DUBAI- Expo 2020 Dubai’s Design and Crafts Programme has launched MENASA – Emirati Design Platform, which showcases more than 40 local and international designers, telling stories of the UAE through exclusive curated design collections.

Millions of visitors to Expo 2020 will have the opportunity to explore and experience traditional Emirati crafts and traditions through a contemporary lens, with MENASA featuring seven exciting design collaborations between local and international artisans and designers under the title of Craft Stories, and Designer of the Week – a showcase of 24 designers and organisations from across the UAE, highlighting the breadth and vibrancy of the country’s contemporary design scene.

Dr. Hayat Shamsuddin, Senior Vice President, Arts and Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "The collective approach of MENASA, which means ‘platform’ in Arabic, is inspired by the theme and spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. By bringing together artisans and designers from the UAE and around the world, we are nurturing a rich cultural and creative dialogue that will contribute to a meaningful legacy after Expo 2020 closes its doors.

"The content that we are bringing to Expo through MENASA is innovative and intriguing, and will capture the hearts and imaginations of our visitors. We are very proud of this programme and believe that it will help to ignite a new appreciation of Emirati crafts as a contemporary and living expression of our cultural identity – locally and globally." Commissioned and curated by MENASA, Craft Stories is a dialogue between local and international designers and artisans who were invited to explore and represent Emirati crafts and culture in a new way.

A series of documentaries, shot on location around the UAE, will be exhibited alongside the design collections, drawing visitors farther into the intimate worlds of the artisans and their crafts and traditions, including clay, safeefa (palm frond weaving), talli (embroidery), sadu (bedouin weaving), gargour making (wire-crafted fish traps), pearl diving and coffee making.

Samer Yamani, Curator, MENASA – Emirati Design Platform, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "Crafts have a special, innate power to communicate a local culture, a nation and its identity. Giving this power a poetic approach, we used Emirati crafts as a communication tool and merged it with design, new technologies and materials to convey more local stories and to intensify the experience for our visitors through our exclusive design collections.

The curated selection of designers and crafts organisations at MENASA – Emirati Design Platform is drawn from 11 countries, across four continents. UAE designers and organisations include Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts, Alia Bin Omair, Ammar Kalo, Bil Arabi, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, Khalid Shafar, and Tashkeel. International designers and design brands include BD Barcelona Design (Spain), Estudio Campana (Brazil), Iwan Maktabi (Lebanon), Klove Studio (India) and Nicolas Jebran (Lebanon).

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