DUBAI, – The Al Burda Festival, now under way at Expo 2020 Dubai, is part of the UAE’s commitment to enhancing the global role of arts and culture in promoting tolerance, Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said on Monday during a special ceremony at the biannual festival, which highlights Islamic arts and culture.
Her Excellency Al Kaabi said: “The festival comprises 65 sessions and 64 speakers from various countries, aligning with the vision of the UAE to play a pivotal and influential role in the global dialogue of cultures, and to devote the principles of tolerance and human brotherhood. We are today aiming to make Islamic art and civilisation a part of our present and future, and to introduce these arts to the world.
“The Islamic arts are characterised by their diversity and multiplicity, including design, poetry, literature, food, fashion, music, advertising, tourism, films and heritage, as reflected in the richness, diversity and depth of the conversations we hold – a powerful way to fight extremist ideologies, link generations and beliefs to reach the ultimate aim of enriching our human experience.”
Culture gives rise to tolerance, and promotes understanding and inclusivity, Al Kaabi added. She also praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its concerted efforts that led to UNESCO adding Arabic calligraphy to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, and also Dr Yannick Lintz for her work in the Islamic Art Department at the Louvre Museum.
His Excellency Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, Deputy Minister of Culture in Saudi Arabia, said: “From its origins in the Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islamic civilisation, Arabic calligraphy has given the Islamic arts an inexhaustible aesthetic and spiritual values, and influenced tradition, architecture and design.
“After the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with 15 Arab countries, succeeded in adding calligraphy to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it consolidated its position as a global Arab cultural icon.”
Also speaking at the ceremony was Shaikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Director General of Culture and Arts at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, who said culture could help find the best and most effective solutions to many of society’s problems, that education and culture are the two main pillars for change, and could spread an awareness of the Islamic arts, its values and identity, across the globe.
The Al Burda Festival, which runs from 19-21 December, features artworks and performances by prominent artists from the region and the world, presenting innovative and creative experiences related to the Islamic arts. Highlighting the very best, the festival also displays the winning works of the Al Burda Award 2021, with 30 winners over six categories.