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The Evolution and Beatific Execution of Ras Al Khaimah Art

Featuring works from 107 local and international artists and welcoming 45,000 visitors from around the world, Ras Al Khaimah Art 2024 exhibition at Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village wowed the crowds.

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Featuring works from 107 local and international artists and welcoming 45,000 visitors from around the world, Ras Al Khaimah Art 2024 exhibition at Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village wowed the crowds.

Steeped in 7,000 years of history, the UAE’s ‘Nature Emirate’ Ras Al Khaimah is undergoing an unprecedented period of economic growth, with tourism, real estate and sustainability taking centre stage. Within this dynamic ecosystem, Ras Al Khaimah Art has flourished to become an annual landmark celebration of culture and the arts.

Inspired by the vision of UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the festival was conceived to showcase the Emirate’s artistic talent and foster cultural exchanges.

After its first debut at Ras Al Khaimah’s National Museum in 2013 as a three-day exhibition, Ras Al Khaimah Art has evolved into a month-long annual event, welcoming 107 local and international artists from 35 countries in 2024, alongside 45,000 visitors.

Al Qasimi Foundation and Ras Al Khaimah Art Founding Executive Director, Dr Natasha Ridge says she recognised the event’s potential early on and explored avenues for expansion.

“During a visit to La Gacilly in France, I encountered a village transformed into an outdoor art gallery and envisioned a similar concept for Ras Al Khaimah Art, I knew the perfect place. It’s not just an art festival, it’s also a historical site, which attracts a much wider audience,” says Dr Ridge.

Listed on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites, Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village is the UAE’s last-surviving pearl-fishing village, representing centuries of architecture, trade and culture. Encompassing a fort, watchtowers, a mosque, souq and traditional dwellings, the magical site is defined by a labyrinth of stone alleyways and today, by Ras Al Khaimah Art.

The exhibition’s repertoire has expanded to include a range of artistic expressions, from workshops and film screenings to live performances and an art exploration program.

“Last year, we saw a thousand students participate in workshops and tours. By connecting our youth with history and culture, we adopt a sustainable approach to the arts,” says Dr. Ridge.

According to Dr Ridge, this exhibition plays a pivotal role in promoting the village as a cultural destination. By providing a platform for local artists alongside international counterparts, it also contributes to the cultural and economic progress of the UAE.

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