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Sharjah Art Museum: A Cultural Oasis in the Heart of the UAE


Sharjah Art Museum: A Cultural Oasis in the Heart of the UAE


By SABN, April 15, 2024



Nestled in the vibrant heart of Sharjah, the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Sharjah Art Museum stands tall as a testament to the emirate's unwavering dedication to nurturing the arts. Since its grand opening in 1997, this esteemed institution has not only played a pivotal role in elevating public appreciation for art but has also become a beacon of cultural enlightenment and social cohesion.


Under the visionary leadership of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the museum was inaugurated with the noble aim of making art accessible to all. Central to its mission is the celebration of both the region's rich cultural heritage and the dynamic expressions of contemporary artists, showcasing the intricate interplay between tradition and innovation in the arts scene.


Alya Al Mulla, the museum's curator, emphasizes its foundational philosophy, stating, "Being the first purpose-built art museum in the Gulf region, it had a very significant role to play in shaping the art and culture scene that has contributed immensely in the broader sense."


Over the years, the Sharjah Art Museum has hosted a diverse array of exhibitions, numbering over a hundred, spanning themes from classical Islamic art to modern and contemporary works. This commitment to diversity ensures that every visitor finds something resonant and enriching.


One standout series, the Lasting Impressions exhibitions, launched in 2010, annually celebrates the lifetime achievements of distinguished Arab artists. Notable names featured include Abdul Qader Al Rais, Najat Makki, and Samia Halaby, among others. Al Mulla emphasizes the importance of presenting these artists' legacies authentically to the public, fostering understanding and appreciation for various art forms.


The museum's extensive collection boasts works from renowned artists from the Middle East and beyond, each piece telling a story that reflects the artist's background, experiences, and a commentary on the region's complex history.


Among its most celebrated collections is the permanent exhibition dedicated to pioneering Arab artists like Louay Kayyali, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Ismail Fattah, and Faiq Hassan, preserving their artistic legacies for generations to come.


However, the museum's impact extends beyond its exhibitions. Through educational programs, workshops, and interactive tours, it has made art accessible and engaging for people of all ages and backgrounds. In 2023 alone, the museum conducted over 138 workshops engaging more than 2661 participants, demonstrating its commitment to fostering art appreciation in the community.


Moreover, the Sharjah Art Museum serves as a platform for both professional and amateur artists to showcase their work, offering opportunities for exposure and connection with a wider audience through events like the Sharjah Biennial.


As the museum continues to evolve, it remains a pivotal destination for those eager to explore the vibrant world of art in the region. Its inclusive approach, accommodating community members of all ages and abilities, reinforces its reputation as a welcoming space for everyone.


Beyond its role as a cultural hub, the Sharjah Art Museum is a beacon of hope and social cohesion, leveraging art and culture to enrich the community's mental and physical well-being. Through collaborative efforts with experts, the museum recognizes the profound influence of art on holistic health, further solidifying its status as a pillar of cultural enlightenment in the UAE.

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