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Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) participated in the 2022 Smithsonian Folklife Festival that was held at the National Mall in Washington from 22 June to 4 July under the theme ‘United Arab Emirates: Living Landscape | Living Memory.’ The Authority took visitors on an innovative journey to explore the emirate’s heritage, traditions and history.

This festival is one of the world’s most prominent artistic and cultural events and is organised annually in Washington. After suspending its activities for two years, this year’s festival hosted the UAE, with the full support of the Ministry of Culture and Youth and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the UAE Embassy in the United States of America. Witnessing the participation of 80 artists from the UAE, the festival celebrated Emirati heritage, identity and cultural, artistic and creative achievements, highlighting the UAE’s hosting of many prestigious cultural events that bring the intellectual world together.

Dubai Culture’s participation included a presentation of traditional Emirati sailing boats from its collections, in addition to a group of heritage collectables that were loaned from Al Shindagha Museum, as well as collections related to the culture of the sea, such as marine navigation and pearl diving tools. In addition, to the collections on display, lectures were organised with experts who highlighted the rich culture of the sea within Emirati heritage. It also provided visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the creation of the Al-Durour map, which was a reference for forecasting weather conditions based on the locations of the stars, and highlighted the emirate’s efforts to preserve Emirati cultural heritage across generations.

Mariam Al-Tamimi, Manager of Al Shindagha Neighbourhood and Acting Director of Heritage Sites Department at Dubai Culture, affirmed that the Authority is keen to celebrate Emirati culture and heritage and spares no effort to spread Dubai’s cultural heritage around the world, enhancing the emirate’s cultural footprint in international forums and consolidating its position as a global centre for culture.

Al-Tamimi added: “Dubai is a vibrant city that provides its residents and visitors with unique experiences to learn about its distinctive heritage and historical origins. Participation in this festival was an opportunity to promote Al Shindagha Museum as a major cultural attraction in the emirate, contributing to revitalising the museum’s cultural tourism. This came within the framework of the collaboration between Al Shindagha Museum and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which stems from the Authority’s belief in the importance of intercultural cooperation and building strong international partnerships that contribute to supporting the creative economy and its contribution to the national economy.”

Al Shindagha Museum is Dubai’s largest heritage museum, taking visitors on a journey to explore the rich cultural heritage of the UAE and the social and economic life in this region through a group of historical houses showcasing content ranging in topics from the heritage of perfume making to the culture of the sea. A dedicated pavilion is also available for children, taking them through an interactive journey of play and discovery.

Dubai Culture is the government entity entrusted with preserving and disseminating Dubai’s rich heritage, nurturing creative talent, supporting cultural diversity in the emirate, and enhancing Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. Dubai Culture’s vision stems from its strategic roadmap, which aligns with the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy that aims to transform Dubai into the global capital of the creative economy.

Source: Cicero and Bernay

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