Five artworks to see at the Sikka Art Fair in Dubai

Curiosity is the key at Sikka but here are a few artworks to seek out as a way of getting started

'The Weave of Life' by Mioara Corozel Cherki (left, sitting) and Fleur Antoine Hindermeyer at the Sikka Art Fair. 
'The Weave of Life' by Mioara Corozel Cherki (left, sitting) and Fleur Antoine Hindermeyer at the Sikka Art Fair. 

If you’re starting to find the glitzy gallery openings at Art Dubai a bit too much, you will discover something altogether earthier and more ramshackle at Sikka Art Fair, which is held among the warrens of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

Now in its ninth year, Sikka features dozens of public artworks, pop-up art exhibitions, workshops and food stalls. It is the sort of place where you might wander down what appears to be an empty alleyway (“Sikka” is the Arabic word for “alleyway”) and stumble across your favourite artwork or performance of the year.

Curiosity is the key here. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff going on – and with 48 artists from all over the world contributing, who can blame you – here are five unmissable artworks to seek out at Sikka.

The theme of the fair this year is “An open window to art and tolerance”. I believe these pieces, all of which should challenge or move you, respond to that theme in very different but equally successful ways. Oh, and make sure you stay well into the evening, as there is a lively after-dark programme, featuring music and dance, which runs until 10pm during the week and midnight at weekends.

'The Weave of Life by Fleur' by Antoine-Hindermeyer and Mioara Corozel Cherki

In this beautiful piece of performance art, French dancer Fleur Antoine-Hindermeyer unspools red thread around a room, her movements a response to a piece of traditional Indian music. With each performance, more and more thread criss-crosses the room, leaving traces of a previous moment. Painter Mioara Corozel Cherki contributed five canvasses to the installation, one for each of the primordial elements.

'While You Are Away' by Maitha Hamdan

‘While You Are Away' by Maitha Hamdan
‘While You Are Away' by Maitha Hamdan

A series of brightly coloured prayer scarves hang from the ceiling – blues and yellows and purples billowing in the breeze. But this work has a sober dimension, too. The scarves were handmade by Emirati artist Maitha Hamdan’s grandmother, Fatima, while she was ill. Words of love shared between the two women have also been painted on them.

'Civilisations Vs Tree' by Rashid Al Mulla

'Civilization Vs Tree' by Rashid Al Mulla
'Civilization Vs Tree' by Rashid Al Mulla

This powerful comment by Emirati artist Rashid Al Mulla on the confrontation between humans and the planet we inhabit features a small plant emerging from a pile of sand, above which hangs a tree made from cardboard boxes. It is striking to see, in such jarring proximity, the start and end points of the millions and millions of trees we harvest every year for paper-based products.

‘SurreaList’ by Shoug Fardan and Fatma Juma

SurreaList Installation
SurreaList Installation

A number of works – ceramics, fabrics, paintings – by two members of the same family fill every available space. Shoug Fardan is an Emirati fashion designer; her aunt, Fatma Juma, is a visual artist. It’s a joy to see their very different works side by side, but the highlight is the astonishingly intricate stitching on Fardan’s garments.

'Dare to Dream' by Bassam and Maysoon

'Dare to Dream' by Bassam and Maysoon
'Dare to Dream' by Bassam and Maysoon

Dozens and dozens of small, different coloured human sculptures abseil down the side of a wall or drop from the air holding coloured umbrellas. This amusing piece is a jolly reminder of all the different cultures that live in the UAE.

Sikka Art Fair runs until Sunday. For more information, visit

Published: March 20, 2019 06:28 PM


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