DUBAI: The UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) recently kicked off its eighth edition in the Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra Heritage Village — a recently restored pearling village dating back to the 17th century.
The festival brings with it a packed program that includes thought-provoking exhibitions, keynote speeches and more than 100 local and international artists hailing from 33 different countries showcasing works that range from photography to film and visual arts under this year’s theme of “Connected Communities.”
Among the participating artists is Emirati jewelry artist Azza Al-Qubaisi, who is known for her cutting-edge jewelry painstakingly handmade out of precious materials such as white gold, silver and diamonds in addition to sands, leather and palm branches.
Born in Abu Dhabi, Al-Qubaisi shared that her Emirati heritage influences a lot of her work. “Most of the work I’ve created focuses on my environment. I want to capture the stories of the past, traditions and heritage,” she said to Arab News. “I think for me it’s about discovering more about me and my identity,” she added.
Citing the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, as one of her inspirations, the artist is also behind a slew of projects that aim to foster local talent and spotlight traditional crafts. In 2006, she founded the first NGO project to develop and promote local handicrafts through “Made in UAE” shops and Lamst Ibdaa, an Abu Dhabi-based initiative that nurtures the growth of aspiring design talent by offering them the support and resources they need.
Also participating at this year’s festival is Emirati filmmaker Hamad Abdullah Saghran. The filmmaker will be screening his short film “And What’s Next?” on the last Wednesday of February and March.
“Last year’s visit to RAKFAF encouraged me to prepare this film idea because I thought it would be a great opportunity to participate in a homegrown festival in my home Ras Al-Khaimah,” shared Saghran with Arab News.
The filmmaker who directed six short films between 2008 and 2016, will be the 2020 recipient of the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival Film Grant. “Filmmaking is all about telling stories in a visual way. It’s like painting, but with more interactive elements. So, I love to tell stories and this is why I continue to make films,” he states.
The Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is set to run until March 31, 2020.