Maraya Art Centre, the innovative contemporary visual arts hub and initiative by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) – hosted the fourth edition of the popular and innovative PechaKucha Night Sharjah.

Co-organised by Sharjah natives Salem Al Qassimi, founder of Fikra Design Studio and Maryam Al Dabbagh, an independent writer and researcher, the event – and innovative platform for creative expression – took place on the 22nd of February at the Maraya Community. Based on a simple 20x20 format, which allows each presenter to show 20 images with 20 seconds allocated per image, PechaKucha Nights are geared to encourage brief and lucid presentations, offering an impressive opportunity to aspiring artists, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and members of the general public to express their ideas, showcase their talents, reach out, and network.

image Group photo, from right Mohamed Al Serkal, Salem Al Qassimi, founder of Fikra Design studio, Farhana Abdelhakim, Ghadir El Ghafri, Farah Shamma, Yorgos Kleivokiotis, Mohammed Al Nabulsi and Yazan / Courtesy of Maraya Art Centre

Speaking about the event, Maraya Art Centre’s Manager Giuseppe Moscatello said, "To say that the PechaKucha series of events have been a resounding success is an understatement at the very least. These evenings have been an invaluable outlet for the creativity of the people of Sharjah and the UAE and we have seen some truly remarkable concepts and ideas presented. We look forward to seeing many more talented individuals step forward to share their innovations and progressive thoughts and ideas with us and will continue to support the creativity of the people of the UAE."

This fourth edition of PechaKucha Night Sharjah once again featured a diverse selection of projects and topics. Moza Al Matrooshi from Xpose introduced The Idea Factory. This innovative space will house fabrication and prototyping machinery, allowing people to test out their ideas before launching their start-ups, initiate collaborations, and bounce ideas back and forth. This yet to be fully realized space is still in its early stages of planning and this presentation aims to highlight the importance of spaces such these that incubate ideas in the region.

Shedding light on not-for-profit project, that he started while living Dubai in 2010 and that has drawn global interest, but is not widely known in the UAE, Yorgos Kleivokiotis presented UP Greek Tourism. This project crowd-funded three advertising billboards promoting tourism in Greece – in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus, and DC – creating a strong positive stories about Greeks in international media in the middle of a financial crisis.

On a lighter note, stand-up comedian and advertising exectutive Rami Salame explore a ‘connection’ that he has found between popcorn and the origin of human communication. The presentation was a humorous one, pretending to have uncovered a conspiracy around popcorn, which, in short, links the discovery of popcorn thousands of years ago with the development of human writing.

image Stand-up comedian and advertising executive Rami Salame presenting a ‘connection’ that he has found between popcorn and the origin of human communication / Courtesy of Maraya Art Centre

Staying loosely on the topic of writing, Mohamed Al Sarkal took the opportunity to talk about his experiences and how they inspired a change in his life which resulted in him starting his blog ‘The Awkward Corner’, Farah Shamma and Yazan presented their special project to promote spoken word/poetry in Arabic – ‘IIla Shamal Afrikya / Spreading Spoken Word'.

image Pecha Kucha Night Vol4 / Mohamed Al Sarkal speaking about his experience and how they inspired a change in his life which resulted in him starting his blog ‘The Awkward Corner’ / Courtesy of Maraya Art Centre

Mohammed Al Nabulsi’s presentation aimed to highlight the work being done by the Sharjah City of Humanitarian Services, which works to change society's attitude and behaviour towards the disabled, and to influence government policies in favour of those with special needs. It means paving the way to a brighter future for both mentally and physically challenged children, giving them confidence, knowledge, education, and a chance to live in society with equal opportunities. Since its establishment in 1979, the Humanitarian City has been providing services for more than 2,000 people with disabilities from birth to 25 years of age and from all nationalities. There was also a special presenter in the person of Farhana Abdelhakim, the first hearing impaired student to complete a university degree in the UAE.

The final presentation for the night was delivered by Ghadir El Ghafri, who introduced her start-up online grocery service and a mobile application. This service allow users to order the top selling groceries (i.e. top 200) from hypermarkets and supermarkets such as Cooperative Societies and Carrefour and have them deliver straight to their homes across the UAE.

Hosting PechaKucha Night Sharjah is in line with Maraya Art Centre’s commitment to provide the community in Sharjah with a platform for creative individuals to network and be inspired.

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