Whether you're a confirmed art lover, a budding artist or want to experience the very best talent the UAE and the GCC have to offer, SIKKA Art Fair 2016, the flagship cultural initiative of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, is the place for you. As the Middle East's first entirely commissioned visual and performing art programme, Sikka is an integral part of Dubai Art Season and an unforgettable experience for all ages.
This year sees a new milestone achieved, with Dubai Culture opening the doors of SIKKA to include creative works in visual and performing arts, music and film by GCC-based artists and collectives, for the first time. This follows the announcement last year by Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, urging regional artists to submit their proposals to be part of the fair's rich 11-day programme.
Sikka celebrates its 6th edition and is curated this year by Mattar bin Lahej, well-known UAE painter, sculptor and photographer, the focus in 2016 is on identifying the UAE and the wider GCC region's aspiring and emerging local talent. This has culminated in Unity @ 53, where the most established mixed-media artists from the UAE and GCC will exhibit. Mattar bin Lahej's special creative approach to his pieces and usage of the movement concept, has ensured that each of the works commissioned for Sikka explores the boundaries of what we have come to expect in an exhibition in the UAE.
For 11 days, in the magical setting amongst the wind towers of Al Fahidi, there's a kaleidoscope of musical performances, workshops, live painting, exhibitions and Cinema Akil screenings. Watch Rashid Al Mulla do live painting to produce a piece of artwork that uses the burga'a to reconnect tradition and modernity and see the Kabbani twins, Ashekman, who are aiming to revive Arabic culture through their calligraphiti. While with everything from Afro-Tarab to electronic to classical, beatbox to spoken word poetry, there's something for everyone on the Main Stage with over 5 different performances each day.
Strolling along the peaceful 'sikkas' (alleyways) of Al Fahidi Historical neighbourhood in Old Dubai, you can't help but be inspired to embrace your inner creativity and seek the unexpected through every doorway. Passion for Arabic Typography, dreaming of designing a life-size puppet or always wanted to see your portraits in 3D? There are over 20 different workshops to choose from throughout Sikka 2016. Shake off those inhibitions and sign up today! To register please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping with the sense of inclusivity and cultural enrichment are the participating Houses of Al Fahidi neighbourhood. Chochoma are hosting an exhibition of works to highlight and explore the materiality, phenomena and design of glass, grassroots organization, The Anmation Chamber will be showcasing an interactive experience based on Folktales from the Philippines, as well as loads of entertaining activities including screenings, kids' workshops and a display of animation works, and not forgetting XVA gallery, hotel and café, which presents Morteza Zahedi's "Toy Story 2".
For your international art fix, there's 'The School of Paris' in The Majlis Galllery, a best-selling exhibition of original small works by important artists including Picasso, Miro, Chagall, Braque and Dali.
So get your culture caps on and explore a side of Dubai that maybe you never knew existed. For full stage, cinema and workshop programmes, see the links below and for a heads up on Sikka's daily special features, we're on all the usual channels.