• Sheikha Hana bint Juma Al Majid, wife of the Ras Al Khaimah Ruler, presented items from her personal collection for exhibition at the cultural event, to show her appreciation for the efforts and participation of several embassies.

Ras Al Khaimah: As the festival approaches to an end on March 31st, the 2023 Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) has been a successful journey with a stunning opening ceremony, interactive workshops, themed weekends with immersive and striking outdoor displays of more than 215 creative works from over 40 nationalities. Under the theme of ‘Nature’, this year’s festival has been a momentous success with an estimated visitors of over 34,000 attending so far.  

To show her appreciation for the contribution of all the embassies participating at RAKFAF and for their efforts across the UAE, as well as for the participation of local and visiting artists, Sheikha Hana bint Juma Al Majid, wife of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, graciously presented items from her personal collection for exhibition at the iconic cultural event.

The personal items presented by Her Highness included gold, diamond and pearl jewelry, along with a traditional, hand-painted dress and an antique wooden chest.

“Art is more than paintings. Art brings people together by creating a common language, crossing borders and without prejudice, to forge connections in the most respectful way. Art extends us an opportunity to learn about the personality of the artist while offering a window into their culture and history. I don’t have a favorite piece of art as each one brings back a treasured memory and evokes a particular nostalgia,” Her Highness stated.

“My vision for Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is that it continues to grow and attract more international artist participation, while also retaining the warm, welcoming atmosphere created every year by Al Jazeera Al Hamra’s local community. More than a festival, RAKFAF is a celebration of Ras Al Khaimah’s culture and heritage,” added Her Highness.

The festival featured local artists such as Emiratis, Hend Rashed, Reem Al Shamsi, and Bahraini artist Hanadi Al Ghanim, all of whom depicted nature through their individual ideas. 

In addition, the festival featured distinct exhibitions from five countries - the United States, Korea, France, Netherlands and Croatia – and the artworks of seventeen school students.

This year’s special exhibitions at RAKFAF

U.S. Honorary Guest Artist and Curator Hannah Hillebrand’s love for capturing beauty shots of nature started at an early age. She felt that the natural environment is the common factor that all humankind shares, with no boundaries or borders. Hannah’s photographs offered visitors a glimpse into her world, and she hopes to inspire others to see the planet as a wondrous place.

With over 20 years of experience in the design industry, Dutch curator Margriet Vollenberg, founder of Organisation in Design, in partnership with the Netherlands Embassy presented ‘The Nature of Dutch Design’, an exhibition that showed versatile designs displayed by three artist-designers, Timothy van Oorschot, Milla Novo and Ruben van Mege, who stay very close to their own nature while creating their work.

In collaboration with the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai, Curator Myunghye Rye, represented the Korean-UAE Arts and Content Association (KUACA), exhibited the creative works of eight talented artists focusing on the recovery of human senses following the years of pandemic restrictions.

French curator and photographer Mathilde Magnier-Rebate has been a resident of the UAE since 2014 and has witnessed a decade of economic, social and environmental development in the country. Through her photographs, Magnier documented the impact of the nation’s rapid transformation on traditional Emirati landscapes, ecosystems and how much the changes have affected the relationship between people and their natural habitat. Her works are made possible courtesy of the Consulate General of France in Dubai.

A distinct exhibition reflecting the natural environment of Croatia by the Marinko Sudac Foundation was also featured as part of the festival.

RAKFAF preserves a legacy of art collectibles digitally (NFT)

The festival in collaboration with the Innovation Partner, Accenture Song, also delivered the ‘Digital Collectibles (NFT) Educational Series’. Spread over six virtual sessions, across five weeks, Accenture Song invited participants to an insightful overview of digital art and upskill in NFT creation through a reflective, collective brief focused on crafting digital memories. Over 20 artists worked to craft a collective collage that can be viewed on the RAKFAF website.

Looking ahead to the next year’s festival, the RAKFAF organizers are on the move for yet another exciting theme with more collaborations, interactive activities, artworks, installations, and film submissions. Stay tuned for more details on: www.rakfinearts.ae.