SHARJA H: The ongoing urban and cultural art festival “Twinge SHJ” at the Maraya Art Centre of Sharjah’s cultural hub Al Qasba drew a full house on Tuesday as it hosted a night dedicated to stand-up comedy.
Thrilled by an unparalleled response to the festival, Sharif Abaza of Sphere Events, organisers of the festival, said the Twinge SHJ, which is happening for the first time in the emirate, has been much more successful than its inaugural edition.
“Today we have reached the middle of the festival, but are much more satisfied than our maiden event. The number of artistes who have joined us so far was quite big. But more encouraging is the response from the audience,” he said.
The event presented artistes of various nationalities who picked incidents from their surroundings to make the audience laugh. Jamal Iqbal from India, Ismail Salehi from Iran, Omar Shamsi from Egypt, Andre Renald from the United States, Mai Assaf from Lavante and Emirati artist Omar Ismail were also thrilled by the response.
“This festival is a unique initiative. What is more encouraging is the overwhelming support from the multi-ethnic society of the UAE. People are showing strong response to the events. Credit goes to the organisers of Twinge festival for creating such a community here,” said Omar.
Commending the initiative, Mai Assaf said, “It is a good way to create awareness in the community about art and culture. Performing at Twinge SHJ is specially significant for us as Sharjah has been regarded as the centre of art and culture in the country.”
Host of the evening Andre said that the group has performed in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain. But his wish to perform live in the northern Emirate was fulfilled at the event. “For an artiste, it is an honour to perform in Sharjah,” he said.
Ismail Salehi praised the organisers for organising an event which not only raised awareness about the local art and culture but also brought people of different groups under one roof.
On Wednesday, the festival will host a group of publishers.
‘The animals are the art’By Mariecar Jara-Puyod
SHARJAH: At two corners of the Maraya Art Centre at the UAE’s cultural capital’s Al Qasba are a series of frames bearing subtly-coloured animals.
Unquestionably, these frames light up a side of the gallery to which a visitor gets drawn. More so, since on closer look, the animals – a dozen in all – are not only identified by their common names but by their scientific names, as well.
For instance, the Skittering Frog has also been labelled as Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis; the Arabian Tahr, Arabitragus jayakari; and the Brown Spotted Reef Cod, Epinephelus chlorostigma.
One wonders. In an interview, Deema Hatahet, the illustrator and graphic designer, explained, “The animals are the art. “I want to raise awareness about them because they are endangered and not much is known about the topic,” added the first-time participant at the Sharjah 2012 edition of the urban and cultural art festival “Twinge,” known as “Twinge SHJ.”
The 22-year old, Hatahet, who was born in her native Damascus, Syria, has been a UAE resident all her life. Hatahet wants to make use of her talent for a crusade.
Like her fellow Syrian festival participants, art jewellery makers Leila Akeel and Salam Suwaidi, she started to realise her artistic side at a young age.
Doodling and scribbling with a pencil is what Hatahet has been doing since she was a toddler.
With strong family support, she earned a degree in Fine Arts and Design from the University of Sharjah and through her exposure in campus and out-of-campus exhibitions and competitions, the winner of several awards is now campaigning for everyone’s contribution to the conservation of the three animals, apart from the green sea turtle, white-tailed mongoose, hare, sand gazelle, Arabian leopard, peregrine falcon, sand cat, fennec fox and houbara bustard.
Research has shown that green sea turtles that normally live in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world have an estimated 88,520 nesting females left.
“A 2006 Arabian Forum Conservation Workshop indicated there were fewer than 200 leopards remaining in the Arabian Peninsula” with the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website categorising the animals as “critically endangered.”
The reason why she chose to combine digital art and painting for her cause is that she wants her message to be “crisp and clear.”
For her, joining “Twinge SHJ” is the appropriate way to reach out to others and to spread the cause for the 12 animals, which she has also featured in desktop calendars and double-sided postcards.
A run through Hatahet’s profile, posted alongside the frames states: “The calendar contains illustrations and information (on) the 12 animals, each representing a month in which the viewers can link through their birth month.”
Another statement goes: “The postcards are a reminder to the people of how these animals do not want to be limited, thus, spreading the illustrative postcards around the world.”
“I hope I get enough help,” Hatahet said.
For her, community involvement is for the young and old alike.
“We are all here to help each other. We are one big family in the UAE so each one of us must try our best to give our best for all of us,” said Hatahet.