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01 March, 2024

Murals and Art Installations at Sikka Art and Design Festival... A captivating visual journey

Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood is currently aglow with the spirit of innovation and artistry, hosting the 12th Sikka Art and Design Festival. Celebrated under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council, this festival spotlights the creativity of over 500 artists from across the UAE, GCC, and the globe. Open until 3 March, the festival is a cornerstone of Dubai's cultural vision to establish itself as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.
In this year’s edition, held under the theme ‘New Creativity, Same Path’, the festival presents eight diverse murals that are distinguished by the uniqueness of their ideas and methods and their ability to express the pulse of Dubai and the fragrance of its heritage and traditions. This includes ‘The Door to Pearls’ mural by Emirati artist Duha Alhallami, which symbolises the gateway to appreciating the country's profound cultural roots, and the ‘Joy Step’ mural by Emirati artists Maryam Rashid Alkaitoob and Manal Bin Obood, who open eyes to moments filled with joy and happiness.
Titled ‘Fragile World’, Syrian Artist Noor Bahjat presents her mural raising awareness about life underwater, while Emirati artist Nawal Arjumand displays ‘Bloom into Spring’, inspired by the theme of the spring camp offered by Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children from 25 March to 5 April 2024; this mural is distinguished by its opportunity for festival visitors to participate in it by using the paint-by-numbers system.
Algerian artist Set created his mural 'Taster', in which he tells a story rooted in the past and presents a unique and detailed composition. Meanwhile, Egyptian Artist Rabab Tantawi and British Artist Fink 22, both enthusiasts of vibrant colours, have collaborated on 'Between the Lines'. Their joint work explores how communication among friends and family can be a source of support and hope. In the mural 'Beyond the Horizon', British artist Myne and Yours presents a fresh take on clouds as a natural element, while also reflecting on his evolving decade-long journey with the Sikka Art and Design Festival. Zayed University's College of Arts and Creative Enterprises is also participating with ‘The Old Dubai’, inspired by the traditional architecture that characterises Dubai, and the various cultural aspects it carries; the mural, which was completed under the supervision of Associate Professor Stefan Messam, bears the imprints of designers Amna Mohammed Al Saleh and Hessa Naser Sulaiman Lutfi Alkhanji.
Within the courtyards and alleyways of Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood, the festival is also showcasing 10 outdoor installations, some of which highlight the historical importance of Dubai Creek and its role in stimulating the commercial movement in the emirate. Emirati artist Alzaina Lootah unveils 'Shera'a', a piece capturing the dynamic trade spirit of Dubai Creek, highlighting the emirate's commercial legacy and its agility in embracing change. Similarly, Abdalla Almulla's dual installations 'Hues of Trade' vividly portray Dubai's bustling mercantile life, underscoring the Creek's historical significance.
Dr. Afra Atiq displays ‘Sheryan Al Hayat’, which represents an immersive experience prompted by a poem of the same name. Chinese Gary Yong and Malaysian Enforce One also express in their installation 'The Sea of Floating Dreams' the growth and development of Dubai related to the sea, and through it, they seek to raise the level of awareness among society of the importance of preserving coral reefs, which are considered one of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth.
In contrast, the Emirati pair Hamad Almutawa and Rashed Almulla's 'Nesma' is an innovative outdoor architectural concept that rejuvenates Emirati outdoor living areas with the classic breeze block design, offering both aesthetic value and practicality. Maha Almazrouei's 'Going for a Walk' invites visitors to wander through a vivid palm tree landscape. Lina Kassicieh's 'Milky Way Totem' honours the storied totem pole art of North American indigenous cultures. Emirati Roudhah Almazrouei's 'Reverie' weaves the UAE's cultural tapestry, celebrating traditional goldsmithing and its emblematic role in Emirati heritage, connecting bygone eras to today and beyond.