Immersive VR & Metaverse journeys and inspiring GCC artworks in Sikka 2022 Immersive VR & Metaverse journeys and inspiring GCC artworks in Sikka 2022

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23 March, 2022

Immersive VR & Metaverse journeys and inspiring GCC artworks in Sikka 2022

Dubai, UAE, 23 March 2022: During Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022, organised by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the houses of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood are hosting unique artistic experiences that allow visitors to experience an immersive technological journey by designing their own virtual environments, experiment with artworks in different phases, install interactive spaces, and explore the Metaverse world as well as artworks from GCC artists.
House 12
House 12, which forms part of the Sikka House, showcases a unique virtual space. It represents a Metaverse project by Dubai Culture developed in partnership with Arhead, a US start-up and a leading platform in the virtual world. The highly engineered digital space features artworks by local and international artists, including Distressed Design, Nevine Meguid, Fatspatrol, Ronen Tanchum and others. Visitors can access Sikka 2022’s digital gallery from all around the world to explore the proto-metaverse.
House 12 also includes an exhibition by Iris Art Agency that highlights the work of a group of artists, including Emirati artist Aisha Juma, who participated with two bronze sculptures and an abstract artwork, 'Organic fabric black on black;' Emirati artist Juma Al Haj, whose artwork 'An Interrupted Daydream' is derived from spiritual experiences that come from texts that have significance to the artist or a spiritual historic reference; Emirati American artist Ziad Al Najjar, whose work analyses space and abstraction through a group of untitled paintings; and Emirati American artist Talal Al Najjar, who is participating with sculptural works that defamiliarise the familiar and are considered an allegorical supernatural story.
House 28
House 28 celebrates outstanding works of art by individuals and cultural institutions. It takes visitors to worlds where they explore design methods in the virtual space and delve deeper into the innermost human psyche.
Senses
In Room 6 of the house, AUD students are presenting a work titled 'DDFT 473 X CRID Virtual Environments' showcasing how to design virtual environments in virtual reality. ‘Terra,’ by American artist Adam Meziou, provides a virtual experience that engages the explorer's senses in a cavernous atmosphere. ‘Eidetic,’ by Syrian artist Anna Josephina Hajjat, presents a virtual reality scheme that symbolises the journey of life in which a person makes special memories that stay with them forever. ‘Crescendo’ allows Dominican artist Ayat Derhem to experience a virtual reality experience showcasing three of the human senses through different stages of the human life. ‘The Rove’ virtual space by Syrian artist Naya Aslan takes audiences on a non-traditional exploration of the senses. ‘SOLICITUDE’ by Egyptian artist Reem Mostafa explores the senses of touch, sound and vision.
Visualisations
House 28 also includes a digital artwork titled ‘Fractus’ by Iraqi artist Dheyaa Dheyaa, whose surreal space commemorates the architect, artist and theorist Lebbeus Woods. The house also includes a virtual reality design artwork titled ‘SOMA’ by Egyptian artist Farah Ali in which she explores the effects of psychedelic substances and how they can change our perception of the world. Also featured is ‘Rebirth’ by Syrian artist Mais Marouf through which she depicts the relationship between technology and the anatomy of the human body. House 28 also features the video 'Phobia' by Lebanese artist Taimaa Barakat that targets all the senses by elevating levels of fear, and ‘APOGEE’ by Jordanian artist Yasmeen Issa, which posits that it is necessary to pass through a senseless stage to access the senseful.
Surrealist Automatism
In his project, 'Unconscious,' Lebanese artist Dr Georges Kachaamy uses the unique surrealist automatism technique to generate a body of work constituting more than 100 pieces. The work presents three different versions: physical, digital and virtual. The physical showcases original-selected, singular pieces done haptically; the digital shows the way it is done on a 2D digital tablet projected on a screen along with a printed version of 48 pieces compiled to create a 3 x 3 m artwork; and the virtual is an immersive experience of the same artwork using a virtual reality set up that allows visitors to experience the work in an immersive manner and provide them the opportunity to try it themselves.
Biennale.io
Sikka 2022 features the launch of the Metaverse Biennale 2022 in House 28; it aims to integrate NFT and blockchain technology to become closer to the art community around the world. This exhibition is designed to be one of the largest virtual art exhibitions, spread over 101 halls connected with teleportation portals, instantly and seamlessly allowing visitors to move from one hall to another. The equivalent physical space of the MB2022 is extensive, measuring up to 100,000 virtual square metres, exceeding the size of major Biennales by many folds. Honouring the legends, the name of each hall is inspired by great masters of art hailing from five continents.
By decentralising the art exhibitions concept, Metaverse Biennale 2022 significantly impacts the art industry and culture. This transformation will diversify the industry by making art accessible in a positive and encouraging environment
Swalef by Modu
‘Swalef by Modu’ by Emirati artist Omar AlGurg is a recreation of spaces in traditional Emirati households that invites guests to sit and have a chat on the terrace. Guests can then progress into a living room that has a smaller bench in front of a projection of colours, each representing a different topic of discussion. The second room's layout is a bedroom, which represents the most private area of the house.
House 11
This year's edition of Sikka celebrates GCC artists in House 11 (The Khaleeji House), which showcases the works of a group of creative GCC artists through its 'Before Take Off' exhibition: a group exhibition by the Khaleeji Art Museum, curated by Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, features five GCC-based artists and one art initiative. The exhibition depicts the artists' experiences during the pandemic, highlighting the positive human attributes they would like to include in the next chapter: Life after the pandemic.
Better days
Kuwaiti artist Ahmed Al Refaii's print collection, 'Better Days,' explores and highlights the COVID-19 pandemic through a vibrant approach; capturing this period through photos in which some found themselves while others took advantage of the opportunity to create a better future for themselves.
Life After Covid
Emirati artist Ahmed Al Mahri presents his artwork 'Life After Covid' that depicts the Mona Lisa wearing a mask as if it were part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shaving Corner
With his 'Shaving Corner' installation, Omani artist Humood Al-Muqbali highlights one of the outcomes of the pandemic, which was the closure of barber shops, driving many of the youth to take matters into their own hands. The results varied from success, to failure and catastrophic failure. In this artwork, the artist embodies a luxurious contemporary barber's corner to take us back to the first days of the pandemic. Visitors will be able to recall that period of their lives, in a novel and artistic manner, to relive the experience without the pandemic.
Inner Peace
Bahraini artist Leena Al Ayoobi's artworks differ in in colour and feeling. ‘Inner Peace’ and ‘Soul Searching’ are at the core of this collection. The elements of water and air, which have numerous spiritual meanings, are evident in the artworks. Water is a source of luck and prosperity, while the sky symbolises mystery and the future; in finding our inner peace, we find paradise. As the world settles from the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new chapter begins, where new rules will become the new normal.
Into the Galaxy
‘Into the Galaxy,’ by Saudi artist Shahad Nazer, takes visitors to outer space on a journey to an entirely different planet, one that is beyond imagination. The collection is a perspective of a new world that is far away from the pandemic.
Smile and the World Will Smile Back
The idea of ​​the joint artwork ‘Smile and the World Will Smile Back’ by Emirati artists Iman Almidfa and Hessa Al-Ali focuses on the light at the end of the tunnel. The room represents the thought process that numerous people experienced during the pandemic. Many were confused with different types of thoughts, positive and negative. However, the past two years have shown us that it is important to always focus on the positive aspect of things regardless of the events that might be covered in the news or that we may experience in our personal lives. Thus, the open gaps in the walls are used to emphasise such a perspective.
Sikka Art & Design Festival 2022 is powered by (du), the Festival’s 5G telecommunications partner.
For more information about the activities featured in the Sikka Art and Design Festival 2022, please follow the festival’s official Instagram account @sikkaplatform; or visit its official website.

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