Traditional Beauty and Adornment at Al Shindagha Museum in Dubai.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Shindagha Museum, developed by Dubai Municipality (DM) in collaboration with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Dubai Economy and Tourism Department, now showcases Dubai’s history and culture with innovative technologies.
ACCIONA Cultura has implemented conceptual exhibits, interactives, video projections and collection displays in four pavilions of the museum: Traditions, Life on the Land, Traditional Food House, and House of Poetry. Cutting edge, innovative, experiential, participatory and interactive technologies through multisensory and immersive video installations and projection mapping, together with informative graphics, have been applied.
ACCCIONA Cultura, well-established in the Middle East, has a strong presence in museums, exhibitions, expo pavilions and events. It was selected by DM to carry out the partial design, technical development and museographic execution in 17 clustered historic houses, covering a total exhibition area of 7,980 square metres.
The museum is divided into several themed pavilions in the historic houses and each pavilion focuses on a different topic relating to Dubai’s history and culture. The pavilions have been developed and the technology implemented entirely by ACCIONA Cultura. Traditions and Life on the Land pavilions are based on the design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
The Traditions pavilion includes four houses dedicated to different traditions in Emirati culture, covering an exhibition area of 2,950 square metres. This House shows significant collections of artefacts made by Emirati craftsmen using metal, pottery, wood and textile techniques.
People can also learn how to make embroidery, talli (a traditional United Arab Emirates handicraft that creates an intricate adornment for women’s clothing) or use a loom.The Traditional Beauty & Adornment House celebrates the array of clothes, hairstyles and adornments, as well as the customary ways of wearing them.
The Traditional Jewellery House displays materials, techniques and designs of jewellery pieces. Gold, silver, pearls and gemstones enrich the jewels that have been worn by generations of Emirati women. Men used to carry a knife, the Khanjar, which was sometimes of great value.
Finally, in the Traditional Healthcare House, visitors will learn about medicines and cosmetics, treatments, herbal remedies and other elements used in personal hygiene during ancient times. Plants in the three courtyards showcase the flora mentioned in the Quran, especially those connected to healing and cures with specific reference to UAE.
The Life on the Land pavilion covers an exhibition area of 3,280 square metres comprising 10 houses and a garden. The exhibition focuses on the different land environments in the UAE - desert, coast and mountain - and how Emiratis used and shared natural resources to build communities. This ‘wave’ also includes an orientation space, a native plant garden, a cafe/restaurant, and an education centre. Seven main themes contextualise the exhibition: Land, Expressions, Water, Flora and Fauna, Trade, Journeys and Landscape Garden.
The Traditional Food House covers an exhibition area of 450 square metres. Food is integral to family and community life in the UAE. It is shared among family members and relatives during special occasions and life passages, as well as served to guests, who have a place of honour in the home.
The House of Poetry includes an exhibition area of 1,300 metres that demonstrates the importance of poetry in Emirati life. It emphasises how poetry highlighted many important political, social, financial and even personal topics, and how poetry followed and sometimes changed the history of the country.
Content focuses on Emirati Poetry, but broadens its scope to the wider Gulf and the world by five main themes such as “Introduction to Poetry World”, “Emirati Poetry”, “Gulf Poetry”, “Arab Poetry” and “Universal Poetry”.
Al Shindagha Museum is the place where the Al Maktoum ruling family of Dubai originally lived. The historic houses have been reconstructed, using authentic methods by the DM Architectural Heritage and Antiquities Department, in order to respect the original construction as much as possible.
ACCIONA Cultura’s achievements in the Middle East include the National Museum of Oman, Dubai Expo 2020 (Sustainability Pavilion, UAE Pavilion, Spanish Pavilion, Youth Pavilion, Expo Live Pavilion, Thematic Pavilions and Micro-museums), as well as the Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace and the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi.
Since 1990, it has been developing creative, technological, and sustainable solutions for cultural, corporate and leisure industries around the world. Its portfolio includes projects in 41 countries across five continents; it has received 141 awards to date.
Dubai Culture has also prepared a special edition for this year’s summer camp taking place across Dubai public libraries, that seeks to enrich the imaginations of young people during the summer holidays through a set of interactive workshops, blending arts, entertainment and fun (Aug. 1 – 28).
Over four weeks, young and adolescent children can look forward to innovative journeys in an entertaining and cultural atmosphere that will transform the branches of Dubai Public Library in Al Twar, Al Mankhool, Al Rashidiya, Hatta, Hor Al Anz, and Umm Suqeim, as well as in Al Safa Art and Design Library, into spaces of entertainment and education.
The activities help them set them off on journeys of discovery that include explorations in the fields of arts, drawing, literature and handicrafts, as well as host competitions and entertainment. The activities have been created for two age categories: 5- to 9-year-olds and 11- to 15-year-olds, for Dhs210 for members of Dubai Public Library and Dhs420 for non-members.
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