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Expansion of the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program to Include Workshops in Dubai Schools

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE, the programme is a partnership between Art Dubai and The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which was established in 2013 to drive forward regional development within the arts.


Now in its third year, the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program grows to include artist-led workshops in schools in the lead up to Art Dubai. The workshops are taking place in Jumeirah Model School and Al Ittihad Private School with children in grades 1 to 7.


“We are delighted to expand the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program into schools this year, reflecting the commitment of The Cultural Office to art for all ages in the UAE,” said Muna bin Kalli, director of The Cultural Office. “It is wonderful to see the schoolchildren respond so imaginatively to the international and local artists we’ve invited to be part of this programme.”


Art Dubai and The Cultural Office have invited Colombian artist Nicolás Paris to create and lead the workshops, working with a group of UAE-based artists, including Sofia Chatzisaranti, Khalda El Jack, Tulip Hazbar, and Malda Smadi. Paris uses drawing, collaboration and collective thinking to teach young people to think creatively and to experiment with art; he has previously led children’s programmes at the Venice Biennial, New York’s New Museum, and Kadist Foundation, Paris, among other institutions.


While the workshops are aimed at children, UAE-based artists and teachers are also set to gain new insight into the latest methods of engaging children and teaching art, and Paris has developed special guides for parents and teachers, as well as new materials for children.


For the series of workshops at Art Dubai, March 19-20-21, Paris has developed a special programme, titled ‘Unlearning’, which sees children and teenagers (aged 5-17) encouraged to tap into their imaginations via performance, drawing, poetry and conceptual art. Parents can sign-up online at to gain a place in the workshops, and also Discovery Tours of the fair, led by artists and educators.


This year, the Discovery Tours are for ages 5-7, 8-12, and 13-17, and led by UAE-based art practitioners, including Noor Alé, Layan Attari, Hind Bin Demaithan, Alia Dawood, Rania Jishi, Sara Masinaei, Nadine Nour el Din and Melissa Paul. These tours enable young people to discover the fair, with the works brought alive via maps and the story-telling of the guides. Children’s Programme Coordinator and visual artist Basil AlZeri has created maps that explore thematic educational ventures focusing on the idea of “looking closer” at art.


UAE-based families are particularly encouraged to attend Art Dubai on Thursday March 19- Friday 20-Saturday 21, when the fair features a range of talks, tours and events, as well as the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program.