Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Traditional handicrafts get much-needed boost through specialized workshops

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is organising a series of specialised Emirati traditional handicrafts workshops focusing on transferring the skills and expertise of Emirati artisans to new generations.

Supervised by TCA Abu Dhabi-accredited Emirati craftswomen, the workshops will feature three crafts adroitly mastered by Emirati women over the years including ‘Talli’ embroidery, ‘Khos’ palm frond strand braiding and ‘Sadu’ weaving, and will be organised at Abu Dhabi National Theatre from 26th July to 20th August, 2015.

The workshops’ artistic production will then be displayed at an exhibition that will accompany the second National Traditional Handicrafts Festival, which is set to return to Al Ain’s Souq Al Qattara in October 2015.

Participants will learn the intricate techniques of ‘Talli’ using ‘Zari’ bright threads to decorate women’s clothes and ‘Sadu’ wool and cotton yarn weaving to make colourful, decorated fabric used in Bedouin tents. The workshops will also feature ‘Khos’ dried palm frond braiding to make baskets, mats and various other items.

"Aligning with our commitment to preserve the UAE’s heritage and culture, the workshop series complements the authority’s support of expressive arts and cultural events that contribute to promoting Abu Dhabi’s heritage, balancing deep-rooted tradition with the creation of modern customs that can make our ancestors proud," said Sumayya Al Suwaidi, Community Events Manager at the Culture Sector of TCA Abu Dhabi.

"The traditional handicrafts practiced by UAE women throughout history are characteristically innovative, pay much attention to minute artistic details and require highly technical skills to retain the piece’s aesthetic elements, particularly the ‘Sadu’ which has recently been inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, becoming a world heritage component. These workshops will keep the skills of artisans alive by transferring them to new generations, in conjunction with developing new products to help crafts maintain their value and position as important elements of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and for all humanity," added Al Suwaidi.

Accredited craftswomen receive TCA Abu Dhabi’s support with the aim of protecting traditional artisanship by giving women the chance to participate in cultural and heritage-related events, heritage competitions and productive families’ programmes inside and outside the UAE, thereby developing traditional products with modern day use.

The return of the National Traditional Handicrafts Festival follows a successful inaugural 2014/15 season, and the introduction of the new exhibition will cast a modern light on traditional products and arts in an effort to further develop handicrafts and inspire art from them. – End-

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