BY SHAHD ALHAMDAN
Happiness, hope, appreciation, and hidden truth are some of the messages that diverse artists presented during the 7th edition of the Sikka Art Fair 2017 in Dubai’s Al-Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. The fair, which took place between March 11 until 21, was held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Sikka Art Fair, which is part of Dubai Art Season, featured the all-new “SIKKA Around The City” initiative and exciting collective ventures for the first time ever. Many workshops, programs, and film screenings were part of the fair. For visitors, plenty of street art was on offer throughout the venue.
“Unexposed,” “The Confused Arab,” and “House of Hope” were some of the most prominent art works on display at the fair.
“Unexposed” is a solo exhibition by Noor Shamma whose commanding day job as head of communications and public affairs at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi doesn’t interfere with her artistic ambitions. A first time participant, Shamma exhibited 8 art pieces featuring doors from different countries and cities in black and white, including Dubai and Damascus.
Shamma spent a long time looking at doors all over the world before finally setting on 8 whose intricate patterns she beautifully captured. Visitors were also treated to pictures of orphaned children who Shamma met while working on her Postcard initiative. Launched in 2015 and endorsed by the Noor Dubai Foundation, the initiative aims to help restore the eyesight of people in developing countries.
“The Confused Arab” is an artistic project that began on social media and focuses on experiencing the future of nostalgia from a uniquely Arab prospective. With this concept the founder of the idea, Sofyan Bin Rebat, an Algerian artist living in France, decided to participate in the fair by creating a sample of a hair saloon and traditional Hammam or steam room set in the future.
“As you can see, the design has a vintage feel and there are also a lot of futuristic elements. I am presenting how the traditional Hammam will look tomorrow, specifically how it will look from the outside,” he said.
The idea was always in the mind of Rebat since it represents the future of nostalgia and part of his life’s journey of being an Algerian living outside his country.
“Hammam for me was a very nostalgic place since my grandmother used to own one. She was a good businesswoman and Hamam is a very interesting place because it’s a social place and a vital part of life in many Arab cities,” he added.
“House of Hope” is another unique exhibition that showcased the artworks of people with mental and psychological illnesses in Al-Amal Psychiatric Hospital. Seeking to create awareness, a group of people launched the initiative to educate society on the conditions of such patients and how they deserve a normal life.
Fatima Mousa, one of the organizing team members, said, “This is the second time we are part of an art event and our aim is to raise awareness on people with mental and psychological illnesses and make their voices heard. In this ‘house’ you can see a room that includes letters that were written by patients in one of their writing workshops. Another room has a bed from the old hospital and red balloons as symbol of hope.”
The exhibit also included a short video that features the patients speaking about how they feel and how people in the society see them.