Dubai Culture: ‘Cultural Faces’ becomes permanent  exhibition at Al Safa Art & Design Library

  • Emphasising the role of Al Safa Art & Design Library as an incubator for culture and creativity.
  • In line with the Authority’s strategy to make culture everywhere and for everyone.
  • An innovative platform to celebrate cultural leaders from around the world.
  • Visual drawings made by prominent Syrian cartoonist Hassan Idlibi

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) announced that the ‘Cultural Faces’ exhibition, previously held at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (EAFOL) 2021, will become a permanent exhibition at Al Safa Art & Design Library to familiarise the public with a renowned group of UAE and global cultural leaders.

Through this exhibition, Dubai Culture seeks to enable society members, who did not have the opportunity to visit the exhibition during EAFOL last February, to embark on an innovative experience through which they would enrich their knowledge with Arab and global literature and poetry giants. They will also enjoy paintings that blend art and literature by well-known Syrian cartoonist Hassan Idlibi, who created visual drawings celebrating the faces of this prestigious group of thinkers and writers.

This step comes as part of the Authority’s efforts to make culture available everywhere and for everyone as well as part of the sectoral priorities of Dubai Culture’s strategic roadmap 2020-2025. It also reflects the important role that Al Safa Art & Design Library plays as an incubator for creativity and culture in the emirate. This initiative comes within the framework of Dubai Culture’s keenness to enhance the vital cultural scene in the emirate and achieve its vision of consolidating the emirate’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.

Through the Cultural Faces exhibition, Dubai Culture celebrates a group of local, Arab and international cultural pioneers, including Arab literary giants, such as Emirati poet, writer and researcher Ahmed Rashid Thani; Emirati poet and writer Habib Yousuf Abdallah Al Sayegh; Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish; Egyptian author and novelist Naguib Mahfouz; Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani; poet and writer Ghazi Al Gosaibi; Saudi writer and critic Abdul Rahman Munif; a group of local and international contemporary writers and researchers, most prominent of which is Emirati writer and researcher Dr Rafia Ghubash; Emirati writer and storyteller Muhammad Ahmad Al-Murr; Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad; and Turkish writer and novelist OrhanPamuk; among many others.

Commenting on his participation, Idlibi said: “I am happy that the exhibition has permanently moved to the library to for community members and school students familiarise themselves with the symbols of culture and creativity in the Arab world and the UAE in particular. I hope that the exhibition will be well-received by the public, and I sincerely thank Dubai Culture for choosing me to participate in this cultural event during EAFOL and now at the library.”

Idlibi added: “My participation with Dubai Culture in this initiative added a modern and enriching experience in my artistic career. It is my first foray into drawing realistic faces in an attempt to express the personality of my subjects from the inside and outside, and all the paintings were digitally drawn, which is also a first for me.”

Idlibi concluded: “It is beautiful to convert literary and cultural pioneers into visual drawings using modern technologies. These are cultural faces engraved in people’s consciousness as names, and we seek to consecrate them in their visual memories as well. I look forward to compiling them in a book to further honour these literary and cultural legends.”

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