UAE sponsors Arab art festival in DC

WASHINGTON, DC (23 February 2009) WAM – On February 23, HE Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, and other embassy officials attended opening ceremonies for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' ground-breaking festival, “Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World,” taking place in Washington, DC.

The UAE is a sponsor and will have a presence in Arabesque, an international festival showcasing the varied cultures of the 22 Arab nations representing the Arabic-speaking world.  In cooperation with the League of Arab States, the three-week festival (February 23 - March 15) will bring together artists, many of whom are making their US debut, in performances of music, dance, and theater, as well as exhibitions featuring art installations, fashion, a soundscape, cuisine, a marketplace, and much more.

"We believe that culture reflects the identity of its people as well as the spirit of the age and look forward to sharing with the American people tangible, living examples of contemporary and historic traditions of Arab culture," said Ambassador Al Otaiba.  "Our participation in Arabesque is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the UAE's emphasis on the arts as an integral part of a culture that is self-confident yet open to intercultural dialogue." 

The UAE will be represented in a variety of ways throughout the Festival, including participation from:

  • Mohammed Saeed Harib, Founder and Creator of FREEJ.  FREEJ is the first animated 3-D series in Arabic and demonstrates the contrast between the old way of living and the new cosmopolitan city that is now Dubai through characters who are trying to adapt between two lifestyles.
  • Maisoon Qasimi, poet and painter. Qasimi's work will be a part of the “Breaking the Veils: Women Artists of the Islamic World” exhibition.
  • Display of a UAE traditional wedding dress in the Brides of the Arab World exhibit.

"The UAE believes that the best vehicles for crossing borders are arts and culture.  Just as we are honored to share aspects of our culture with the people living in America through the Arabesque Festival, we are equally delighted to present art and culture from the larger global Arab diaspora," said Ambassador Al Otaiba.

The UAE's focus on arts and culture is also connected to its strategic focus on sustainable growth, and it is working to provide the world with remarkable opportunities that do not exist elsewhere.  With the development of Saadiyat Island's cultural district, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is fast establishing itself as a beacon of cultural renaissance and will offer the people of the region unparalleled access to international works of art.