A Journey Through Time: The Evolution of Ras Al Khaimah Art

12 March 2024

Steeped in 7,000 years of history, the UAE’s ‘Nature Emirate’ Ras Al Khaimah is undergoing an unprecedented period of economic growth, with tourism, real estate and sustainability taking center stage. Within this dynamic ecosystem, Ras Al Khaimah Art has flourished to become the Emirate’s landmark celebration of culture and the arts.

Inspired by the vision of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the festival was conceived to showcase the Emirate’s artistic talent and foster cultural exchange. Launching at Ras Al Khaimah’s National Museum in 2013 as a three-day exhibition, Ras Al Khaimah Art has evolved into a month-long annual event, welcoming 106 local and international artists from 35 countries in 2024, alongside 45,000 visitors.


Vision & Teamwork

Founding Executive Director of the Al Qasimi Foundation and Ras Al Khaimah Art organiser, Dr. Natasha Ridge acknowledged the event’s potential early on and explored avenues for expansion. During a visit to La Gacilly in France, she encountered a village transformed into an outdoor art gallery and envisioned a similar concept for Ras Al Khaimah Art: “I knew the perfect place.”

Listed on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites, Al Jazeera Al Hamra Heritage Village is the UAE’s last-surviving pearl-fishing village, representing centuries of architecture, trade and culture. Encompassing a fort, watchtowers, a mosque, souq and traditional dwellings, the magical site is defined by a labyrinth of stone alleyways and today, by Ras Al Khaimah Art.

“It’s not just an art festival, it’s also a historical site, which attracts a much wider audience,” says Dr. Ridge.

Ras Al Khaimah Art’s repertoire has expanded to include a range of artistic expressions, from workshops and film screenings to live performances and an art exploration program. “Last year, we saw 1000 students participate in workshops and tours. By connecting our youth with history and culture, we adopt a sustainable approach to the arts,” says Dr. Ridge.


Cultivating Global Connections

Ras Al Khaimah Art plays a pivotal role in promoting Ras Al Khaimah as a cultural destination. By providing a platform for local artists alongside international counterparts, Ras Al Khaimah Art also contributes to the cultural and economic progress of the UAE.

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