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UAE National Day Celebrations Integrate Sustainable Art for the First Time

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

With the motto of IWS Arabia to engage for social impact, this year, the UAE's 51st National Day celebrations have produced the first-of-its-kind integration of what it means to be genuinely sustainable.

The artistic landscape across the UAE witnessed the collaboration of artists from the 24th to the 27th of November to produce Sustainable Art well in time for the national day celebrations. Noted Emirati and ex-pat artists, representatives from the People of Determination (POD), and corporate art enthusiasts came together to create and promote - Sustainability through Art.

The initiative led by IWS (International Watercolour Society) Arabia provided a platform for the community to closely interact with the Masters and encourage artists to create, appreciate and promote Sustainable Art and make watercolours the preferred medium of choice across the UAE. The workshops and panel discussions were held at the University of Dubai, Canadian University Dubai and concluded at DIFC Gate Avenue.

Apart from 150 ex-pats who participated, the event witnessed over 50 Emirati artists who came together to showcase artworks. The People of Determination were actively engaged in sessions where they could learn the art from the Masters and take home their masterpieces. In addition, over 30 change makers across the UAE were recognized for contributing to sustainable development.

16-year-old Rashika Rathore from Sobha Heartland was awarded the Young Change Maker Award for her contribution towards energizing the youth across Jammu & Kashmir and for her efforts in bridging the rural-to-global connection across the education sector.

Noted artists include Abdul Qader Al Rais, Khalil Abdul Wahid, Faisal Abdul Qader Bastaki, Ahmed Rukni, and Sumaya Al Rais, and personalities Aqil Al Najjar, HE. Aarefa Al Falahi, BOD, RAK Chamber of Commerce, Murina Yousuf Alblooshi, GM – Al Matiya Group, Dr Mubeena Iqbal- Amity University, Haya Aseer – Arab Youth Centre

H.E. Yasser Al Gergawi, Director General - Sandooq Al Watan, commented, “The Spirit of the UAE is a true example of showcasing the rich Emirati talent and culture that prevails. Sustainability through Art showcases these dimensions. For the first time in the history of the UAE, Emirati artists and ex-pats are getting together and collaborating on sustainable development initiatives through Art and Culture”.

Bal Krishen, Chairman and CEO of Century Financial, commented, 'Partnerships and collaborations are the need of the hour and here is where Century Financial goes all out to support the UAE's art and culture through empowering the Emirati artists. We are delighted to contribute to this important area of education and economic development for the nation's welfare”.

Dr Eesa Bastaki, President – of the University of Dubai, commented, “Art is creativity that inspires innovation and shapes today’s world. Most of today's advanced technologies were first created by artists in the past either through movies, drawings, paintings, or sculptures; hence it has now become a reality.” He added, “For the sustainability of a product, we should not only focus on the innovativeness, engineering, technology and usefulness, but also on aesthetics so that it can always be in demand. Through many years engineering designs based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) needed a seller for the designs, so STEAM was introduced. Here A in STEAM stands for art which focuses on the aesthetics of the products designed... This is where the art comes into being in engineering design.”

Also commented Mrinmay Sebastian, President – of IWS Arabia, “Sustainability through Art is our way to maintain a re-generative existence of all art forms. It's time we educate our youth on what is good for the environment and ensure we create platforms for growth and sustenance.

Another event highlight was the panel discussions on diverse sustainability areas, including Arts and Culture: Drivers and Enablers of Sustainable Development at the University of Dubai. Day 2 witnessed noted personalities discussing Transforming Mindsets for a more Inclusive and Sustainable Culture Day 3 was about Imagining and Building the Future We Want – Leadership Perspectives on Challenges and Opportunities. Day 4 concluded with a discussion on Driving Partnerships and Collaborations for more Sustainable & Inclusive Communities.

Industry thought leaders -Hanane Benkhallouk, Sameera Fernandes – Century Financial, Noha Hefny, People of Impact, Charul Jaitley from Matiti Group, Kirsten Westholter – Predixa, Mazen Kanaan – House of Pops, Hanane Ellaiti from Canadian University Dubai, Eleni Kitra -PeopleFirst Group, Nadia Ibrahim – UN Global Compact and Farnek, Abeer Almehairbi - Tally&Co, Mai El-Kinawi – True North Consulting, Selina Bieber - GoDaddy, Matteo Boffa, Elena Primikiri – VFS Global, participated in the various panels across the four days.

The initiative also partnered with the UN PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education), the academic initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, which contributed organization of this event as the ME A Chapter. The University of Dubai and the Canadian University of Dubai have hosted the event as academic partners.

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