Noura Al Kaabi inaugurates second edition of Al Burda Festival

DUBAI, Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the second edition of Al Burda Festival opened at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Organised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, this year’s edition of Al Burda Festival takes place under the theme “Transcending Spaces, Discovering the World” and runs for two days from 20th to 21st December 2021. The festival promotes the values of openness, coexistence and tolerance.

On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said, “The second edition of Al Burda Festival coincides with the Golden Jubilee of the United Arab Emirates. It’s a celebration of Islamic creativity in all its manifestations, and a platform for creators from all over the world. A space for them to advance Islamic arts and to achieve new heights of excellence in creativity.”

“This edition of the festival is being celebrated under the slogan: “Transcending Spaces, Discovering the World”. This slogan reflects pluralism and eclecticism, it signifies spaces that have not been explored yet. It inspires critical intellectual discussion that takes into account the familiar and helps us reconsider the prevailing perceptions. It stirs in us feelings of curiosity to know what we do not know and help us change for the better,” Al Kaabi explained.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country, the UAE is more than ever committed to strengthening the role of arts and culture in the global dialogue to promote tolerance. Through Al Burda Festival, we explore those spaces and use art as part of our being. Art is an integral part of our present and our future, it is a medium to forge dialogue with other cultures and countries of the world. Culture breeds tolerance promotes understanding and coexistence, and thanks to Islamic arts and culture, we can re-imagine and rewrite our future. In order for us to create a future free of extremism, we must join hands and work together,” she added.

The Minister emphasised that Islamic art and culture is a powerful way to combat extremist ideologies. “We can use art to inculcate discipline and help connect generations and beliefs that would enrich our human experience. Art means different things to different people, and it manifests in different forms such as design, poetry, literature, food, technology, fashion, music, and advertising. Our discussion also benefits industries related to art and culture including tourism, films, heritage, creative economy, and identity. We discussed a wide range of topics in our two-day programme touching on the literary realm to make Islamic art and culture a part of our daily lives that can be used to strengthen human connections.”

In a special address at the opening of Al Burda Festival, Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, Deputy Minister of Culture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, thanked the UAE for inviting Saudi Arabia as the Guest of Honour to the event. “We are honoured to be a part of Al Burda Festival, which celebrates Islamic arts and culture, and endeavours to make it a part of the contemporary narrative and experiences. Art and culture are a great way to forge global communication. Initiatives such as Al Burda inspire cultural discussions and have the potential to shape the perceptions about Islamic arts in today’s times.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in cooperation with 15 other Arab countries, successfully inscribed Arabic calligraphy on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. This is an acknowledgment of the iconic status of Arabic calligraphy on a global level and establishes its role as a communication tool between nations and peoples. This artform is intrinsic to our heritage, an ancient practice that continues to be relevant in today’s times. Islamic arts are unique to our heritage, yet they have a universal character that transcends cultures. As part of our initiative to mark the year of Arabic Calligraphy, which spanned two years, the Kingdom was keen to highlight these values that are a hallmark of this ancient artform,” he added.

This year, Al Burda Festival includes panel discussions, workshops and dialogue sessions, and attendees will have the opportunity to learn about Islamic arts and enjoy performances inspired by different cultures in the Islamic world. The festival also includes 15 exhibitions of Islamic artworks, in addition to 10 live performances from around the world, including the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The festival, which is organised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth in partnership with more than 29 strategic partners, includes dialogue sessions that host international thought leaders in the field of Islamic arts and culture to discuss the most pressing topics in the Islamic world today and to present new visions on the latest trends and ideas that shape the future. The Ideas Lounge includes dialogues and discussions on topics encompassing traditions, cultural heritage, advanced technology, entrepreneurship, and authentic Islamic arts and culture.

Within the festival, performances and other films inspired by the Islamic world will be held, to narrate inspiring stories rooted in the history of the region. The programmes target audiences of different interests and age groups, including children.

The Ministry of Culture and Youth announced the names of the winners of the 16th edition of Al Burda Award in an artistic evening that celebrated Islamic arts at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai. The award consists of six different categories namely classical poetry, Nabati poetry, traditional calligraphy, modern calligraphy, ornamentation, and typographic design.

Source: Emirates News Agency