The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) opens tonight in Al Jazirah Al Hamra Old Town, bringing together a variety of regional and international artists and collectors.
The event, which runs until February 28, will feature sculpture and contemporary art exhibitions, as well as film screenings and workshops at the National Museum. An open-air exhibition, which runs until April 20, will juxtapose modern artworks against the backdrop of the historic town in line with this year's theme, "Old Meets New".
This year's honorary visiting artist is American photographer Karen Knorr, whose best-known works include a series called Belgravia, in which she critiqued the British class system, and an extensive series celebrating the interiors of Indian homes. Knorr will also be conducting a workshop at the festival. Works by UAE-based British photographer Gillian Robertson and Colombian artist Leonardo Montoya, who lives in the United States, will also be on display.
Among the Emirati artists featured at the seventh edition of RAKFAF are Amani Al Mansoori and Helima Al Shehhi.
Director of Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival Arts and culture director of Al Qasimi Foundation, Suqrat bin Bisher, said: “Since its inception, we have been proud to see the immensely positive impact RAKFAF has had on the community in Ras Al Khaimah. It is fantastic to be able to curate a festival that celebrates artistic innovation and reignites the passion for arts. Encouraging artists to cultivate and express their creativity is something we continuously strive to accomplish.”
The opening will be attended by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. “The festival plays a major role in supporting the social, cultural and economic development of the emirate,” he said. “The array of artwork on show highlights our past and present, bringing our traditions, successes and visions to centre stage. Hosting these kinds of events helps to give people a voice, and it is through these voices that the strength and beauty of Ras Al Khaimah shines.”
The outdoor film programme includes screenings of two documentaries produced through RAKFAF's 2018 film grant competition. Aminah, directed by Rebecca Beamer, is a biography of Emirati poet Ahmad Al Assam. Grain of Sand, meanwhile, is a documentary celebrating the heritage of Bahraini pearl divers told through the eyes of British musician and filmmaker Jason Carter.
The festival is free to the public. For more information, visit www.rakfinearts.ae