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Expo 2020’s Al Burda Festival Is a Celebration of Islamic Art and Culture


A photo commissioned by Al Burda. Photo:

With a focus on promoting experimentation with traditional forms of art and introducing new disciplines to artists, Al Burda Festival is all set to take place at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 starting December 19. Named after Ode of the Mantle—a poem for the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) penned by a Sufi mystic—the festival is a multidisciplinary platform that celebrates the different forms of Islamic art, and has been organized by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth with an identity developed by Sharjah-based Fikra Design Studio in 2018. The special festival promises to attract several industry creatives who will spotlight the importance of rethinking narratives, and will exchange ideas and cultural dialogues during their visits. On a biennial basis, the festival was inaugurated in 2018 to honor the crossover between contemporary and traditional forms of Islamic culture.

“At Al Burda Festival, we gather a global community to drive forward a vision of Islamic arts and culture that is connected and forward-looking. Al Burda is a unique platform where society, technology, and the arts overlap to create a platform for exchange and ultimately, evolution,” said Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth.

Photo: Courtesy of AlBurda

With an extensive program of talks, workshops, performances, exhibitions and an invite-only awards program, the Al Burda Festival—which will run on until December 21—aims to indulge participants in all there is to know about traditional forms of Islamic art, and new-age works and materials. The event will feature several industry leaders including jewelry designer Nadine Kanso, artist Noura AlSerkal, poet, artist and film director Nujoom Alghanem, Professor Carlos Guedes and Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut, who will take part in thought-provoking talks related to their areas of expertise. Partnering up with Dubai Culture, The Farjam Foundation, LIFEWTR, Etihad, Dubai Media Inc, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations, Sharjah Museums Authority, Bayt Al Qindeel, and many more, the festival is aims to strengthen the position of Islamic culture on a global scale.

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