Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) and Royal Patron of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi), was in Murano, Italy, to attend the launch of ‘Crafts Dialogue’ – a unique project that has brought together the NAMA affiliate, Irthi, and Barcelona-based Creative Dialogue to create works, which will marry Emirati and international crafts into contemporary designs.
Through Crafts Dialogue, Emirati artisans from Irthi will collaborate with international designers to create four capsule collections fusing the Emirati crafts of Talli, Safeefah, and clay, with Italian Murano glass, and Spanish leather.
The final collections will be shared worldwide through a series of international launches in 2019.
Taking Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi’s vision to empower Emirati craftswomen and preserve traditional Emirati crafts forward, this new initiative by Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council seeks to elevate the UAE’s local crafts industry to new levels by helping talented craftswomen reinterpret their work, exchange knowledge and experience with international designers, and enhance the quality, luxury element and global appeal of their crafts.
In Italy, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi visited the Murano Glass Museum, met with museum officials, and discussed with them ways to enhance cooperation for the Crafts Dialogue project. Her Highness also visited one of the Murano glass factories, saw the glass-making process and welcomed ideas for merging Emirati and Italian artistic expertise for the project.
Jawaher Al Qasimi observed: “Through centuries, crafts have been a centrifugal force that preserve and promote our communal identities; characteristics that give every community in the world their uniqueness. Crafts were considered essential elements of daily life, and today, are prized worldwide. They are tangible proof of the immense talent and aesthetic knowledge of our artists and artisans. To keep their creativity alive, and to keep our heritage growing, we want to develop Emirati crafts and promote their beauty around the world. In the process, we want to celebrate and learn about crafts around the world, which is why dialogues like the Crafts Dialogue are so important.”
Her Highness added: “To all our sons and daughters in Sharjah and the UAE, we tell you that a craft is not only a means to earn a living, a hobby or a pastime. It is what forms the identity of the UAE. Our crafts are the legacy of our forefathers, and must be protected and preserved for future generations to cherish and learn from. We want you to from a friendship with your history; you must understand that a pursuit of modernity doesn’t mean letting go of the past. The past is what shows us the way to our future. You can always count on it.”
Crafts Dialogue: Four exclusive collections
The first phase of the Crafts Dialogue project will be defined by four exclusive collections. The first collection, an Emirati–Emirati dialogue, will feature artistic product designs combining Talli and Safeefah. The second collection will artistically marry Safeefah with clay.
The third collection emerges from an Emirati–Italian dialogue, to feature bold fusion of Emirati clay and Italian Murano glass. The final collection is a product of an Emirati–Spanish dialogue, which will integrate luxurious Spanish leather with delicately-braided Talli designs.
The Talli and Safeefah elements of the collection will be contributed by artisans of the Bidwa Social Development Programme – an Irthi initiative