The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) recently hosted their annual Islamic Art Competition and Exhibition in celebration of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The aim of the inter-school competition is to engage students in the subject of Islamic Culture by increasing their awareness of the culture and traditions of the country and the region we live in. The event attracted participants from six different schools across the UAE who were given the unique opportunity to showcase their artistic flair.
The “Art in Culture” competition now running for its 7th year boasted with a staggering 94 entries across two categories. The participants were invited to use any form of art portraying the theme “Ramadan, a month of giving and sharing”.
A one-hour workshop titled “Styles & Strokes”, was added to the program this year and was organized for interested participants to enhance their art experience. Locally known and passionate artiste Ms Ghazaleh Abbasi was invited to facilitate the workshop, teaching the 36 participants and 6 mentors a new technique in painting using pastel and oil paint. Art teachers in attendance, along with the participants were highly appreciative of the initiative and expressed their gratitude for such a unique opportunity enabling them to further develop their artistic skills.
Through a rigorous process, the judging committee selected the winners for this year’s competition in recognition of their outstanding artistic efforts. In the category Grade 5-8, Our Own Indian School took the spotlight with Sherin Mubarak taking first place and Abhinaya Alagarsa awarded second place. Sariga Sanil from the Gulf Indian High School won third place.
Afreen Nizam from the Abu Dhabi Indian High School won first place in the category Grade 9-12, with Alfiah Sheikh and Sara Sayed Ali, both from The Central School, awarded second and third place.
During the award ceremony Dr Feras Hamza, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities said that indubitably a lot of energy and love went into the projects. He briefly discussed the history of Islamic Art and mentioned that art comes in various languages such as paintings, music and literature and that it is an expression of one’s truthful feelings to the world.
Dr Zeenath Khan, Instructor at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Science, founded the competition with the aim to increase awareness of the culture and traditions of the country and the region we are in and to allow students to capture what they saw either as photography or painting. Interestingly, although the competition focuses on Islamic Art, students from all religious faiths in the UAE participated in the event including Muslim, Christian, Hindi, Sikh and Buddhist students.
Dr Khan said, “Art is an amazing form of expression that allows us to capture the true essence of culture. I believe Art in Culture has grown to become a platform for students to express themselves and express what they understand to be the culture and tradition of the UAE”. She also said that they believe in a small way, it is helping students integrate with the local culture, understand it better and respect the differences, thus increasing tolerance.
In support of the young artistic participants, the artwork was exhibited in the UOWD library from 2-9 June.