Its invigorating to see the art scene absolutely booming in Dubai, what was initially limited to the streets of the Bastakiyah and within selected exhibition areas has now evolved into thriving art districts and initiatives that draws in an audience from around the world. Al Quoz was the first to get an artistic facelift, a predominantly warehouse zone, which now has the new identity of artistic hub where on a weekly basis dozens of exhibitions, workshops, events and screenings are held.


Recently hosted as part of the umbrella arts initiative by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority was the SIKKA Art fair, a flagship event that inaugurated the second Dubai Art Season. SIKKA was a platform created to feature UAE’s contemporary artistic talent and initiatives to a wider audience, fostering and providing opportunity to home-grown creativity and integrating the community to help drive Dubai’s rich artistic infrastructure. The name itself was inspired by the alleyways between the historic houses of Dubai and metaphorically speaking, also mirrors upcoming artists who seek to establish their professional careers by walking on different paths of creativity.

Held at the highest point in Dubai’s Art calendar, this year marks the 5th edition of the fair and it boasted an impressive line-up featuring art events, visual arts projects, music and live performances, video art, outdoor film screenings, live music, cultural walks, artist led talks and educational activities. Many of the workshops held included calligraphy shows, poetry evenings, discussions on animation, filmmaking workshops, gypsum carving, drama workshop and box painting installation, among others. Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) Dubai, an art programme that emphasizes on visual arts, provided open studios during SIKKA for artists to display their works. Several paintings exhibited also featured collectives by Design House which explored multidisciplinary art forms including design and installations. Two landmark initiatives were also showcased at SIKKA – ‘Engaging Territories’ by Zayed University and The Animation Chamber, which celebrated Arabian folktales.

Held at Al Bastakiya, the venue is considered to be the cornerstone of the city’s cultural and artistic fabric and a vibrant centre of Dubai’s heritage. The showcase that adorned the place was curated by an Emirati mixed media artist, whose contribution to the Emirati art scene has expanded from producing pioneering art to advocating the progression of Emirati artists.

With over 12,000 visitors, in addition to 500 art lovers participating in 38 specialized art workshops while being immersed in artwork from over 60 artists, galleries and institutions it comes as no surprise that SIKKA has become the ultimate platform for Emirati and UAE based artists to collaborate, network and interact with their local and international counterparts. Led by popular demand, the paintings will also be exhibited at the bustling cultural center and home of SIKKA, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, until April 9. Further underlining the growth in its popularity, SIKKA will now also welcome GCC wide artists in the next edition.

Quotes from the participating artists and visitors for the fair:

SIKKA gave me the motivation and platform to exhibit my work confidently. It provided me the opportunity to meet with other artists and those who appreciated art. The environment and organisation of the event was in line with Dubai’s vision to support Emirati artists – Artist Jalal Bin Thaneya

SIKKA was an extraordinary experience. I met and made connections with many people and it is an amazing feeling to see your work appreciated and shared in social media. It has also been a learning experience, as I gained new insights from people I met in the fair and taught people things through my artwork – Artist Amna Jawad

With that said, I bring today’s topic to an end. As always, I believe in extending beneficial opportunities for all of my readers to get involved and this time is no exception. Keeping with the theme of the post, today’s opportunity is for budding and veteran artists who would like their work exhibited and sold on our website. For more information, FAQs and details on criteria please email us on With enough submissions, we will open up a permanent virtual gallery section featuring not only local but also international artists hoping to bring their talent to the city of Dubai.

Until we rendezvous again,

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