By exhibiting at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy Culture Month in Abu Dhabi, Irthi is highlighting the contemporary relevance of its various initiatives, including the Bidwa Social Development Programme, which aims to revive the country’s important cottage industries and engage younger generations by modernising and elevating traditional crafts.
During Culture Month from April 9 – May 9, the Bidwa artisans will display their works of Talli (handwoven braids) and Safeefah (palm frond weaving) and provide craft demonstrations to high-level dignitaries and visitors of the event. A workshop was held for students of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy for them to gain insights into the traditional crafts and equip them with a better understanding of their heritage when acting as national ambassadors in the future.
Reem Bin Karam, Director of NAMA, said: “One of Irthi’s primary goals is that heritage crafts and the female artisans who practice them are given a modern context. By supporting this participation in Culture Month, the Bidwa Social Development Programme is highlighting to the ambassadors of tomorrow that it is not just products which are exportable but also the value of heritage and the importance of tradition when representing the UAE.”
Bin Karam added: “In keeping with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of NAMA and Founder and Royal Patron of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, it is imperative that women are empowered to generate a sustainable source of income and achieve an elevated professional and social status. By presenting their ambition and confidence, the Bidwa artisans are making a far greater impression on these future diplomats than their pure talent.”
Additionally, the Bidwa porcelain collection was used for the VIP majlis throughout Culture Month. The set was created by porcelain brand ‘Designed by Hind’ in cooperation with Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council and was inspired by the intricate designs of the traditional craft of Talli.
Culture Month is an annual initiative launched by the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomatic institution, and aims to enhance cultural awareness, soft power and tolerance.
From 9 April to 9 May, Culture Month served as a platform for intercultural exchange and features an impressive line-up of speakers and activities highlighting the importance of culture in diplomacy as well as the role diplomats play in promoting cultural understanding.