Al Qasba hosts the return of Little Giant. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
The Sharjah Light Festival 2020, the grand celebration of architectural grandeur, culture and art of illumination, has once again turned the spotlight on the emirate’s iconic buildings, monuments and cultural and tourist attractions at 19 locations across Sharjah bringing out their beauty of design in a symphony of colours, lights and melody.
Internationally acclaimed artists and technical wizards have put together another extravaganza of lights and colour never before seen in the region, which will continue till Feb.15.
Organised by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) for the tenth consecutive year, the festival has put special focus on the rich marine life, underwater organisms and the emirate’s rich history of seafaring, fishing and pearl diving.
Speaking to the Gulf Today, SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jasim Al Midfa said that this landmark edition of the Sharjah Light Festival celebrates the success of the festival since its inception ten years ago.
The festival attracted more than 1.2 million visitors in 2019, recording a growth of 20 per cent compared to 1 million visitors in 2018, to witness 20 light shows that encapsulated the significance of familial ties and reflected the cultural values and traditions of the emirate of Sharjah across 17 different locations. This year, the visitor number is set to surpass the number recorded during the previous editions.
Referring to the unprecedented response to the festival, Al Midfa said, “The unprecedented response of massive crowds to the festival encourages us to step up our efforts to promote Sharjah’s immense potential and look forward to more such challenges and successes. We, the SCTDA team, are proud to host this historic event that opens a new era in the history of the emirate that has already earned itself a distinct position on the global tourism map.”
Taryam Omran Taryam Square is one of the few new additions to the light festival this year.
The thrilling show, titled The Snowdome, has been attracting visitors every night in hordes. There is a magical dome holding a giant Chandelier that has fallen from an invisible ceiling in the Sky. A creation of the Nomada Design Studio, it represents how precious is the Sharjah Light Festival to the country and to the people coming from all around the globe to see it and engrave it in their memory as a souvenir they carry around.
The festival shows have also renewed interest in the East Coast with iconic buildings being transformed by the medley of lights and colours, totally captivating the visitors every night.
The newly inaugurated Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Khorfakkan, is the canvas for a show based on Sharjah’s maritime and trades history. From ancient commerce where fishermen dived in the blue sea to find precious pearls and unique fish to the present day where we find the port filled with multicoloured containers, the show is a tribute to the bright Future awaiting Sharjah.
The artists, specialised in monumental 3D projection mapping, have created memorable visual experiences, bringing brightness and emotion to Sharjah’s audience. Al Qasba has been a permanent fixture of the festival ever since it began in 2011.
As the festival is celebrating a decade of success, the Little Giant returns to remind us of the beauty of the first show of the light festival in 2011. A bed-time story, a child’s dream, the little giant plays all around the buildings of Al Qasba with water, fire and colours.
Sharjah Municipality Building is another magnificent structure to serve as the canvas every year during the light festival. This year too, the building hosted the opening ceremony and since then the show, titled Glorious Sharjah, regales hundreds of visitors every night.
The four elements, fire, earth, water and air, are the thread of a visual journey in the traditional culture of Sharjah and towards the horizons of the future. The architecture unfolds element by element till the whole building seems to move away to find the first Emirati astronaut who floats in space surrounded by a visual allegory of Arab sciences.
The light festival has been successful in drawing attention to the sea and marine environment of Sharjah, which has had a long and strong seafaring tradition including fishing and diving which are enjoyed even to this day is significant. The visitors to the emirate can enjoy various marine activities, fishing, diving and water sports throughout the year.
A number of visitors and long-time residents of Sharjah said that the festival will further boost the image of the emirate, which has been popularly known as Cultural Capital of the Islamic World.
“This festival is very unique. We have witnessed spectacular fireworks across the country held to mark numerous occasions. But this festival of light, a dazzling marriage of art and the magic of light, has taken everyone’s breath away,” said Sarfaraz Hashmi, a resident of Sharjah.
For many visitors, the effervescent dance of lights accompanied by some scintillating music created a heady experience for the visitors, turning the spotlight on Sharjah’s rich cultural heritage and history. “The Light Festival is extraordinary as it has offered us the never-before-seen views of Sharjah’s distinguished landmarks and historical buildings,” said Shah Mohammed Farrukh, a visitor from Ajman.
The audiences will continue to be entranced by the electrifying coloured lights that stream out of the magnificent landmarks of the emirate, with the magical music playing in the background every evening till Feb.15.
The Sharjah Ruler began his visit by touring Kshisha Park, which includes outdoor playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment area, a lake and a jogging track, along with areas for games and skating, a children's theatre, and 55 outdoor sites.
The Sharjah Government Media Bureau said on Twitter, “Contemplate the beauty of the city of Khorfakkan from a height of 580 metres above sea level through the Al Suhub Rest House… Stay tuned for the opening on Eid Al-Adha.”
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