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You must know by now that team Saffron Souk get just a little bit excited about the annual return of the SIKKA Art Fair – not only does it mark the start of Art Week Dubai, but it gives us the perfect excuse to get lost amongst the alleyways of Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi Neighbourhood (formerly known as Bastikiya), while seeking out the work of those local & UAE-based artists we struggle to access throughout the rest of the year…

That’s right – SIKKA is a chance to not only experience commissioned art and installations by 50 talented Emirati artists and the locally based expats amongst it, but it often provides an opportunity to get amongst the local creative community and chat directly with those responsible for this visual feast. There is also an opportunity to get involved in art workshops, poetry evenings, and daily live performances. But let’s be honest, we quite like just going for a wander and seeing what we can find in what we consider one of the most low-key and inviting exhibition spaces Dubai has to offer…

And to us, this season #SIKKA2015 was all about bold, repetitive structures and forms, and… we LOVED it!
 

1. & 2. We could have been hypnotised by these all day… to Arabs the wind is more then just moving air.  Traditionally their lives and their thoughts have been ruled by it – it’s ties to rain, growing crops and the sail all have a direct connection to their historical liveihood. This installation represents a wind tower of a slightly different kind – a tower of cloth floating in the wind and marked with 160 names and types of wind in Arabic, along with the arabic metaphors that it has been given. We love.


  

3. & 4. External Clay Boat 2012. Kalim Al Karim – we have to be honest, it was the mass of pink feathers that captured our attention…


  

3. – 6. XVA Art Hotel – a favourite at saffronsouk.com. It was a crazy fruity haven for us when we eagerly arrived at the opening day of #Sikka2015, at what turned out to be a little too early. So while we waited for the action to kick off we took in the visual overload of artist Halim Al Karim‘s creative hostage of one of our must visit spots in Dubai.


  

7. – 10. Who knew that set design could make you laugh so much? This roof top installation had us sniggering around the sikkas of old Bastikiya like a couple of crazies…


 

11. & 12. What do you think of Ayn, a walkway installation inspired by Ayn Al Hasud (the evil eye), by Design House pair Noor Jarrah and Sara Alagroobi? Get down to Sikka and walk amongst it, to understand it…


13. Artist Flouder Lee’s installation titled ‘Water Works’. From memory Lee’s work exposes the ‘nuts & bolts’ of the typically hidden world of getting precious water from A to B; highlighting how something we take so forgranted is a precious lifeline. Although we have to say there was one amongst us who was convinced that an old (a very, very old) windows screen saver had come out to play…


14. Braidling 5. This commission celebrates local craft. It consists of a self standing structure of ‘braids’ that stand tall and proud – it’s form mirrors the columns and palm trees of the Al Fahidi district and the rope material echos that used by the skilled traditional craftsmen who make nets.


15. Architect and artist Reem Al Rawi’s work was rather eye catching… here we have three of her acrylic works, The Impossible, Abla and The Journey.


  

  

16. – 18. The Animation Chamber rediscovering old arabic folktales – oh my, how we envy this crowd! We love what they do, who they are and the fun they have. To get a better understanding of what we are on about, have a read of our first introduction to The Animation Chamber at #Sikka13 a whopping 2 years ago here.

 
19. Time to get lost amongst the pedestrian sikkas of Al Fahidi…


20.  You seriously don’t know what you will find at every turn… we bumped into Batman and his side kick… they looked busy so we left them to it. We are certain they will pop up again at comic con.


21. With at least two live performances every day (and more on the weekends!) #SIKKA2015 is one of the few free treats in life; running until 24th March – don’t miss it! For all the details click here.