Artscape offers a taste of the world's cultures

Dance from India, music from Indonesia, poetry from the UK - there's something for everyone at this celebration of world culture.
Gamelan will represent Indonesia at Artscape. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Gamelan will represent Indonesia at Artscape. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Ancient traditions from around the globe are being brought to the capital for one night only, during Artscape of World Cultures.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is inviting residents to engage with traditions across disciplines such as poetry, dance, music, crafts and food, at Manarat Al Saadiyat tomorrow night.

Explore and enjoy

Be enchanted by classical Indian dances presented by the Indian Embassy or listen to indigenous music from Africa to America, organised by the Institut Francais and Alliance Française. The celebrated UK-based poet Kayo Chingonyi will recite some of his work as part of the British Council's efforts, which also include the Bafta 2012 Short Film nominees.

At the bazaar, cook with the award-winning Italian chef Pascal Sfara, or learn how to throw a pot with the award-winning Homa Farley from Abu Dhabi Pottery.

The German artist Johannes Häfner and the Goethe Institut will demonstrate printmaking, while the Sharjah Art Foundation invites residents to create a unique map of Abu Dhabi.

Ancient India

Dance is the "language of the soul and dancers are like messengers", according to the Embassy of India's cultural wing, which is presenting dances from across the subcontinent.

"The Bharatanatyam is from the southern part of India and originated within temples. The Kathak, an entertaining dance, developed in the royal courts of northern India, and the Odissi came from eastern India, so this offers a complete experience," says MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador to the UAE.

Poetry and spoken word

The event is a perfect platform for exploring contemporary cultures, says Michel Bechara, the head of projects at the British Council. "Both the UAE and UK have a rich heritage in poetry and we're thrilled to celebrate this through a creative performance by the versatile UK poet Kayo Chingonyi," he says.

Chingonyi, also a creative writing tutor, will recite work from his first collection of poems, Some Bright Elegance. "I was very interested in an event celebrating world cultures and accepted to take part immediately. Poetry is something embedded in how I see the world. It's something that transports me," says the 25-year-old.

During his stay, Chingonyi will also conduct workshops at local schools and universities.

"Seeing people finding strength to express themselves through words is uplifting. Poetry and literature allow one to step outside of any situation, a moment when they become entranced, and to just experience 'language'," he says.

His forthcoming projects include Poetry Parnassus alongside global poets, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Indonesian corner

Gamelan is a style of orchestra from Indonesia, with many islands from the archipelago incorporating their own instruments, traditions and sometimes singers.

The Indonesian ambassador to the UAE, Salman Al Farisi, says the gamelan signifies a sense of "togetherness" to promote harmony both "felt and seen".

"This type of harmony we wish could be spread around the world. It's an extension of understanding and cannot be felt without knowing and appreciating the differences that exist," says Al Farisi. "So, our involvement in this event is part of our efforts to present to the international community the diverse Indonesian culture and traditions, and to learn about others."

Artscape of World Cultures will be held tomorrow from 6pm to 10pm at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi. Visit

Published: June 5, 2012 04:00 AM


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