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Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022 showcases over 60 innovative performances

From 15 - 24 March, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) will be enriching the 10th edition of Sikka Art and Design Festival with over 60 performances, covering cinema, musical performances, various artistic activities and poetry nights. The aim is to provide film, music and art enthusiasts with an ideal opportunity to enjoy 10 days of carefully curated shows.

Under the theme ‘Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth,’ this year’s festival features a programme full of cinematic screenings, animations, performances and digital artworks, granting art enthusiasts access to global creations and Dubai’s community members. This contributes to promoting cultural tourism in the emirate and cementing its position as the preferred city to work, live and visit, in line with 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.

The festival opened with a Vietnamese folklore performance under the umbrella of Vietnam Night per the memorandum of understanding signed between the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for cultural cooperation encompassing antiquities, heritage, arts and libraries, as well as the support of cultural and creative industries and creative talents.

Augmented Reality

This year's edition of Sikka Art and Design Festival witnesses the addition of Sikka House that features artistic installations and interactive spaces designed by Arhead, which specialises in content supported by augmented reality technologies.

From a private room inside Sikka House, the exhibition allows visitors to explore its exhibits and enjoy the work of digital artists while touring the metaverse space. Arhead is also displaying six AR and NFT sculptures, including works by three Dubai-based artists: FATSPATROL, Nevine Meguid (Nectar Designs) and Christopher Hunt (Distressed Design), as well as rising stars such as Dries Schaballie (Belgium), Ronen Tantrum (Israel) and Yyy (Turkey). The AR exhibition covers the entire area Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, where visitors will be able to access it using QR codes.

Cinematic screenings

The cinema programme also includes 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.


Among the most prominent local Arab films participating in this edition of the festival is a screening of ‘Al Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the UAE,’ being screened on 22 March from 7 - 9:30 p.m. with the support of the Ministry of Education. The film is produced by the ‘Masterpieces’ programme students and directed by Nayla Al-Khaja, the first Emirati female director.

Other local films participating include a historical film titled ‘Khorfakkan’ on 15 March and ‘Kahlek Shanab’ on 16 March as well as a group of independent films on 17 and 23 March. The programme also includes a screening of a Japanese movie titled ‘The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness’ on 18 March and a Saudi movie titled ‘Roll ’em’ on 24 March.

Beirut Animated

This edition of Sikka Art and Design Festival also sees the participation of ‘Beirut Animated,’ which will present prominent animation films on 19 and 20 March curated by the Animation Chamber as part of the fifth edition of ‘Beirut Animated,’ a biennial animation festival organised by Metropolis Cinema Association. By showing feature film screenings and organising workshops and masterclasses, Beirut Animated aims to become the hub for a variety of animation disciplines in the region, providing educational opportunities for animators to showcase their work and to connect with content producers in the industry, furthering their training and exposing the region to the latest in the field from around the world and vice versa.

Puppetry with The Factory 

Among the distinguished artistic activities participating in Sikka 2022 is Puppetry with The Factory, an initiative by Palestinian puppet artist Fairouz Nustas. The Factory is a reflection of where and how puppets with different mediums are made. Visitors will discover how to make puppets, step by step, from sketches, carving, sewing costumes, colouring and makeup to the fun journey of manipulating and putting life into this creation. This working space allows visitors to experience this beautiful craft using tools, brushes and sewing machines as well as explore the style of shadow puppetry with light and shadow using different liquids and colours.

The Animation Chamber

The Animation Chamber is a collective work by artists Lina Younes and Azim Al Ghussein. It embodies the constant quest for story-centered collaborations and present a space where worlds are created with one eye shut and the index finger as a wand. From puppetry, animation, illustration, and comics to film and performance, the work of The Animation Chamber is about suspending moments, replaying them, changing scenarios, playing out consequences, and then repeating. Impossible things happen in an instant; objects vanish, come to life, and are set off again in motion.

Digital Calligraffiti 

Through the ‘Digital Calligraffiti’ project, digital calligraphy will transform the walls of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood into a painting for expression through a live display of calligraphy.

This street-style-inspired performance brings together digital calligraphy artists Michael Ang and Fatima Al Hammadi, video artist Tegan Ritz McDuffie, and hip-hop artist Soultrotter (Philip Rachid) to form a new media fusion of calligraphy, graffiti, video art, and live beats. Digital Calligraffiti was initiated in Berlin by Public Art Lab, Don Stone, Hamza Abu Ayyash, and Michael Ang.

The Hopper Majlis

The Hopper Majlis by Amal Anoohi is a place of gathering and togetherness. Contrasting the heritage of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood with the modern pieces of Studio Amal Anoohi’s Hopper Collection. The project captures the essence of Dubai’s urbanity today; a city of the future that takes pride in its past.

Musical performances

The festival also provides music enthusiasts with an ideal opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of live world-music performances that will permeate the festival’s evenings and entertain its visitors throughout the 10 days.

The distinctive musical experiences on the main stage of the festival will include Emirati songs, Arabic songs accompanied by oud and oriental-instrument performances, pop music, music with eastern and western influences, rap poetry, jazz, indie and Indian pop, poetry nights, and many other popular tunes by artists from various nationalities and cultures.

For more information and to learn about the activities of Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022, you can follow the festival’s official Instagram account @sikkaplatform or its official website for daily updates on its activities.


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