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UAE: Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival to ‘push boundaries’ on nature theme


Ras Al Khaimah: The 11th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) opens to the public on February 3 at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village – the historic home of the ancient Al Za’ab tribe and 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 talent of more than 120 local and international artists from over 35 countries under the theme of ‘Nature’.


Pushing boundaries


The latest edition of RAKFAF is presented by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority (RAKTDA). The 2023 theme “pushes boundaries” to display artists’ interpretations of nature conveyed through the senses, emphasising the creative minds of painters, sculptors, designers, filmmakers, and photographers to create “an immersive experience” for viewers. From art to heritage talks, pet-oriented events, thematic weekend programmes, art workshops, musical performances, film screenings and much more, RAKFAF will engage the community through diverse cultural and creative experiences.

Alfio Tommasini, Festival Curator and Art Director for RAKFAF, said: “The perception of nature around us always starts from a journey that begins inside of ourselves. In the case of those who transform it into artistic forms, a personal sensibility is shared with us to stimulate our curiosity and show us the many possibilities of representing it.”

He added: “Ras Al Khaimah as a region itself is an enchanting desert that includes the rich heritage of the Al Hamra Heritage village – a site carved out of clay, sand and coral. RAKFAF is a meaningful connecting point for global artists to come together, interact and showcase their unique art depicting nature in various forms.”

RAKFAF will also host the first-ever Middle East culinary journey by Chef Paolo and Kelly Picarazzi from the award-winning Australian restaurant Antica Australis. Inspired by Ras Al Khaimah’s organic farms, and foraged natural flora, the team will curate a special four-course Italian-Emirati fusion menu.


Film screenings


The festival will also host the Middle East premiere of The Chocolate War, a documentary by Miki Mistrati. The film will be followed by a panel discussion led by human rights lawyer Terry Collingsworth, shedding light on the ethical sourcing of cocoa and production of chocolate. Attendees will also be able to enjoy other outdoor screenings of foreign film hosted by VOX Cinemas with films from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai, Embassy and Consulate General of France in UAE, and Institut Français.

This year, RAKFAF will feature six special exhibitions in collaboration with their cultural partners including the Marinko Sudac Foundation, US Mission to the UAE, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Abu Dhabi, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai, Consulate General of France in Dubai, and FLICK Camera. To celebrate unity and diversity, each bayt (meaning ‘house’ in Arabic) will act as a dedicated space for these partners to interpret and define Nature in their own way.

Speaking ahead of next week’s opening, Suqrat bin Bisher, director of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival said: “This year’s festival inspired by our regional treasure, the Arabian Almond, challenges us to reconsider our own relationship with the natural environment, its influence on our lives and what can we do to preserve it for future generations. I’m proud to see the ingenuity of so many talented artists with their creative perceptions of nature through an array of modern art forms.” [GulfNews]

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