The Mother of the Nation Festival, Abu Dhabi April 2017

Check out this video of my wokshop at the MOTN Festival Lanterns on the Beach.

In April I found myself back in Abu Dhabi for the Mother of the Nation Festival. Taking up one kilometre of the Corniche, and packed with amazing things to watch, do and eat, this certainly was a mother of a festival.

The festival was to celebrate Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the third wife of Sheik Zayad who brought seven emirates together to make the United Arab Emirates.

It was a difficult set up as stormy weather kept us away from site, however this did give us the opportunity to discover some of Abu Dhabi’s cultural highlights that I wouldn’t normally get see during a festival. I managed a trip to Warehouse 421 at Mina Port. This is a warehouse turned in to an art gallery. There was some amazing things inside including an exhibition on traditional emirati adornment. This included amazing daggers, fantastic jewellery, how kohl was traditionally made, how pearls were sorted and weighed, and how to apply hennah. The best bit was all about perfume. The raw ingredients were there to sniff and some traditional family perfumes were there too. They were the best perfumes I have ever had the opportunity to smell. The exhibition in called “Lest we forget” and is on until the 27th August 2017.

We did manage another trip to another Art Gallery Manarat al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island. It conatins several pieces that have been bought for the Gugenhiem Abu Dhabi which is currently under construction. The best bit for me was the Education Room where friendly staff were on hand to help you make something inspired by all the wonders you had just seen. I could have spent days in there.

MOTN team

When the festival got started it was really busy, one day there was a footfall of 24,000 people on site. We had a great team and I would like to thank Johnny, Ninisha, Nadia, Amjad, Ahmed C. Babu, Mahadi, Amal and Ahmed J. for all their hard work. We couldn’t have done it without you. Over the ten days we made 5200 lanterns which breaks all previous records.

Thanks to Brian and Zoe from EISF for helping us keep the show on the road.


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