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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Artists from 31 countries to exhibit work at 20th Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival

Organised by the Sharjah Cultural Affairs Department, this year's festival includes 270 activities and 81 artworks under the theme of “Impact”

A ceramic by Salim Jawhar, one of the previous works on display at the Islamic Arts Festival at Sharjah Art Museum. Pawan Singh / The National
A ceramic by Salim Jawhar, one of the previous works on display at the Islamic Arts Festival at Sharjah Art Museum. Pawan Singh / The National

Artists from 31 countries from across the world are to take part in this year’s 20th edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival (SIAF).

The SIAF, organised by the Sharjah Cultural Affairs Department and with a theme of “impact”, will start on December 13 and run until January 23, 2018. It is to include 81 artworks that will be showcased in different venues across the emirate.

Mohammed Al Qaseer, general coordinator of SIAF, said that 270 activities will take place as part of the festival, including 44 exhibitions, 46 lectures and 153 workshops. More than 30 of the exhibitions are to be held at the Sharjah Art Museum, presenting the works of five artists from the UAE, as well as others from Arab countries and countries around the world.

Ten parallel exhibitions will be held at Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Majaz Amphitheatre, AWQAF Department, Al Qasba, Maraya Art Centre, and the Calligraphy Square (Calligraphy Centre, Calligraphers Studios and Calligraphy Museum).

Al Qaseer explained that this year’s SIAF theme speaks of the affect the artists intend to accomplish through their work, and speaks of harnessing contemporary art to shorten the distance between the East and the West, creating a link between different times and cultures.

The artistic experiences presented at the festival – which seem to be influenced by various forms of Islamic arts– are the result of painstaking curation by the organizers. The works have been chosen from 150 artworks submitted to the department for participation in the festival.

The Floral Pavilion exhibit made by artists from Hong Kong, which is taking part in the festival for the second time, will be showcased on opening day at Al Majaz Waterfront at 6.30pm.

The Floating Mosque exhibit by artists from the UK and US, which is considered one of the biggest artworks in size, will be showcased at 7.30pm the same day at Al Majaz Amphitheatre.

There will also be open dialogues between the audience and artists, allowing artists to share the experiences that inspired them to create contemporary visual art.

The festival is inspired by Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, and more than 28 organisations assisted in the coordination of the festival projects.

At a press conference held on Monday morning, it was noted that artworks from previous years have ended up permanently on display in public arenas across the emirate.