The 22nd edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival (SIAF) is in full swing. Being held under the theme Prospect, the festival, one of the most renowned Islamic art events in the region, is running until January 21. This year over 50 exhibitions are on display at the annual event, which is under the supervision and organisation of the Directorate of Art in Sharjah’s Department of Culture and Information. The festival that was created with the intention of exhibiting various kinds of traditional and contemporary Islamic arts is hosting 108 artists from 31 countries and showcasing a total of 241 artworks throughout the emirate, in places like the Sharjah Art Museum, Al Majaz Waterfront and Maraya Art Centre. In addition to presenting the works of local, regional and international artists, the SIAF, under the patronage of the emirate's Ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, boasts interactive activities, workshops and lectures.
“In this edition, we are in the presence of Prospect, the concept that was chosen after many attempts to create a new slogan. Prospect is a scope open to infinity. It prompts contemplation and venturing a journey towards visual realms that exist beyond the limits of space. It is admiring a beauty while being blindfolded. It is the practice of imagination that can invoke the absent beautiful and undiscovered realms," the Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Mohammed Al Qaseer, said at a press conference.
Syrian-American artist Mohamed Hafez is one of the notable participants, and his work, titled Journeys from an absent present to lost past, highlights a series of childhood memories in Syria. Emirati Moza Matter is behind The Art of Du'aa, which depicts people raising hands in Du'aa during the Haj, while another Emirati artist, Azza Al Qubaisi, is imparting Patterns. Egyptian artist Ahmed Karaly’s work, Evolving Building, can also be examined.
Some of the exhibiting artists from different corners of the world include Sinta Tantra. The British-Balinese artist, who has described her works as “painting on an architectural scale,’ is presenting Horizon to Horizon. Li Hongbo, the Chinese creator renowned for his realistic sculptures made of paper and glue, and Shozy, a Russian 3D artist, are other exciting contributors. American Mary Wagner, acknowledged for her circular work, is also participating, and for the first time, there are artists from Belarus and Australia.