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Creativity

A person in a hijab, facing away, paints a clear glass jar with a black and gold design. Others around a table appear to be doing the same.
How do artisans, artists, and designers draw from traditions to reimagine culture through innovative making?

From the earliest traces to contemporary expressions, artisans have infused their surroundings with color, pattern, and meaning through life-sustaining crafts. While preserving knowledge of heritage, designers today work in innovative ways, often with new media.

At the Festival, we’ll look closely at the meaningful roles of crafts and creative expressions in today’s changing world, and the ways they revitalize connections to deep-rooted local traditions and inspire new creative industries. Visitors can try their hand at crafts like weaving, ceramics and more, and learn how these traditional crafts are being revitalized through contemporary approaches. 

Work alongside experts to blend natural fragrances and create jewelry out of sustainable palm. Learn how artists are inspired by the UAE’s natural environments and wildlife while listening to poetry or contributing to a collective sculpture made from date palm materials. Explore the creative sphere as inclusive space, with artists advocating for the participation of people with disabilities and their unique perspectives.


Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.

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