The 11th Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) is set to open on February 3 at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village, said to be the historic home of the ancient Al Za’ab tribe and pearling village dating back to the 17th century.
Established under the patronage of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE 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, says a press statement.
The 11th edition of RAKFAF has been organised by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), along with support from various public and private enterprises.
The statement adds that the 2023 theme pushes boundaries to display artists’ interpretations of nature conveyed through the senses emphasizing the creative minds of painters, sculptors, designers, filmmakers, and photographers to create an immersive experience for all.
From art to heritage talks, pet-oriented events, thematic weekend programs, art workshops, musical performances, film screenings and much more, 2023 RAKFAF will engage the community through diverse cultural and creative experiences.
“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. 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,” says Alfio Tommasini, Festival Curator and Art Director for RAKFAF.
The statement adds that celebrating a new gastronomical adventure, RAKFAF is proud to host the first-ever Middle East culinary journey by Chef Paolo and Kelly Picarazzi of 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, says the statement, adding that cultural aficionados and food lovers can enjoy this once-in-a-life-time exclusive food and storytelling style of dining only for two days at the Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village on February 10-11.
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.
A key highlight of the festival is the avant-garde artworks from Central and Eastern Europe presented by Croatian curator and art collector, Marinko Sudac as part of the Marinko Sudac Foundation and the Gorgona Group. Themed The Solitude of Thought, the exhibition will include works from variety of artists including renowned featured artists, Marko Pogacnik and David Nez.
A permanent installation created for the 2023 RAKFAF, Pogacnik’s Portal of Peace represents his philosophical interpretation of the relationship between humans and the biosphere.
“We are extremely delighted to host the 11th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival reinforcing the presence of our Emirate at the heart of UAE’s art and cultural scene. 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. We look forward to welcoming all visitors, locally and internationally, to this massive event,” says Suqrat bin Bisher, Director of the festival.