Sikka Art and Design Festival is celebrating 11 years of creativity and inspiration in Dubai, with remarkable artworks that speak to the future and bring a visionary experience to the audience.
As the flagship event of Dubai Art Season, Sikka Arts Festival continues to be an annual celebration of visual and performing arts and film, as well as an incentive to showcase Emirati and UAE-based artists. As always, the event is held in the beautiful Al Fahidi Historical District, and this year it will welcome artists and visitors from the 24th of February to the 5th of March.
Sikka Art & Design Festival is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture.
Dubai Culture and Arts is playing an integral role in enriching the city’s cultural scene while reinforcing Dubai’s position as a global centre for creativity and culture. Building bridges and connections between various cultures, Dubai’s art scene continues to serve as a thriving hub for artistic expression and fresh talents.
There are quite a few initiatives planned for this year’s edition, with interactive sessions and fun activities, so make sure to wander down the paved alleys of Dubai’s oldest district and watch the festival come alive.
10 Days of Creative Experiences and Celebrations of Art in All Forms
The event has lined up ten wonderful evenings filled with the sound of music and poetry spreading joy in Al Fahidi district, where you will witness innovative artistic ideas and feel inspired by the creativity of artists.
The Sikka festival will transform Al Fahidi Historical District into an open-air art museum where visitors will immerse themselves in everything that art represents. From sculptures, graffiti, or paintings, you will get to explore over 60 workshops, nine indoor and outdoor installations, and six murals.
The artistic celebration will bring together art enthusiasts and visitors from different cultures and nationalities under the theme “Celebrating Art, Celebrating Growth”, to decorate the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood with exhibitions, workshops, poetry nights, musical performances, and thought-provoking films. The festival will showcase the best of visual arts and theatre featuring UAE and GCC artists.
Sikka serves as the ultimate platform for local artists to collaborate and have an interactive exchange of ideas with their foreign counterparts. The ten-day programme is designed to encourage and inspire artistic thought and expression, and stir interest in art exhibits, seminars, lectures, and film screenings. The Al Fahidi venue will turn into an exclusive hub for curated artist spaces and will also feature home-grown food pop-ups and a variety of entertaining events for all families.
This Year’s Theme
The Sidr Tree serves as inspiration and is the theme behind this year’s 11th edition of Sikka festival.
Known for its firmness and tenacity, the Sidr tree is closely related to the historical heritage of the UAE and has also been associated with the value of giving. The tree is a national symbol deeply ingrained in the country’s culture, and part of national folk songs and Bedouin tales. It also served as inspiration for poets and scholars in their creations.
Workshops and “Houses of Artists Showcase”
Like every year, the Sikka Art and Design Festival will be packed with workshops, events, and storytelling sessions to get you feeling creative. As you wander off through the alleys of Al Fahidi district, you can have a go at one of the festival’s 60 workshops and choose from sketching workshops, pottery, cooking classes, or even soap-making, to put your talents to good use.
There will also be a collection of 13 “Houses of Artists Showcase”, with each house depicting a different facet of art. You can choose from Atelier Art & Sculpture Digital Art House, Fatma Lootah’s Gallery or Akaas (Visual Arts), and many others. If you feel inspired by regional artists, you will want to visit House 36, and head “Down Memory Lane” where you will enjoy an art exhibition exploring nostalgia and memories and the impact that these global themes have on us today, as human beings. In House 36, “Nostalgia” is explored by three emerging artists – Omani Hamda Salim, Emirati Hamdan Al Shamsi, and Bahraini Yara Ayoob – all of whom will display visually attractive installations.
This year, Sikka will also welcome the addition of a Design & New Media house with new spaces and interactive installations.
Jassim Al Awadhi’s sculpture “The Circle” features three figures of the same design, made of iron, in different colours. The Emirati’s art piece illustrates the soul’s pursuit of renewal while it circles upwards until it becomes purified.
Syrian artist Alya Ola Abbas is represented at the festival this year by her stereotype inversion project called “The Meaning”, a new art installation. The piece is representative of the beautiful contrast between the old and new, Dubai’s heritage, and the new futuristic elements of the city that never ceases to surprise us with its innovations.
Alexy Goguet is coming to Sikka this year all the way from his native France to bring us his Lego bricks artwork called “Once Upon a Snack”. Made entirely of Lego bricks, the piece is diving into nostalgia and childhood memories with the use of iconic snack brands that are very much part of the local pop culture.
While you savour all the artistic manifestations that Sikka has in store, the organisers made sure to complement the festival with a wide range of entertainment options for kids and adults. There will be not less than 90 film screenings and activities for kids, free workshops, live performances, and around 30 food and beverage vendors to serve you culinary delights. You can refuel on coffee, grills, and treats, or if you prefer vegetarian, visit XVA Gallery’s café. House of Pop provides ice cream and Yi Fang serves the best Taiwanese fruit tea.
Want to see a movie under the stars? Courtyard A has the perfect setting and will be screening English-subtitled movies as well as silent shorts. Courtyard B is where you ought to go if you love Arabic indie-pop or jazz and poetry recitals.
The Sikka art fair in the heart of Old Dubai is the region’s most anticipated event for emerging young talents celebrating visual and performing arts and is expected to witness a remarkable participation rate, even greater than last year’s.
The city's artistic community has experienced a surge in creative energy thanks to targeted investment and support for the emirate's cultural growth. Dubai has now evolved into a major centre for art and culture worldwide.
The Sikka Art and Design Festival's current focus includes creating an integrated ecosystem that supports emerging artists and provides a platform for them to embark on their path toward becoming full-time creatives.