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The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi launches November calendar of events

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced its November events calendar in Al Ain. The agenda aims to shed light on the UAE’s historical and cultural heritage by providing a rich experience that is inspired by Emirati customs and traditions.

DCT Abu Dhabi will be overseeing three main events, in addition to a series of interactive workshops offering visitors an opportunity to learn more about the most prominent industries and handicrafts, and narrating how the people of the UAE lived their lives in the past.

HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “By organising these events, we aim to celebrate the rich Emirati heritage embodied in traditional crafts, and the authenticity of social values that prevailed in past communities. By representing the important role that traditional industries, crafts and games played in enhancing the human connection within a single community, we are also seeking to emphasise the interdependence that people shared with their surrounding habitat. At DCT Abu Dhabi we believe that by continuing to host such events, we will be able to preserve and transfer some of these traditional crafts and industries to upcoming generations, giving them the privilege to experience even a small part of our ancestors’ creative mindset and artistry, and thus bridging cultural gaps between generations.”


The Traditional Handicrafts Festival


Running from 1 to 17 November, the 5th Traditional Handicrafts Festival will be launched at Al Qattara Arts Centre with a diverse showcase of traditional products and industries by craftsmen from all over the country.

The Festival seeks to introduce visitors to the UAE’s traditional heritage and the importance of protecting and developing these unique crafts, through showcasing local production as a key source of income and an integral part of Emirati heritage.  It will also provide an opportunity to learn how craftsmen have adapted to the available resources in the past and how they used them to efficiently meet their needs at the time, by narrating the stories and efforts of UAE craftspeople and what they have witnessed in their industry. Students will especially get a closer look on authentic Emirati crafts, with guided school tours every day from 9am to 1pm, and a vital programme of workshops from 5-10 pm, taking students on an innovative journey that presents traditional crafts from a modern perspective, a traditional photo gallery, stories about the UAE’s intangible heritage, and short hands-on activities using pottery, gypsum engraving and painting.

Additionally, the Festival will bring for the first time the ‘Al Suwaiya Programme’, a series of heritage workshops aimed at highlighting traditional artistry, preserving authenticity and shedding light on women’s professions in the UAE’s past. The programmme includes a workshop for spices, kohl, henna, women’s accessories, cloth dyeing and the sewing basics through the participation of professional trainers. Participants will also be able to learn how to make Emirati traditional sweets such as Asida and Khabees, local Ghee, incense, Makhmarya (hair and body oil-based fragrance) and perfume, which Emirati women were known for in the past.


Emirati Traditional Games exhibition


Additionally, Al Qattara Arts Centre will host the 2nd Emirati Traditional Games exhibition, from 1 November, 2018 through to 1 July, 2019, featuring artworks inspired by popular traditional games played by children in the UAE.

Represented with a contemporary vision, the works signify five popular games: Al SuqlaAl JhaifUmm Al AyyalKhousa Bousa and Athiem Al Shara, with the participation of artists such as Afra Al Dhaheri, Abdullah Al Mulla, Salama Nassib, Eman Al Hashemi and Aya Riad.


Al Qattara Archaeological Basement

The excavation of Al Qattara Arts Centre revealed a five-meter sequence of archaeological layers reaching back from the Late Islamic period to the Iron Age. The Qattara Archaeological Basement, opening on 1 November 2018, will display the Iron Age industrial installations forming the earliest phase of this sequence, while highlighting the vital and enduring role of Al Ain oases in the environment and the culture of the UAE.

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