Ras al Khaimah: The eighth edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, RAKFAF, opens to the public at 20:00 tomorrow, Friday, 31st January, at the Al Jazirah Al Hamra Heritage Village – a recently restored pearling village dating back to the 17th century.
Established under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, this year’s festival will showcase the talents of more than 100 local and international artists under the theme of Connected Communities. The highly anticipated grand opening will be attended earlier in the evening by Sheikh Saud, ambassadors, dignitaries, festival partners, and local and international artists.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s opening, Sheikh Saud said, “This year, the festival celebrates values we hold dear in the UAE. It speaks to the true meaning of inclusion, tolerance, and cooperation, all of which have empowered us as people – as connected communities – to truly fulfil our potential and lead inspired, productive, happy lives.”
He added, “The theme of this year’s festival is a timely one, as we are living in an increasingly connected age in which the world is becoming more of a global village. I sincerely hope guests will embrace the festival as a platform for meaningful cultural exchange.”
The immersive outdoor art and sculpture exhibition will feature more than 150 original pieces.
Photographer Kiliii Yuyan, an award-winning Chinese-American contributor to National Geographic Magazine and other major publications is the festival’s 2020 Honorary Visiting Artist, whose participation has been supported by a grant from the US Mission in the UAE. His works will be on display at an exhibit on the Arctic, its indigenous peoples, and the environment. Yuyan will host a free public workshop on 1st February as well as a number of talks and classes for local students while he is in the UAE.
RAKFAF, which also presents the work of many local and regional artists seeks to support the socio-cultural development of Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE by nurturing emerging talent and fostering creativity.
Among the renowned Emiratis to appear at the event are Azza Al Qubaisi, Mohammed Al Suwaidi, and Nesa Al Shehhi – three exciting Emirati designers who have collaboratively curated a unique visitor experience to highlight universal themes that evoke a sense of shared understanding. Additionally, the work of Emirati artist Noora Al Shehhi, one of the award winners at last year’s festival, has inspired the visual identity of this year’s theme. Other notable GCC artists include Om Kalthoom Al-Alawi from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s Ahmad Al Hussaini, Sara Saud, and Shouq Bahzad.
Emirati filmmaker Hamad Abdullah Saghran, this year’s recipient of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival Film Grant, will be screening his short film And What’s Next? on the last Wednesday of February and March. In total, 20 short films and documentaries will be screened on a rotational basis at VOX Cinemas in Al Hamra Mall over the course of the festival.
Highlights of the festival include the People of Ras Al Khaimah, Migration and Belonging book talk; food tours; and Jewellery Making: Cuttlefish Silver Casting, Mosaic Tile Art (Year of Tolerance), and The Art of Clay workshops.
RAKFAF is free to enter. To attend any of the workshops, activities, tours, or film screenings, reservations should be made directly through the RAKFAF app, using the Register function, or by visiting register.rakfinearts.ae.
The eighth edition of RAKFAF is presented by Marjan and supported by local partners including Stevin Rock LLC, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority, the Department of Antiquities and Museums, the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, and the Ras Al Khaimah Public Works and Services Department.