participation at the fair are Al Jalila Cultural Center for Children, Charicycles, Crossfit Utmost and Barbel Café, and the Authority’s own Creatopia.

Following the tour of the SIKKA Art Fair, Her Highness Sheikha Latifa held a private gathering attended by key industry specialists across the art and creative sectors, as well as some of the UAE’s Emirati and resident artists. Sheikha Latifa discussed with the attendees several issues of importance to the local art scene in Dubai, and the conversation touched on what is next in Dubai’s cultural evolution, opportunities for development within the existing infrastructure, and nurturing a healthy and competitive market within the creative industry.

During SIKKA Art Fair, the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity will stage an interactive showcase of childrens’ drawings as part of ‘Happiness in the Eyes of UAE Children’ initiative. This initiative will allow visitors to view selected art works created by students from schools across the UAE.

Welcoming the public from Sunday 11th March, Dubai Culture’s SIKKA Art Fair 2017 follows the hugely successful line-up of events featured in 2016, which garnered a remarkable turnout from residents and tourists alike. The seventh edition has attracted an unprecedented number of submissions, with over 150 artists and institutions eager to participate in the fair’s evolving program, and promises to offer the largest ever range of initiatives.

SIKKA Art Fair is aligned with the Dubai Plan 2021 and contributes to making this a city of happy, creative and empowered people who are proud of their cultural heritage, by nurturing and celebrating local talent, enhancing the community’s pride in its rising stars, promoting Emirati culture and building a heritage for future generations to call their own. For the first time, SIKKA Art Fair will have its own dedicated website, providing visitors with easy access to information about its diverse program and workshops.

The initiative complements the city-wide activation of cultural events that will take place during the fourth edition of Dubai Art Season, which runs throughout March and April 2017 and also takes places under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The two-month showcase of art and cultural events offers an unmatched celebration of creativity, innovation and culture, featuring Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai, and the Middle East Film and Comic Convention, among hundreds of initiatives.


About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority:

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realization of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season - the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair, Middle East Film & Comic Con, SIKKA Art Fair - an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre - an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next - a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (www.creatopia.ae) - the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts’ program is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 17 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture will officially launch Etihad Museum and in December 2016. The museum will provide platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), the museums will play a catalyst role in preserving Emirati Heritage.


Source: Cicero and Bernay