Winners of biennial Al Burda Award announced at Expo 2020 Dubai

Winners of biennial Al Burda Award announced at Expo 2020 Dubai

The 16th Al Burda Award has been given to 30 winners over six categories at this year’s Al Burda Festival. Held at Expo 2020 Dubai, the biennial festival, which celebrates Islamic arts and culture, returns after being postponed last year owing to the pandemic.

The winners – split into the categories of classical poetry, Nabati poetry, modern calligraphy, ornamentation and typography – will receive cash prizes starting from Dh10,000 and going up to Dh70,000. The talents were chosen from submissions through an open call held over the summer.

Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE's Minister of Culture and Youth, was present at the ceremony on Sunday evening to hand over the awards to the winners. Speaking of the award earlier this year, she said: “With the rapid developments taking place in the world, we must preserve the heritage embodied by the award and promote diversity in Islamic culture.

“We must develop this heritage and integrate it into the culture of the age, so that it is available for the younger generations to enrich their knowledge of the Islamic heritage."

Launched in 2004, Al Burda Award was created to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and to function as a global platform for Islamic arts. Since its creation, the award has recognised 300 artists for their talents and work.

Taking place between Sunday and Tuesday at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, South Hall, in Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Burda Festival also includes a diverse programming of art exhibitions, talks, masterclasses, screenings and live performances exploring the theme of Transcending Spaces, Discovering the World.

Among the highlights of the festival is the inclusion of a work from Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond: Artist Commissions this year, specifically an interactive installation by Rasheed Araeen, a pioneer of Minimalism.

Araeen’s work operates as a communal cafe constructed out of eight gazebos affixed in a square. Titled Shamiyaana, the installation draws inspiration from the concept of shamiyaanas, or marquees, found in the Indian subcontinent that are used as sites of gathering.

The festival will also feature panel discussions by important figures in the regional art scene, including Hala Khayat, Souraya Noujaim, Manal Ataya, Nujoom Alghanem and Isobel Abulhoul, to name a few.

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