Ras Al Khaimah Art, showcase of local and global talent, runs till March end - GulfToday

Ras Al Khaimah Art, showcase of local and global talent, runs till March end

 Indira Urrutia 2

A view of Indira Urrutia’s compositions.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Ras Al Khaimah Art, the year-long cultural initiative nurturing existing and emerging artistic talent, has announced that its open-air exhibition at the picturesque Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village will run till March 31. The show features work from over 100 local and international artists from more than 35 different nationalities. The exhibition, with its showcase of local and international artistic talent, is set against the backdrop of the Village’s rich cultural heritage and hosts a diverse range of art forms, highlighting the interactive creativity of artists from across the region and beyond. From vibrant paintings to intricate sculptures, each objet d’art tells a story, inviting viewers to experience the world as seen by the artist.

RAK Art’s theme is In Motion. “The COVID-19 pandemic forced a global pause, revealing nature’s beauty and resilience in stillness,” it notes. “In Motion challenges the concept of a new normal and beckons you to embrace the constant evolution of our diverse world. From generative AI and NFTs to space journeys and environmental movements, our Festival celebrates and critiques the power of motion and change, pondering what it means to live life in perpetual motion once again.” The exhibition includes work from Ras Al Khaimah Art’s Artist in Residence, Chile-born Indira Urrutia. An interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of several educational initiatives, she is displaying her intriguing three-dimensional ‘tejer’ art. ‘Tejer’ is a Spanish word meaning to weave, to knit or to crochet. Made using methods of weaving, knitting and crochet, Urrutia works with materials as diverse as copper wire, bronze, copper-plated silver, wool and plastic to create her masterpieces. Weaving is used as a storytelling medium, and the art channels the cultural and narrative aspects of a traditional craft through varying techniques.


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Having studied with Abuela Cristina, the last woman of the Yahgan tribe in Southern Chile and travelled across America to research diverse weaving style and techniques, Urrutia’s works “represent life’s interconnections and a sense of being bound together, in ways which may be overlooked in everyday life,” according to the hosts. Detailing her work, the artist said that “my mission is to reclaim the human and social value inherent in ‘tejer’ to weave the past into the present and towards a future that honours the magic and beauty of interconnectedness.”

 Indira Urrutia 1  Indira Urrutia was born in Chile.

“Since I graduated from college,” she has said, “I have followed my passion for photography with explorations in other formats such as mixed media, installation art, and experimental video. Art allows me the freedom to explore my inner self-juxtaposed to my outer self.” Cristina Calderon Harban (1928 – 2022) was a Chilean ethnographer, craftswoman, writer and cultural activist who was the last living full-blooded Yahgan person. She was often affectionately known as Abuela Cristina or Grandma Cristina by locals in her community.  The Yahgan are a group of indigenous peoples in the Southern Cone of South America. They were traditionally nomads and hunter-gatherers who travelled by canoe between islands to collect food. The men hunted sea lions and the women dove to collect shellfish. They also hunted whales for meat, and gathered local vegetation, including berries and mushrooms.

Additional highlights at RAK Art include photography and artwork from Emirati artists including Faisal Alrais, Salem Al Sawafi, Aleyah Almansoori, Elyazia Alfalasi, Mohammed Saeed Alshehhi and Nuwair Al Hajeri. Since its inception in 2013 under the patronage of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Ras Al Khaimah Art has evolved from a modest gathering of 30 emerging local artists into the emirate’s premier art and cultural showcase.

Formerly known as the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, the rebranded Ras Al Khaimah Art strives to transcend conventional boundaries and serve as a creative hub dedicated to nurturing talent, both local and international. This is accomplished through the provision of grants, masterclasses, workshops and year-round events. A seamless blend of contemporary and traditional art forms sparks discussions among artists, authors, creatives, and the larger community, located within the cultural diversity of Ras Al Khaimah’s heritage.

Suqrat bin Bisher is Festival Director and the Al Qasimi Foundation’s Arts & Culture Manager. Previously, he worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Higher College of Technology - Dubai Men’s College, where he also received his Applied Communication BA. He is a member of the UAE Special Olympics and UAE Youth Council and also an artist and arts administrator. He has organised numerous art exhibitions and directed more than seven short films and documentaries, some of which were screened at the Gulf Film Festival in 2011. He is the Director and Co-Founder of the Dubai Students Film Festival.

Al Jazeera Al Hamra is the only remaining historical pearling village in the Gulf region. Al Jazeera Al Hamra translates from Arabic to mean Red Island. It consists of all of the traditional elements expected in such a neighbourhood, including a fort and watchtowers, mosque, souq and extensive courtyard houses of various designs. There is a mix of dwelling styles from small, simple houses, courtyard homes, two-storey buildings to a large courtyard residence that belonged to a wealthy pearl merchant. The buildings were built in a traditional manner using local materials such as coral blocks and fossilised beach rock, mangrove tree beams, date palm trunks, roofing, matting and ropes and layers of seashells for drainage.

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