Photo above: Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme (2014), 2015 / Courtesy of Art Dubai 2015
Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE, the programme is a partnership between Art Dubai and The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which was established in 2013 to drive forward regional development within the arts.
“Partnering with Art Dubai for the third year to organize the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program is part of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s impetus to better arts education for children,” said Mona Bin Kalli, Director of The Cultural Office. “By tapping into children’s imaginations, at this crucial time in their development, we aim to develop a new generation of creatives to pursue careers in the UAE’s ever growing and evolving arts scene.”
Left: Mona Bin Kalli, Director of Sheikha Manal Cultural Office, 2015. Courtesy : Sheikha Manal Cultural Office / Right: Nicolás Paris; featured artist for the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme, 2015. Courtesy of Nicolás Paris
Art Dubai and The Cultural Office have invited Colombian artist Nicolás Paris to create and lead the workshops in 2015. Paris’s practice uses drawing, collaboration and collective thinking as tools to teach young people to think creatively and to experiment with art; he has previously led children’s programmes at the Venice Biennial, New York’s New Museum, and Kadist Foundation, Paris, among other institutions. For Art Dubai, Paris has developed a special programme, titled ‘Unlearning’, which sees children and teenagers (aged 5-17) encouraged to tap into their imaginations via performance, drawing, poetry and conceptual art.
“My work strives to push the boundaries of conventional arts education, creating an environment for exchange and artistic collaboration where I can provide participants with tools to explore their own imagination,” says Nicolás Paris.
The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program 2015 also includes a range of interactive tours for children and teenagers, designed to bring alive the galleries and exhibited artworks. Artist and Art Dubai’s children’s coordinator Basil Al Zeri has designed thematic ‘maps’ that lead children on a journey through the fair; UAE-based artists are then commissioned to lead the tours, and so inspire a new generation of cultural enthusiasts to engage with art.
This year‘s Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program also expands to include a week of workshops in Dubai schools the week before Art Dubai. Nicolás Paris is working with UAE-based artists to develop a special programme of schools-based activities for both primary- and secondary-age youth. UAE-based families are particularly encouraged to attend Art Dubai on Thursday March 19- Friday 20-Saturday 21, when the fair features a range of talks, tours and events, as well as the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program.