Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Sharjah named one of the five most creative cities in the world

The BBC has dubbed it one of the world's 'emerging cultural hubs'

In the UAE, Sharjah has become synonymous with innovative art shows, thought-provoking installations and creative spaces. And it seems that the world has taken notice of the city's artistic output, as it has been named one of the five most creative cities in the world by the BBC.

Click through the gallery above to see some of the many initiatives that have taken place in the emirate in recent years.

As well as Sharjah, Mexico City, Belgrade, Dakar and Bangkok make up the top five.

Jedariya on Sharjah's Awqaf building by Vincent Abadie Hafez, aka Zepha. Photo by Christina Dimitrova Courtesy Maraya Art Centre
Jedariya on Sharjah's Awqaf building by Vincent Abadie Hafez, aka Zepha. Courtesy Maraya Art Centre

"The international art map is changing, and a new generation of cultural hubs is emerging, well away from global financial centres, property developers and blue-chip art dealers," the BBC's Libby Banks writes.

"While a trust fund feels like a prerequisite for making it as an artist in the likes of London, New York and Paris today, this new generation of art cities exists well beyond the canon of Western art history."

Of Sharjah, the BBC notes the creative ambitions of Sheikh Salem Al Qasimi and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, president and director of Sharjah Art Foundation. It also lists the city's cultural attractions and areas, including Al Rawi bookshop, the Maraya Art Centre, 1971 Design Space, the Muweilah part of town and of course the Rain Room, which it dubs "highly Instagrammable".

The city's dedication to the cultural and creative is always most apparent during the Sharjah Biennial, the 14th edition of which concluded in June .

Of the city's dedication to creative change, Omar Kholeif, the co-curator of the 2019 Sharjah Biennial, told The National: “What I love about Sharjah Art Foundation is the collaborative spirit of the team and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi's commitment to transforming the whole Emirate through art.

“I want to work in a place where I can create sustained and effectual change and I believe that in this newly created role I have the opportunity to consolidate and bring to life one of the region's most important art collections, whilst also organising exhibitions, symposia and publications that will push the boundaries of what contemporary art can be.”

Updated: July 18, 2019 04:01 PM

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