Aestheticizing everyday life through culture, heritage


FUJAIRAH: Sitting by the sprawling beach in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, I enjoyed watching the light waves gently going in and out at regular intervals.

Immersed in peace and serenity of the beach in the Sea of Oman, it was difficult to imagine that the Strait of Hormuz, the site of repeated tense exchanges involving weapons, ships, mines, destroyers … was miles away.

But Fujairah is a placid and imperturbable place with good-natured and easy-going people, always ready with a smile to assist.

So, my mind, left to surf under the gentle sun of late September, was not on tense military encounters, but rather on the role of intellectuals, calligraphers and artists in modern societies amid new technology and social media that have changed the world of culture.


At Fujairah Al Badr Festival, held under the emirate’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), I was fortunate to talk with intellectuals, calligraphers and artists from different countries.

Women and men, young and old, they brought to the festival a wide breath of experiences and ambitions that the festival organizers smart juxtaposed in Fujairah Creative Center, offering visitors a unique journey into skills, originality, resourcefulness, imagination, creativity …

They were culture builders whose art and work thickened visitors’ lives with new meanings.

Over six days, Fujairah was a cultural hub for the gifted, artists, writers, and intellectuals from various countries.

The emphasis was on genuine and impressive cultural creativity, shutting out the cultural consumption, promoted by market forces, that has affected several artists and plagued festivals.

Fujairah Al Bader Festival was paired with genuine cultural activity.


I have always believed that people engaged in cultural activities should always and invariably be living spokespersons for their nation and, in a wider sense, for humanity.

They should contribute to major societal, national, and humanitarian ideas and ideals, despite the heavy pressure of modern mass consumption and its focus on the seduction, often by both mollifying and homogenizing forces, of mindless consumers.

I have been to several cultural festivals and literary forums where intellectuals and artists, acting through individualistic interests or driven by egotistic cultural opportunism, promoted a culture of meaninglessness and delirium, producing absurdity and disseminating triviality.


Fujairah beach has a splendid esplanade that stretches for kilometers, dotted with parks, playgrounds and restaurants at every turn.

It symbolizes the “aestheticization of everyday life” in the city.

Fujairah Al Bader Festival was an “aestheticization of everyday life through culture and heritage”.


Contemplating the beauty of life while staring out at the endless expanse of the sea, I recalled the images of Haji Noor Deen, the Chinese Master Calligrapher and his remarkable innovations, Maryam Al Tamimi who dedicated time, money and energy to learn the art of ebru in Istanbul while finishing her studies in the UAE, the troupes from the UAE, Oman and Egypt that mesmerized audiences with their spiritual chanting…


I had thoughts for the 100 Fujairah students who performed a dazzling operetta without the slightest mistake, the animated video about the Prophet’s Farewell Sermon and its everlasting commandments, the numerous workshops that brought new meanings to eager participants …

I thought about how Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed toured the exhibition, attended performances, rewarded winners, praised the vibrant diversity of the participations, spoke with artists and calligraphers, recognized their merits and invited them for a deeper conversation at his majlis…


Festivals shaped by genuine cultural creativity, dedicated commitment, a multifaceted vision and good planning are powerful messages to strengthen local and global cultures and preserve traditions, especially in the face of the challenges and opportunities posed by globalization.

Fujairah Al Bader Festival is definitely one of them.

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