Sikka Art and Design Festival: 10 editions full of creativity and originality

Over the past 10 editions, Sikka Art and Design Festival has spread creativity among Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood’s alleyways (sikkas in Arabic), representing the namesake of the festival’s activities.

Each year, the festival reflects national heritage through its activities and original designs, captivating visitors and providing them with an artistic experience throughout the traditional ‘barajeel’ with mini art galleries that are hosting talented artworks from the UAE and the region.

Arts of all kinds

In every corner of Al Fahidi, visitors will find creative elements across different art forms, ranging from painting and calligraphy to 3D paintings, creative audiovisual and performing arts, and various entertainment shows, such as concerts, poetry evenings, talks and film screenings. There will also be food kiosks with local and international flavours.

Pioneering initiative

Sikka Art and Design Festival is an annual initiative launched by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority in 2011 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Authority and member of the Dubai Council. It is considered one of the flagship events under the umbrella of Dubai Art Season and is the first annual initiative of its kind to support and display the works of emerging Emirati and UAE- and GCC-based artists. It also provides an ideal platform to consolidate the concepts of coexistence and cultural diversity that Dubai embodies by embracing more than 200 different nationalities, linking them through art and creativity.

Steady successes

Over the past nine editions, Sikka Art and Design Festival has been a leading platform for Emirati and UAE- and GCC-based artists to present their work to a diverse audience at the local and

international levels. The steadily increasing number of participating artists annually has rendered the festival a success, doubling the number of artists from 40 in its first edition in 2011 to 80 in the 2019 edition, attracting a total of 410 artists across its 10 editions, who were carefully selected from 2,300 applicants. (Sikka witnessed 100 applications in 2011, increasing to about 450 applications in 2019).

Over its total 106 days, Sikka Art and Design Festival opened its doors to the public, providing them with a valuable opportunity to enjoy the distinctive creative works presented by the participating artists. Over the past nine editions, Sikka featured around 500 artworks and attracted over 400,000 visitors and about 37 partners.

Celebrating art and prosperity

In celebration of the success of its previous editions, Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022 will present the emirate with creative packages of visual and performing arts under the theme ‘Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth.’ The participating artworks were chosen to form an interesting narration of the festival’s story that is being launched under its new umbrella, Sikka Art and Design Platform, with a new visual identity inspired by the Al Fahidi Sidr tree. Sikka 2022 welcomes its visitors from 15 – 24 March, providing a rich programme and innovative activities.

Over 250 artists will participate physically and virtually this year, curated by a team of Emirati curators, namely artist Maitha Al Zaffin, Kamla AlOlama and Shamma Almheiri, supported by curator and artist Giuseppe Moscatello. The artists will contribute to enriching the emirate’s artistic and aesthetic scene and transforming Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood into interactive creative designs.

The capital of creativity and the land of talent

Sikka Art and Design Festival celebrates the growing art scene in the UAE. It aims to encourage participation, make art and creativity accessible to everyone, and stimulate an incubating environment for cultural and creative industries, in line with the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy

that aims to make Dubai the global capital of the creative economy by 2025. The festival is also an ideal platform through which Dubai Culture seeks to confirm its commitment to the eight principles of governance announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, especially supporting the seventh principle, A Land for Talents, through its keenness to support, embrace and empower creative talents and find ideal opportunities to promote their creativity, making Dubai the ideal hub for talents. Moreover, through this festival, the Authority focuses on future generations, in accordance with the eighth principle, by preserving and protecting heritage as an important community identity in Dubai and the UAE.

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