Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum handing the award to one of the honourees
By recognising the patrons of the arts, who support a wide range of events and initiatives in Dubai, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards have contributed to the growth of the cultural and arts scene of the Emirate, especially in the diversity of the artforms and their content.
An initiative of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards is now entering its third edition. The second edition of the Awards, held recently recognised 40 patrons for contributing over AED 130 million in financial or in-kind contribution towards the arts. This followed the first edition where 59 organisations and individuals were recognised for their financial and in-kind support of about AED 250 million from 2007 to 2009.
Saeed Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “One of the founding objectives of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards is to encourage the creation of a diversified portfolio of art initiatives that cover visual arts, performing arts, film and literature. Since the first cycle, patronage has seen a considerable increase across all disciplines with a notable 11 percent rise in support for performing arts and five percent for literature, further catalysing the growth of our diverse creative infrastructure.”
“Dubai is today witnessing significant development in its arts sector. This growth has been further accomplished due to the Authority’s commitment to honour the patrons and their continuous support. We regard them as the pillars of our cultural scene, and by honouring them we are encouraging more like minded people to step forward,” he added.
The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards are presented in four categories, ‘Distinguished Patrons of the Arts,’ ‘Patrons of the Arts,’ ‘Supporters of the Arts,’ and ‘Friends of the Arts,’ honouring the financial or in-kind support of the patrons who have helped strengthen the creative infrastructure of the Emirate through a spectrum of art initiatives.
Highlighting the long-term commitment to the arts scene of Dubai was Emirates Airline, honoured for the second time with the ‘Distinguished Patrons of the Arts’ Award for their support to the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival 2010, a key event in Dubai’s arts calendar. The Festival extended its program to 17 nights full of music and concerts, launching the first edition of the World of Jazz - a new creative concept of street entertainment, with free concerts for all. A total of 42 local and international bands participated with attendance topping 42,000 fans throughout the 17 nights.
Dubai also witnessed a strong participation of the government sector in driving arts with the support extended by government departments increasing 12 percent last year. Visual arts dominated the total patronage at nearly 51 percent followed by films at 33 percent. Performing arts recorded an increase to 11 percent of total contributions and literature received five percent.
Creating a new platform for local talent to perform was the first classical music concert organised by Deutsche Bank, recognised for the second time as ‘Supporter of the Arts.’ The concert featured the UAE Festival Chorus & Orchestra which includes more than 200 members who are UAE residents. Four professional soloists from the UK were also brought to Dubai for the concert, which performed Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece Messa da Requiem. The event aimed to strengthen the appreciation of classical music and demonstrate the profound musical talent in the UAE.
The Creative Palestinian Art Exhibition, a showcase on Palestinian art was another notable initiative organized by Art Sawa and co-sponsored by the welfare association and Arabtec, which were also honoured as ‘Friends of the Arts’ for extending their support. The initiative featured a cross-section of the contemporary creative artistic activity of Palestinian art, and provided an opportunity for both emerging as well as professionals’ artists to showcase their work on an international scale. It included a public exhibition, a juried contest and a publication, and served as a perfect example of successful creative collaboration between beneficiaries and multiple patrons to drive an arts initiative.
Jebel Ali Free Zone, which was recognised as one of the 16 ‘Friends of the Arts,’ supported and organized a unique cultural initiative to showcase the history of Dubai dating back to 1962. The photo exhibition featured rare photographs by two Japanese photographers and a journalist, which chronicled life in Dubai nearly five decades back, and have also been published as a special book in collaboration with Motivate Publishing.
‘Friends of the Arts’ honourees JamJar and The International House supported Dubai Drama Group’s ‘New Developments II’ initiative. The objective was to identify and nurture playwright talent in Dubai through a short-play competition ‘Write Now.’
The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards continues to inspire the creative community to sharpen their contributions to support original content creation.