Things to Do

Get Ready for an Exciting Experience at the Sikka Art and Design Festival This Weekend

The Sikka Art and Design Festival is returning this weekend for another exciting showcase of creativity and culture in Dubai. For those unfamiliar, Sikka is an annual festival held in the historic Al Shindagha district that brings together over 500 artists to display their works across the area’s many traditional houses and winding alleyways.

With paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, comics, animation, films, performances, workshops, talks, and more, there is something for all ages and interests to enjoy at Sikka. Read on to learn about some of the key things you can experience at this weekend’s festival.

Overview of the Sikka Art and Design Festival

The Sikka Art and Design Festival began in 2014 as an initiative of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority to support local artists and provide a platform for creative talents from the UAE and wider region. It has the dual goals of promoting the growth of the arts community in Dubai while also increasing public access, awareness and participation in the arts.

This year promises even more creativity on display across the festival’s many venues centered around the heritage houses and narrow lanes that characterize old Dubai. With expanded programming and exciting new elements added, Sikka 2023 is shaping up to be the biggest and best one yet!

Mention of the festival’s return this weekend

After months of eager anticipation, the Sikka Art and Design Festival is finally returning this weekend! From March 9-19, the historic Al Shindagha district will transform into a vibrant creative hub showcasing the incredible breadth of artistic talent in Dubai and the UAE.

With Sikka 2023 just days away, now is the perfect time to clear your weekend schedule and make plans to experience this one-of-a-kind celebration of arts and culture in the heart of historic Dubai. Don’t miss out on a chance to be inspired!

Emphasis on the variety of activities and attractions available

One of the best parts of the Sikka Art and Design Festival is the incredible variety of creative activities and attractions on offer. Rather than focusing on any one medium or genre, Sikka brings together a diverse mix of art forms and experiences for visitors to enjoy.

At this year’s festival you can explore massive street art murals with interactive augmented reality elements, drop into intimate studio spaces to chat with artists, enjoy musical and dance performances on outdoor stages, join hands-on art workshops, attend thought-provoking panel talks, let the little ones run wild in the children’s art playground, and so much more.

With so many wonderful options to experience, you’ll want to make multiple visits to the festival to truly take it all in. The good news is entrance is free for all visitors, removing barriers and allowing the community to participate. Mark those calendars and don’t miss out on the creative extravaganza!

Festival Features

As Dubai’s premier celebration of arts and culture, the Sikka Art and Design Festival has plenty of impressive features that make a visit this March an unforgettable experience. From the scale and diversity of creative works on display to the unique festival atmosphere, there is so much to discover.

Description of the diverse creative displays by over 500 artists

The beating heart of Sikka is undoubtedly the incredible range of artworks created by over 500 emerging and established artists from the UAE and wider region. Spanning every medium from painting to sculpture, street art to installation, interactive technologies to film and animation, the festival offers visitors a panoramic view of the creative landscape.

As you explore the atmospheric alleyways of Al Shindagha, spectacular artworks can be discovered around every corner. Massive vibrant murals from renowned street artists contrast with intimate abstract paintings in dusty studios. Interactive robotic sculptures stand beside delicate pottery while dancers bring dynamic performances to outdoor stages.

Highlighting the presence of artworks in historic houses in the Al Shindagha district

One of the most charming aspects of the Sikka Art and Design Festival is its setting within the historic houses and traditional architecture of old Dubai’s Al Shindagha district. Winding lanes, cozy courtyards, and weathered buildings form a rich backdrop that complements and accentuates the dazzling array of contemporary artworks on display.

Festival organizers utilize these evocative heritage spaces in creative ways to showcase artists’ works. You may discover an augmented reality mural activated in a quiet courtyard or a multimedia installation housed within an old pearl merchant’s home. Intimate studio spaces allow you to chat with creators in buildings rich with history.

Noting the availability of creative workshops for both children and adults

Beyond simply observing and appreciating artworks on display, one of Sikka’s goals is to nurture creative skills across the community. That’s why the festival offers a huge selection of hands-on art workshops for both children and adults looking to spark their inner talents.


Kids can let their imaginations run wild in the creative playground, learning fundamentals across painting, sculpture, crafts and more from experienced teaching artists. For grown-ups, there are workshops in calligraphy, abstract painting, pottery wheel throwing, visual journaling, and even learning the traditional Emirati sadu weaving techniques.

The festival’s workshops are carefully designed to welcome participants of all skill levels, not just professional artists. The relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere emphasizes the sheer joy of making and self-expression. Guidance is always at hand for those looking to develop their technical abilities.

Musical Offerings

In addition to visual arts, Sikka also celebrates music and performance with a vibrant lineup of concerts and shows happening daily throughout the festival. Over 70 musicians and bands will take to the stages, representing a diverse mix of genres and talents from across the UAE and greater region.

Mention of music from over 70 musicians, including local and regional talent

Visitors to Sikka can enjoy captivating live music courtesy of the festival’s stellar lineup featuring over 70 musicians. Alongside homegrown Emirati talents, stars from the wider Arab world and internationally will bring a diverse mix of rhythms and genres to the festival stages.

You may catch a surprise set from a budding local indie band about to hit the big time or be wowed by an intimate solo concert from a major star. Emerging talents get opportunities to share billing with established acts from across the region.

Highlighting the immersive musical experience at the festival

Great music has the capacity to captivate audiences and create an immersive, shared experience – and that is exactly the aim of Sikka’s concert series. Shows are staged in atmospheric open-air venues, using state-of-the-art sound, lighting and visuals to complement the music.

As night falls and the historic alleyways are illuminated, you’ll feel the excitement and anticipation build for the headline act. Then as the musicians take the stage, their soaring vocals, driving rhythms, and catchy melodies soon have crowds singing and dancing along.

Noting the range of musical genres that will be represented

Great live music requires both world-class talent and variety to keep audiences engaged. That’s why Sikka organizers have curated an incredible lineup of musicians representing diverse genres and styles for this year’s concerts.

Visitors can enjoy traditional Emirati Ayala dance performances featuring pounding drums and poetry recitals. Folk musicians from across the Arab world showcase the incredible range of traditional instruments – you may hear the yearning strains of an oud or the joyful trills of a mijwiz pipe for the first time.

Talks and Panel Discussions

Beyond showcasing creative works and performances, Sikka also strives to nurture the continued growth of the UAE’s arts community through industry talks and panel discussions. Leading experts and voices come together to share perspectives on relevant topics.

Mention of upcoming talks and panel discussions at the festival

Visitors taking a break from the bustling art displays and concerts at Sikka should be sure to pencil in some time for the festival’s compelling series of panel talks and discussions. Bringing together leading voices in art, culture, business and technology, these sessions give unique insight into trends and issues shaping creative fields.

The panel discussions offer rare backstage access to the inner workings of the art world. Visitors walk away feeling inspired, moved and with a greater appreciation of all that goes into making culture happen. Don’t miss these illuminating talks!


The Sikka Art and Design Festival brings a world of creativity and culture to explore this March 9-19 in Dubai’s historic Al Shindagha district. Showcasing over 500 artists across a stunning array of mediums and experiences, complemented by a packed music lineup and insightful talks, it promises to be an unforgettable event. From massive street art murals activated with augmented reality to intimate studio visits and hands-on art workshops, there are activities to excite the whole family. The concerts series is set to captivate with diverse regional talents and non-stop entertainment.

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