DUBAI, 29th April, 2018 (WAM) — The Cultural Office of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has launched the ‘Let’s Talk Art’ initiative as a knowledge-sharing platform that brings together experienced artists and art and design students across UAE universities.
The initiative is designed to encourage passion for the arts amongst the youth and enhance their participation in the UAE’s arts and culture scene. It was developed in light of the increasing number of art and design students in the UAE, which reflects the country’s leading position in innovation and creativity.
Al Maha Al Bastaki, Director of The Cultural Office of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “The ‘Let’s Talk Art’ initiative has been launched in line with Her Highness’s ongoing commitment to develop the cultural sector in the UAE and foster the next generation of artistic talent through connecting students with experienced artists. These efforts contribute to strengthening the local arts movement, in line with the UAE’s firm belief in the important role that art and culture plays in the country’s development process.”
Al Maha added: “The ‘Let’s Talk Art’ initiative builds communication bridges amongst different generations of artists. This will inspire young talent and provide them with the opportunity to explore new experiences which benefit their artistic careers, through an interactive platform that also introduces them to various techniques.”
The first session of the initiative, entitled ‘An Artist’s Journey’, was hosted by the young Emirati artist, Zeinab Alhashemi, in the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, Dubai. Zeinab expressed her gratitude for the support that Sheikha Manal has provided to the UAE’s art sector and artists across all age groups, especially the youth, and her pleasure to participate in the initiative at Zayed University, where she graduated from in 2008.
During the session, Zeinab Alhashemi discussed her journey as an artist, and the various turning points in her life to the students. Zeinab said: “When I graduated from university after studying art and its history, I had normal dreams. I expected that I would pursue art as a hobby alongside my day job. I started a job at a bank, but day after day, I felt that I wasn’t achieving my ambitions because my passion truly lies in creating art.”
Zeinab Alhashemi said that following a serious car accident, she was in recovery for a long period, and that challenge was a major turning point in her life. Zeinab said: “During that time, my interest in art developed as a way of expressing myself and releasing my thoughts into the rich arts scene in the UAE. The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a prime example of the UAE’s commitment to developing a thriving arts community, by organising a wide range of activities and providing various opportunities for artists to achieve their dreams.”
She added: “The most important thing I have learned throughout my career is to be open to all opinions. An artist needs to learn to accept criticism and take advantage of it as a motivation to grow. There is an artist in all of us. We have to discover our strengths and invest in them to achieve our objectives and benefit our society.”
Born and based in Dubai, Zeinab Alhashemi is a conceptual artist and designer who specialises in site-specific installation, and spatial art. Alhashemi executes visionary art through raw and overlooked materials. Through her work, Zeinab forges a connection between honoured traditions and distinguished contemporary pieces by collaborating with artisans and craftsmen during a process of exploration.