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Dubai Culture concludes Sikka Art & Design Festival 2022 activities with unprecedented success

06 Apr, 2022

• This year, the festival witnessed a record 80,000 attendees and featured 1,269 artworks and 75 workshops.
• 10 days of exceptional creative experiences and celebrations of all art forms.
• The 11th edition of the festival will be held from 24 February - 5 March 2023.
• The distinguished participation of Emarati artist Arqam Al Abri on the closing day of the festival.


Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) concluded the 10th edition of Sikka Art and Design Festival with remarkable success. The festival was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Member of the Dubai Council, in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood from 15 – 24 March under the umbrella of Dubai Art Season 2022 and as part of the ‘Dubai Destinations - Dubai Art Season’ campaign launched under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council.

This year’s edition achieved unprecedented success, most prominent of which was the festival’s attraction of over 80,000 visitors over its 10 days, bringing together art enthusiasts from different cultures and nationalities under the theme ‘Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth’ in commemoration of the accomplishments achieved across the previous nine editions of the festival.

Speaking of the festival’s journey, Dr. Saeed Mubarak Kharbash, Executive Director of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “We are proud of what Sikka Art and Design Festival was able to achieve this year. We proceeded with our mission to provide platforms for local, regional and global talents to help them thrive and grow. The aim is to strengthen the cultural industries in the emirate and consolidate its position as a global capital of the creative economy, in line with the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy. We lived 10 days of exceptional creative experiences and art celebrations of all kinds. Everyone was invited to participate in wonderful evenings filled with all genres of music, films, workshops, and fun activities that spread joy in the city. We witnessed innovative ideas that inspired optimism and hope and enjoyed the creativity of the wonderful artists we had the honour of welcoming this year.”

Noor Khalfan AlRoumi, Sikka Art & Design Festival 2022 Project Manager said: “We are grateful to all those who participated in the festival’s success, without whom the event would not have been possible, whether from creative artists or educational and cultural institutions in the UAE, who enriched the festival with their participation. We also thank our volunteers, whom we count on every year to run a festival of this magnitude.”

AlRoumi added: “We also thank our audience that accompanied us in this major artistic event, contributing to the success of the festival. Last but not least, a big thank you goes out to the Dubai Culture team that works year-round to make the festival stand out and establish itself as a global destination for arts and design. We look forward to a new, more impressive edition next year that will further spread creativity in the emirate starting 24 Feb 2023. We also look forward to working with our young talents throughout the year to help them progress towards broader horizons of success and prosperity.”

Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022 showcased 1,269 artworks and hosted over 250 artists who attended physically and virtually and 57 workshops and 70 performances. The festival also witnessed a remarkable participation rate, with 734 participants in the various sessions and workshops, and the attendance of 79 Emirati artists (making up 50% of the total roster) in addition to 34 Arab and 45 UAE- and GCC-based artists.

The festival was supported by a team of volunteers who assisted with its activities and carried out many organisational tasks. They also excelled at welcoming visitors and answering their enquiries regarding the locations of the events and activities.

The festival presented a rich program of performances, most notably on the closing day, which witnessed the participation of rising Emirati artist Arqam Al-Abri who performed a number of his songs, nicluding ‘Al Tareeq ila Al-Nour’ (The Road to Light). Jordanian artist Hind Hamed was also present, performing her distinctive songs, most notably ‘A Prayer for Love.’ Both performances were well received and resulted in high engagement from the audience.

Al-Abri is renowned for his selection of soul music. His singing experience in mid-2019, resulting in recording five songs, the first of which was ‘Growth,’ which he released in October 2019.

Hind Hamed’s warm voice enabled her to present many creative and versatile singing works throughout her artistic career. She has launched two albums for kids and a cover-songs album, ‘Jawa,’ which includes the poem ‘Wallahi Ma Tala’t Shamson’; her single, ‘Bahar,’ highlights the state of refugees around the world.

The neighbourhood hosts many important cultural institutions and art galleries every year, offering special events and exhibitions in conjunction with Sikka Art and Design Festival. These institutions include the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding, Al Fahidi Centre for Arts and Culture, Akaas Visual Arts, Tashkeel, Bayt Al Kanhyar, Fatma Lootah Gallery, and XVA Gallery.

For the first time, this year’s edition witnessed its own house, Sikka House, which presented a unique virtual space and served as the Authority’s metaverse project developed in partnership with Arhead, a US start-up and a leading platform in the virtual world. The highly engineered digital space featured artworks by local and international artists, including Distressed Design, Nevine Meguid, Fatspatrol, Ronen Tanchum and others.

Three of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood’s houses were dedicated to emerging Emirati and UAE-based artists, showcasing artworks that reflect the festival’s theme. Also featured in this festival was the Khaleeji House, which presented an exhibition titled ‘Before Take Off,’ a group exhibition by the Khaleeji Art Museum, curated by Sumayyah Al Suwaidi and featuring five GCC-based artists and one art initiative.

This year Sikka alos highlighted a cinema and animation scene with a programme that included five nights of Arabic films, two nights dedicated for independent filmmakers (all presented by Locomotion Community Cinema), one night dedicated for local university student talents, and two nights of Arab shorts (Arab Shorts – Beirut Animated 5th edition) as well as a host of workshops and activities conducted by the Animation Chamber.

This year’s festival was also marked by the launch of Biennale.io (Biennale Metaverse 2022), a virtual art exhibition that brought together artists from the UAE and the GCC. Using the latest augmented and virtual reality technologies, the project showcased the participating artists’ work to art and culture audiences around the world.

The festival also hosted a number of workshops on new media, with varying topics that included augmented reality in art, virtual designs within virtual reality, NFTs, visual music creation, and interactive media programmes, among others. Over the course of its 10 days, the festival presented a programme of workshops in visual arts, design and new media curated by Art Dubai.

Sikka Art and Design Festival is the most prominent artistic and cultural initiative organised by Dubai Culture Under Dubai Art Season, which is also held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sikka 2022 was powered by du, the festival’s 5G telecommunications partner, whereby du employed this technology to provide high-speed internet in support of the new media projects included in the programme for this edition of the festival.


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