Successful First-annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival
Al Qasimi Foundation
April 01, 2013
The first Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival took place March 1st through the 4th and showcased the work of 26 talented Emirati and local artists and filmmakers. The three-day celebration was organized by the Al Qasimi Foundation on behalf of His Highness, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, to support the creative and artistic sectors of the emirate, bring the community together, and foster cultural exchange.
“After hosting a well-received Emirati film event last year, we knew there was a great deal of community interest in having similar cultural events in the future,” said Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The Fine Arts Festival evolved in response to this interest and was designed to highlight the talents of both Emirati and locally-based expatriate artists.”
The Festival opened with an evening reception on the grounds of the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. Previously the palace and home to the late Sheikh Saqr, the museum proved to be the perfect venue for socializing and celebrating art. Guests had the opportunity to enjoy the Festival’s art and photography exhibition – comprised of paintings, jewelry, sculptures, and photographs – before it opened to the general public. Victor Sitali, a talented special needs artist, was also featured as he painted on-site. The reception even attracted the attention of several Emirati celebrities, including Mansoor Al Feeli and Maryam Hussein, who were happy to stand with guests for pictures on the red carpet.
“I really liked the photography and artwork exhibition at the RAK Museum. This is a great, authentic place to bring people together for art!” said Sandra Woest, one of the exhibiting photographers. “I received so much positive feedback for my photographs, which keeps me going and motivates me of course to go on with my hobby.”
In addition to the exhibition, the second day of the Festival highlighted seven short films and documentaries by Emirati students. Collectively entitled Films from the Emirates and screened at Manar Mall’s Grand Cinema, the films used humor, drama and poetry to explore aspects of life in the United Arab Emirates. Topics addressed included marriage, customary dress, cultural assimilation, and history. The screening was attended by the Festival’s Honorary Guest, Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade. Her documentary, Born Sweet, was screened on the last day of the Festival and was followed by a conversation with the audience on her experiences as a director.
“I really loved seeing all of the Emirati films and meeting the filmmakers,” said Ms. Wade. “It was [also] wonderful speaking at the Foundation - what a terrific audience! Great questions! It was a very successful and enjoyable trip for me.”
The Festival concluded with an award ceremony to recognize and thank all of the participating artists and filmmakers. Nine artists were also highly commended based on jury decisions in three categories: Film, Photography, and Art. In addition, Emirati actor Mansoor Al Feeli was recognized as an outstanding friend to the Festival given his strong presence throughout the various events and willingness to engage with the budding filmmakers and exhibiting artists. A special award was also presented to Mohammad Al Kait thanking the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah for its support of the Festival.
Suqrat Bin Bisher, the Festival Director and Al Qasimi Foundation Event Coordinator, was pleased with the Festival’s overall success. “We are proud to showcase the work of so many talented artists. I already have new ideas for next year and look forward to seeing the event grow in the years ahead."
Cynthia Wade (Academy Award-Winning Director)
Highly commended artists, filmmakers, and photographers (alphabetical order):
Abdulrahman Al Madani (Director)
Debra Jean Cray (Artist)
Imthias Kadeer Hameed (Photographer)
Jamal Salem (Director)
Kamen Bonev (Artist)
Mohammed Al Marri (Director)
Sandra Woest (Photographer)
Victor Sitali (Artist)
Xiaoai Lu (Photographer)
Additional participating artists, filmmakers, and photographers (alphabetical order):
Aisha Al Hamadi (Director)
Beverly McKay (Artist)
Celine Mambode (Photographer)
Constantin Orekan (Photographer)
Darwin Currie (Artist)
Eileen van der Merwe (Artist)
Fatima Abdulla (Director)
Fatima Al Qassimi (Jewelry)
Khameis Al Hefaity (Photographer)
Mark Farmborough (Photographer)
Mohammed Fikree (Director)
Phillip van der Merwe (Photographer)
Rameez Nazar (Photographer)
Rhys Simpson-Hopkins (Photographer)
Robert Cook (Photographer)
Suqrat bin Bisher (Artist and Director)