Young Emiratis learn traditional and contemporary crafts at five-day summer camp

Sharjah's Hirfati Summer Camp aims to encourage a new generation of artists to keep their traditions alive

The camp is an extension of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council's commitment to preserving Emirati heritage and crafts. Photo: Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council
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A new summer camp in Sharjah has just kicked off, giving young Emirati girls and teenagers a chance to immerse themselves in traditional and contemporary crafts.

Organised by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, the Hirfati Summer Camp will train 50 members of the Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, aged between 8 and 18, in the traditional Emirati art of talli — a form of textile handicraft characterised by bright colours and striking designs.

The youth will refine their embroidery and weaving skills, practising on bags, which will later be displayed as part of an open exhibition.

Taught by artisan Shaikha Ali Al Naqbi, the camp aims to encourage youth to gain hands-on practice with an array of activities, merging Emirati traditions with modern methods.

Hosted at Al Heera Children Centre, the camp is an extension of Irthi's commitment to preserving Emirati heritage and crafts, by developing the next generation of designers and artists.

Members of the Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah will study the history of Emirati weaving and embroidery. Photo: Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council

Amal Bin Khatim, senior executive at Irthi, said: "Traditional crafts are a great way to nurture the interests of the young generation in the artistic heritage of the nation and enhance their creativity and talents as artists. The Hirfati Summer Camp also inspires participants to transform old objects or materials into beautiful pieces of art that are infused with traditional elements in a bid to raise their awareness of vital environmental issues such as sustainability and conservation practices.”

Hirfati Youth Programme fulfils Irthi's vision of protecting and preserving the crafts heritage of the UAE and ensuring their sustainability by enabling young generations to learn and develop these crafts with innovative ideas and original designs.

With headquarters in Sharjah, Irthi is dedicated to preserving Emirati hand-weaving techniques. An affiliate of the Nama Women Advancement Establishment, it aims to protect Middle Eastern heritage, and traditional handicrafts passed down from one generation to the next.

Members of the public can view an exhibit of the camp's work on August 13 from 5pm-9pm at Sharjah's Al Heera Children Centre.

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Updated: August 10, 2022, 1:21 PM