The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi Launches Diverse New Cultural Programme for Al Ain

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is organising interactive and entertaining cultural events for the upcoming cultural season in Al Ain. The programme will run from March to April.

The events will be conducted at three main locations in Al Ain; Al Jahili Fort, Al Qattara Arts Centre and Al Qattara Heritage Souq, as well as Qasr Al Muwaiji. It will include interactive workshops by creative and award-winning Emirati artists, in addition to four artistic programmes covering cinema, drawing, design, photography, and crafts.

Al Jahili Fort

A series of activities will take place at Al Jahili Fort from 15 March onwards under the title “Heritage Evening at Al Jahili”. Visitors will be able to enjoy a number of activities featured on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List within the UAE, such as Al AyallahFalconry, and Sadu. The recurring event will also feature art and educational workshops, Bedouin games and a range of Emirati cuisine.


On 28 March, Al Jahili Fort will also host the ‘Military Acquisitions Display’ to present numerous military pieces borrowed from the Armed Forces Museum and the Military History Centre, dating from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. The exhibition aims to provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the UAE’s history prior to and throughout the establishment of the union, which was led by the late Founding Father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The establishment of Al Jahili Fort dates back to 1955, when the ruler of Abu Dhabi was Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Al Jahili Fort is also set to hold the ‘Cooling System’ educational session, which will cover the technical and engineering details required to build and maintain the natural cooling system of the Fort. In addition the session will examine the renovation and restoration process undertaken using modern techniques and traditional architectural materials.


Al Qattara Arts Centre and Al Qattara Heritage Souq

On 29 March, Al Qattara Arts Centre will present the Al Qattara Cinema Programme, with the screening of the short film ‘The Best Life’ directed by Meqdad Al Kout. The movie tells the story of the life of a man who is following his favourite social-media celebrity guru. Following this screening, the Centre will screen the movie ‘Yomeddine’ directed by Abu Bakr Shawky. It is a story about a Coptic man suffering from leprosy, who travels for the first-time out of his country with his friends to begin an adventure together across Egypt in search of their families.


Al Qattara Arts Centre will also present a Spring Programme from 1 – 11 April, which will include workshops for 6 – 13 year old children on doll-making, pottery and Arabic calligraphy, with each workshop running for four hours. The programme starts at 10am and ends at 12pm. Registration fees are AED 315 per student.


DCT Abu Dhabi will also organise the ‘Studio 6’ programme from 1 April – 31 May at the Centre. The programme will focus on all forms of art, including visual art such as drawing, photography, sculpture, and graphic arts, in addition to films, audio arts, design, and literature. The programme is open to visitors from 8am to 4pm.

Hosting Artists

An individual artist will be hosted for two months during the first part of the programme in 2019, and another from July to August as part of the art residency programme. Each hosted artist will conduct two workshops and will present their works, which will have been inspired by Al Ain.

The programme will host Emirati artist Hamdan Buti Al Shamsi from 1 April – 31 May; a self-taught photographer and graphic designer, and writer. He won his first award at elementary school, in addition to a first prize, in drawing and short story writing, during his first year at the United Arab Emirates University. Al Shamsi has also participated in a number of group exhibitions in the UAE. In addition, he worked as a freelance graphic and website designer, tutored English language for five years, as well as graphic design and photography. He has also taught photography in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, and organised digital workshops at FUNN Establishment – Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children. Al Shamsi also received The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship, in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design. He was recently selected to create artwork in support of Expo 2020.

‘Studio 6’ will then host Emirati artist Saoud Saeed Al Dhahri from 1 July – 31 August, to showcase his drawing skills. Al Dhahri often undertakes voluntary photography work in the UAE where he was appointed by DCT Abu Dhabi to work on a number of digital paintings on five walls of Al Qattara Arts Centre.

Al Dhahri was also nominated as one of the 40 designers who got the opportunity to showcase and sell their products at DXB Store, a non-profit store for displaying distinctive designs made in the UAE. Since then, DXB Store has curated exhibitions at three locations, the Art Dubai exhibition at Jumeirah, the Seka Art Gallery at Al Bastakiya, and Downtown Design Dubai. Al Dhahri received several certificates of appreciation and has showcased his work in cooperation with Inter Craft Gallery in support of the Women’s Growth and Success Foundation in London, and Christie’s Auction house.

Qasr Al Muwaiji

DCT Abu Dhabi will organise ‘A Lens on History’ programme at Qasr Al Muwaiji on 30 March, which will include workshops by award-winning photography experts to demonstrate the latest techniques and methods.

The ‘A Lens on History’ programme will also showcases the significant role of photographers prior to the union of the seven emirates, as archaeologists used its old photographs to reconstruct and rebuild some designs at the site. It is currently a destination for photographers, a historical landmark and architectural masterpiece, distinguished by its glass gallery located in the courtyard.

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