The House of Wisdom provides an immersive space for learning and accessing knowledge.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The iconic House of Wisdom, a futuristic social and cultural hub in Sharjah, has been shortlisted as ‘The Library of the Year’ in the ninth edition of the International Excellence Awards organised by the London Book Fair (LBF).
Celebrating publishing achievement across 11 categories, the International Excellence Awards recognise the hard work of organisations and individuals demonstrating passion, creativity, and innovation within the industry.
Developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in celebration of the emirate’s year-long tenure as Unesco World Book Capital 2019, the House of Wisdom powers the cultural movement in the emirate and the region with a total of 407,500 books, of which 322,000 are in the digital format and 85,500 comprise books in more than 12 languages.
Students, researchers, and individuals from across the world can also access an additional 52,000 videos and 26,000 online journals at Sharjah’s new cultural hub which blends traditional and digital sources of knowledge and supports interactive learning.
Providing an immersive space for learning, sharing, creating, and accessing knowledge, the House of Wisdom aligns with Sharjah’s quest to develop a knowledge-based society and aims to revolutionise the way people gain knowledge.
Designed by international architecture ﬁrm Foster + Partners, the futuristic hub also provides a nurturing space for creative makers and passionate innovators to work on their next-generation ideas.
Other shortlisted nominees in LBF’s ‘Library of the Year’ Award includes City of Johannesburg (South Africa) and “Fran Galovic” Koprivnica Public Library (Croatia).
The House of Wisdom opened recently the ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’, the first non-fungible token (NFT) art exhibition in Sharjah, featuring the artworks of a diverse group of 60 international and 15 local artists engaged in the digital and crypto art world.
Targeting artists, tech enthusiasts, cultural institutions, and art collectives, the exhibition aims to bridge the gap between traditional and digital art worlds and introduce visitors and the art community to the new wave of creativity that is transforming the art landscape worldwide.
Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, Shurooq; Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of the House of Wisdom and Xavier Tsang-Herbrich, Founder of Global Art Exhibition (GAE), were among the prominent guests at the opening of the exhibition.
Hosted at the dynamic, multifunctional Al Khawarizimi Exhibition space at the House of Wisdom until 15th April, ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’ is organised in collaboration with Global Art Exhibition (GAE), a multidisciplinary global project connecting talents, and the MORROW Collective, the UAE’s leading NFT curatorial initiative.
Covering a multitude of themes, the physical iteration of the NFT art exhibition is held across 24 screens and shines a spotlight on how NFTs can be used in various genres – from portraiture and landscape to abstract and surreal, and from sculpture to virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Artists from across the MENA region, Europe, Asia, and the USA are being represented in the ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’ exhibition in two consecutive rotational rounds, each featuring over 30 international artists, and paired with a selection of 15 Emirati and UAE-based artists.
Commenting on the exhibition’s opening, Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of the House of Wisdom, said, “The innovative theme of this exhibition – non-fungible token and the metaverse, ties in with the mission of the House of Wisdom to provide a nurturing space for fostering cross-cultural dialogues and exchange of knowledge in varied disciplines. We aim to explore new ways to support contemporary art and artists with the technology of NFT and blockchain as we expand on the concept of decentralisation to make art accessible to all.”
Elaborating on the choice of Sharjah to host the exhibition, Stefano Favaretto, NFT artist, curator of the exhibition and Co-founder of Global Art Exhibition (GAE), said, “To us, Sharjah is a place of opportunities, a place that is deeply rooted with cultures and art, a place where many diverse voices are heard, and knowledge is exchanged. This collaboration exemplifies the very similar values that we share, of supporting and promoting art and artists in a modern and contemporary way.”
After five days of showcasing the Emirati culture to Russians at the 32nd Moscow International Book Fair (MIBF 2019), Sharjah – the World Book Capital 2019 – has wrapped up its ‘Guest City’ participation at the fair, going down the pages of history as the first Arab city to be offered this honour by Russia’s largest book fair.
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