Dubai Culture concludes a successful first edition of Al Shindagha Days
Over 119,000 visitors attended the cultural spectacle on the shores of Dubai Creek
20 artists and cultural entrepreneurs took part
On stage, 82 activities entertained crowds
Audiences witnessed 23 music and light shows
Workshops were attended by 3,970 participants
97% of visitors were happy and expressed their interest to attend next year’s edition
94% of the participants in cultural initiatives were happy, and 100% confirmed their participation in the next edition
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 10 February 2020: The first edition of Al Shindagha Days was heralded an overwhelming success after it closed its first edition on 20 January. It attracted over 119,000 visitors and witnessed the participation of 20 artists and cultural entrepreneurs who took part in a series of workshops attended by 3,970 people. On stage, 82 activities entertained crowds and audiences, who enjoyed 23 music and light shows.
The activities of the first season of the event; organised by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) in collaboration with Dubai Shopping Festival, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and supported by Careem as mobility partner; were launched on Thursday, 9 January. The event provided guests with the opportunity to enjoy a programme of curated cultural, artistic, and heritage entertainment activities and took them on a journey that revived the legacy and charm of the past in a modern and approachable format. The event took place in the newly renovated Al Shindagha Historical District of Dubai, which includes Al Shindagha Museum, The Perfume House, The Historical Documents Centre, Saruq Al Hadid Archaeological Museum, and the picturesque waterfront area.
Aimed at introducing the world to the Emirate’s history, consolidating the UAE’s heritage values, and placing Al Shindagha Historical District on the regional and global heritage map, the event fused the present with past. It was also part of Dubai Culture’s commitment to fulfilling its vision to be a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.
Highlights included the Al Shindagha Doors Exhibition, where series of 20 traditional doors sourced from the historical houses of Al Shindagha neighbourhood were showcased and treated by restoration specialists as well as adorned with innovative artworks by four UAE artists. The UAE’s rich pearling history was also on display, with an informative presentation about pearls and the art of pearl diving presented by Suwaidi Pearls Farm in Ras Al Khamiah. Calligraphy Artist Diaa Allam performed live painting on a large replica of a pearl (180 cm) in celebration of this traditional trade; the artwork was shown to visitors for the duration of the event. The ancient craft of dhow-building was also celebrated with a five-metre-long traditional boat displayed for visitors to admire the craftsmanship that goes into their building.
A full programme of tours was one of the most popular aspects of Al Shindagha Days. Dubai Culture organised guided tours to Al Shindagha Museum to learn about the universal tale of human innovation, resilience, and the desire for progress that shaped the Dubai we know today. Tours were also organised to Etihad Museum to teach visitors about the country’s formation in 1971. Visitors also toured the nearby Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood as well as the Saruq Al Hadid Museum, where archaeological discoveries were highlighted that shed light on the accomplishments of the people who worked in this region during the Iron Age. Additionally, the Perfume Trail led visitors along a visual timeline of perfume throughout the region, giving them a multi-sensory experience that covered perfume-making methods and its history at Al Shindagha Souq and the Perfume House.
In addition to all this knowledge about the ancient and modern cultures of Dubai, there were opportunities for expat residents and tourists to meet and interact with Emirati nationals. Through a series of activities dedicated to Emirati culture, activities took place such as date tasting, Emirati dialect sessions, and learning about Emirati coffee and karak tea, tasting the various types of dates and playing some of the traditional Emirati games. Information on jewellery and camels as well as a photo corner were presented.
Finally, the event offered a platform for UAE start-ups that presented heritage and traditions to modern audiences while preserving their roots. The businesses hosted exhibitions, workshops, and talks that paid tribute to the ways of life of the past and packaged them in new and innovative formats.
At the closing of the event, a survey revealed that 97% of visitors were happy and expressed their interest to attend next year’s edition, while 94% of the participating initiatives expressed their happiness and 100% of them confirmed their participation in the next season.
Al Shindagha Days was organised in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to revive and develop Dubai’s historical areas and was part of Dubai Culture’s efforts to preserve and promote the glorious cultural heritage of the UAE.