2023 FESTIVAL THEME

Nature

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The theme of nature in art has been present from as early as the first cave paintings; the lions and rhinos of Chauvet Cave, France, and the wild pig of Sulawesi, Indonesia, beginning a long tradition of humans using the world around us to inspire the creativity unique to our species and present in everyone of us. Artistic depictions of nature can be as simple as an appreciation of its unfathomable beauty or can open our minds to philosophical and spiritual ideas about our connection to nature, the universe, and beyond. They can be an attempt to understand human existence or untangle the many ways we have impacted and been impacted by our planet.

Entering our fifth year at Al Jazirah Al Harma Heritage Village, the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival has taken inspiration for its theme from the Arabian Almond, whose white-pink bloom dominates the peak of Jebel Jais from January to April. Native to Turkey, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula and found in mountainous habitats over 1,000 meters above sea level, the wood of the up to three-meter tall shrub was traditionally used to make small tribal axes, and its small bitter almond was edible once cooked. The Arabian Almond reflects both the heritage of Ras Al Khaimah and our interaction with and dependence on the natural environment, two of the many sub-themes explored in this year's submissions.

For the eleventh annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, we ask artists, filmmakers, photographers, and poets to consider their relationship with the landscape, plants and animals, fellow human beings, our planet, and the universe. We're interested in diverse voices and practices that interpret the theme in unique, compelling ways. What is our place within nature? How does nature empower creativity? How can art converse with nature?