Noura Al Kaabi meets UAE artists participating in Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Noura Al Kaabi meets UAE artists participating in Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

ABU DHABI, TGO: Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, met with UAE artists who are participating in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of the leading artistic and cultural events in the world, which is held annually in Washington, D.C., where UAE is the country in focus at this year’s edition.

The Ministry of Culture and Youth is leading the participation in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C. The festival will take place from June 22nd to 27th, and June 30th to July 4th, 2022.

The meeting was attended by Mubarak Al Nakhi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and Shatha Al Mulla, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Heritage and Art Sector, Robin Solomon Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, and a number of officials, as well as leading cultural and media figures.

Al Kaabi stressed that the Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates the UAE’s heritage and showcases the central role of the arts in the country’s progress and evolution. She explained that art is the highest form of human expression and showcasing different forms of Emirati creations is an opportunity to expand cooperation with international institutions.” Arts embody the true value of creative experiences that form a fundamental link between different people and civilizations,” she added.

She went on to say that the role of creatives in such events goes beyond local and regional boundaries, adding that during the event, people in the United States will learn about the UAE’s art and heritage and contribute to changing the stereotype about the region.

She commented, “The participation of a group of UAE creatives including both Emirati and resident artists in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival reflects the rich heritage of our country. As the country in focus, the UAE will showcase a glimpse of Arab civilisation and its living heritage by exhibiting Emirati and Arab culture and arts.”

She commended those who worked relentlessly on brining the participation to success including the Smithsonian Institution, the curator and co-curator of the festival Michele Bambling and Rebecca Fenton, the sponsors of the festival and above all the participants for their unflinching support. She also wishes all the creatives participating in the festival all the best.

The festival, entitled “UAE: Living Landscape, Living Memory”, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE, where it will present to the public a variety of events involving more than 80 craftsmen, creators, and musicians from the UAE whose mission is to introduce the legacy of Emirati heritage and contemporary arts and culture of the UAE.

The events of the festival are free to attend for all members of the community. The festival will start with a concert on the evening of June 22nd, followed by cultural programmes, which will begin the next day, highlighting the living memory and the cultural traditions of the UAE that stem from its association with the land, sea and the sky. The festival will highlight the nation’s living traditions, cultural exchange, and intellectual and linguistic richness, as well as showcase the country’s diversity of nationalities and cultures and its sustainable vision and plans for the future.

Visitors to the festival will be able to engage in activities that reflect a diversity of cultural expressions found throughout the UAE. For example, visitors can participate in a workshop to create perfumes and incense, and at the same time learn the importance of aroma in Emirati culture. Master falconers will demonstrate this ancient skill while describing its important historical role and its role in sustainability today. Visitors can hear the traditional, plaintive songs of pearl divers. The flavours and techniques of Emirati and Bedouin home cooking will be demonstrated, emphasising the connection between local ties and global influences. The festival will also host a dedicated marketplace for contemporary arts and crafts from the UAE.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honours contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the Festival features the UAE as the sole guest in this edition.