Abdullah Al Owais, Head of the Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, and Hisham Al Madhloum, head of the Arts Directorate at the Department of Culture and Information, yesterday Sunday December 16th, inaugurated the Islamic Heritage Art Exhibition as part of the Sharjah Museums Department’s (SMD) participation in the 15th edition of the Islamic Arts Festival. Featuring Emirati artists Mattar bin Lahej and Azza Al Qubaisi, the exhibition forms part of the month-long festival, which began on 12 December and will continue until 12 January, 2013.
The Islamic Arts Festival was inaugurated in the presence and under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Organised by the Directorate of Culture and Arts at the Department of Culture and Information, the festival is being held in a number of venues in Sharjah, the Eastern Region cities of Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Dibba Al Hisn, as well as in Al Dhaid in the Central Region. More than 1,700 artworks, which represent authentic and contemporary artistic trends in Islamic from the UAE and abroad, are being featured at the event. The works of art, ranging from paintings, videos and Marquette to graphic art, ceramics, jewellery and carpets, are being displayed at the festival, which features 45 exhibitions from 18 countries.
Upon his arrival, Al Owais was received by SMD Director Manal Ataya , and Salim Al Khayyal Manager of the Communication and Development Department, a number of museum curators and SMD’s staff. SMD’s participation in one of the Emirate’s most prominent events comes in line with its main mission and strategy to highlight Islamic art and the new trends in the world of Islamic art, as well as to give new artists an opportunity to hone their skills and introduce their work to the public.
SMD is participating in the Islamic Arts festival with three events; the Islamic Heritage Art Exhibition, a workshop titled ‘Revealing of Sand Secrets’, and a lecture on the Japanese calligraphy (Shodo). The Heritage Art Exhibition by Emirati artists Mattar bin Lahej and Azza Al Qubaisi, began on 16 December.
An accomplished self-taught and self-represented artist, MattarBin Lahej is known for his personalised technique that combines Arabic calligraphy and sculpture, manifest through his brush strokes and use of diverse materials such as steel and marble dust, and Emirati sand among others. An active painter, sculptor and photographer, Mattar has gained recognition over the the past few years through his participations in exhibitions both locally and outside the UAE, including Abu Dhabi Art and the Berlin Art fair in Germany, as well as in Morocco, Kuwait, Turkey and the United States and has garnered the attention of contemporary art collectors from across the UAE. The exhibition features a number of excellent examples of Mattar’s innovative and creative art works, including his transformations of Emirati proverbs into paintings using Thuluth Script in to write these proverbs in steel and marble dust.
Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi is a jewellery designer and maker, and abstract metal artist, who has become an icon in her field of art and jewellery making. She successfully combines the beauty of nature, deep-rooted Emirati tradition, and the awareness of present and future issues in her collections and sculptures. Skilful combinations of diamond, gold, silver and other materials give each piece of art its identity and character. She draws attention to many subjects from the history of the pearl diving trip represented in her ‘Angel-Tears’ collection. Azza’s work varies from small wearable pieces to large sculptures with each series representing different elements related to the UAE’s environment, culture and heritage.
Among her masterpieces is the ‘Palm’ in which Azza emphasizes her identity and her strong loyalty to her home country. Apart from her art designs, she began to add her innovative touch to furniture, such as tables and chairs, with Palm fronds and metal. She has also other artistic projects that aim to help attract people's attention towards environmental issues and augment the public’s sense of identity and awareness of their culture and social values. Azza, who took inspiration from local traditions to become the UAE’s leading jewellery designer and an award-winning artist, uniquely uses materials from the local environment, such as precious stones and metals, in her jewellery designs, which have become a UAE’s leading jewellery brand.
SMD’s third event in the Islamic Arts festival is the workshop titled ‘Revealing of Sand Secrets’, which will take place from 17 -31 December, every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, from 10am to 12 noon. Artist Nadira Abdullah will present her calligraphic painting through using sea sand to write with Kufi script. This will be the first time that a workshop which focuses on the use of different types of sea sand to write and decorate will be presented to the public.Iranian writing tools will also be on sale on the side lines of the workshop In collaboration with Ali Idris, in collaboration with Ali Idris.
The third and last event to form part of SMD’s participation in the festival will be a lecture on the Japanese calligraphy form of ‘Shodo’, that will be delivered by researcher Abdul Jalil Ali Al Sad, in cooperation with Japanese calligrapher Ree Nakao, on Thursday, 20 December, at 1045am, at Sharjah Calligraphy Museum. The lecture will highlight Japanese scripts and their how they have been influence by Arabic calligraphy. Nakao will make a painting using Japanese calligraphy, and will also show examples of her paintings in Japanese calligraphy.