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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Dubai to be transformed into a global culture centre

Five-year strategy will see artists being able to ditch the day job and focus on their passions full-time

Artists perform at an event held to mark the 10th anniversary of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority at the Cultural and Scientific Association Centre in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Artists perform at an event held to mark the 10th anniversary of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority at the Cultural and Scientific Association Centre in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai is going to be one of the world’s leading cultural destinations in the next five years.

That is the bold vision of Saeed Al Nabouda, director general of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, who is spearheading efforts to further enrich the emirate.

Speaking at an event to mark the organisation's milestone 10th anniversary, he said that while Dubai is already a renowned shopping and business hub, enhancing its cultural offerings is the next leap forward in its evolution.

Mr Al Nabouda said that Dubai’s transformation into a global cultural hotspot would be the result of a five-year strategy.

“The main objective for the team at Dubai Culture is to take the emirate to the very next level,” he said.

“Traditionally Dubai’s cultural offerings have been overshadowed by its financial, tourism and shopping facilities.”

He said that while there had been culture and art in Dubai for decades, the infrastructure had not always been in place to give artists the best possible platform to make a living from it.

“There have been artists for 30 years who have lived in Dubai,” he said.

“However in many cases they have had to work day jobs. We want to create an environment in which they can work as artists full-time.

“There needs to be a culture where artists can flourish and celebrate their art without having to dilute it by working another full-time job as well.”

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He made reference to the emirate’s recent investments in culture including the Dubai Opera House, which was built in 2016 and has proved a massive attraction for residents and tourists alike.

“That is only the start though, we have to create an atmosphere where we can reflect the cultural needs of the people.

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has launched a five year plan to make the emirate a major cultural destination. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has launched a five year plan to make the emirate a major cultural destination. Pawan Singh / The National

“It would be easy to build another museum tomorrow. But we have to make sure that the people want another museum and that what we are providing reflects the needs of the society here.

“We have to build an appetite for culture and art in Dubai and that is going to take time.”

It was with that in mind that the organisation unveiled a five-year strategy to promote heritage, arts, culture and literature across the emirate.

The wide-ranging initiative will culminate with the installation of new museums and the integration of urban development projects into Dubai’s cultural landscape.

“Culture is different than other sectors in Dubai,” said Mr Al Nabouda.

“It is not about creating the biggest or the tallest project, it is about changing the mindset of the entire society.

“There is no point building more projects like the opera house if there is no demand for it.”

He said the project would benefit the entire UAE, as opposed to just Dubai.

“We want it to compliment what’s on offer in the likes of Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“We need to be able to shed a light on the cultural offerings that we have. Dubai has the best shopping and entertainment experiences and soon we will also have the best in art.

“We are striving to make culture a way of life and priority here.”

Updated: January 9, 2019 08:42 PM

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