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Eye of Riyadh
Culture & Education | Saturday 25 February, 2023 1:52 pm |

Sikka House and Khaleeji House open doors to heritage stories

Showcasing artwork that recalls the past at Sikka Art & Design Festival

• Salmah Almansoori presents ‘Unfolding’ and Hamda Al Falahi an Arabic poetry inspired thoub line.

• The ‘My Lady’ collection celebrates gemstones, and FLOWERLAB florally decorates Sikka House.

• ‘Thekraytna: Down Memory Lane’ is a three GCC artist exhibition that lights up Khaleeji House.


The 11th edition of Sikka Art and Design Festival, running until 5 March in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, is providing a platform for creative visions and artistic installations. Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has filled Sikka House and Khaleeji House with inspiring and elegant artwork influenced by the local and regional heritage, thus reflecting the richness and diversity of the arts sector, and the remarkable cultural and artistic movement Dubai is witnessing.

With innovative ideas and designs, the artworks presented within Sikka House highlight the creativity of Emirati artists, including designer Omar Al Najjar, founder of Velini, who used Sikka as an umbrella to express his love for watches, as his Crosshair collection depicts his passion for interesting watch design. The artwork 'They Write Stories About Places Like These' gave artist Sarah Al Saman the opportunity to express her vision of adventure in all its forms, whether place, book, or even a song.

Through the artwork 'Unfolding', Salmah Almansoori studies her relationship and feelings for her hometown, Ghayathi, located in western Abu Dhabi, believing that the fabrics within it fold, hold and hide the space's intimacy, identity, and history; reflecting on these places' physicality by intuitively adding colours, driven by memories, emotions, and experiences. Elsewhere, Hamda Al Falahi excelled in embroidered Talli, to produce her work 'so.la.ay,' an experimental thoub line inspired by Arabic poetry and curated by ashadasmal.

Designer Mayed Abdullah also showcases his passion for fashion design through his artwork 'constructions site', mixing classic pieces with street fashion influenced by two-dimensional geometric shapes and connected lines. Artist Amna Albanna restores nostalgia of the 90s to the modern-day trends via her work 'BRX Fabrics', while Ayesha Hader, confirms that art is a form of togetherness through her work 'Portable Installations,' a series of handbags made from a wide array of materials, including brass, carpets, acrylic, and silver.

Jewelry design also shows itself in Sikka House, where Misk Jewellery, through its 'Heritage Collection,' re-imagines the region’s heritage with contemporary jewels, balancing the gemstones with 18 karat gold, while Naraya Jewellery reveals its latest designs, represented by the innovative 'My Lady' collection, to celebrate the beauty and magic of gemstones, and the story they tell through their remarkable characteristics.

Artists Ayesha Ahmed Almarar and Marie-Clarie Bakker present a collborative 3D artwork titled 'Maryat Um Hilal - Before It’s Forgotten,' a necklace made of golden beads, and a crescent moon inlaid with pearls and rubies. Through it, they aim to highlight the importance of documenting and preserving traditional jewelry, with the aim of creating the 'Before It's Forgotten' campaign in the UAE.

FLOWERLAB have decorated Sikka House with a natural floral installation using gypsophila flowers that are known by their light colours. The installation relies on silver and gold to give modernity and artistic taste to the whole installation.

The artwork at Khaleeji House in the festival, which falls under the umbrella of the Dubai Art Season, invites visitors to explore the nostalgia, like in the group exhibition 'Thekraytna: Down Memory Lane.' With its rich visual artwork, the house showcases 3 artists from the UAE, Bahrain and Oman, respectively. In her installation ‘Nostalgia,’ Omani artist Hamda Salem sheds light on old homes and childhood memories, while Emirati Hamdan Al Shamsi produces his work ‘Untitled,’ exploring nostalgia through the mixed media collage pieces of glitched family album photos to provide a sensory experience through items such as cassette tapes, radios and old magazines. Bahraini artist Yara Ayoub’s installation 'Wa Traimboh' is a modification of the pronunciation of English words (white rainbow), in which she recalls pre- wedding ceremony rituals in Bahraini culture.

Sikka Art & Design Festival, which will run until 5 March, is a comprehensive annual initiative organised by Dubai Culture to celebrate the emirate's creative and cultural scene. The festival represents an innovative platform that supports artists of all disciplines, in line with the authority's commitment to creating a sustainable creative and artistic ecosystem capable of empowering creative talent and refining their skills. 

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