Al Sanaa: Emirati homewares on display at the Dubai Mall
In the Dubai Mall's Star Atrium, rows of embellished abayas sit alongside bottles of perfume and colourful cushions emblazoned with Arabic script.
There are embellished kaftans, traditional cups and handpainted coffee pots. All are produced by Emirati families and form part of an exhibition called Al Sanaa, organised by Dubai's ministry of community development.
Some 26 families, including government employees, university students, widows and people of determination, are participating in the four-day event, which ends on September 8.
According to the ministry: “Al Sanaa is a developmental exhibition that supports Emirati families and people of determination to help them become economically and socially stable. It aims at spreading the culture of self-employment, self-reliance and finding alternative sources of income for Emirati families by transforming these productive families into entrepreneurs who support the national economy, and by revitalising industries associated with local heritage."
There are currently about 2,150 families registered with the ministry, which supports their efforts through courses, workshops and exhibitions throughout the year. To be eligible, one must possess a technical skill or a desire to learn one, and a product that they create themselves.
“The four-day event at Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the UAE, is a good opportunity to introduce shoppers and tourists from different nationalities and cultures to Emirati heritage products, as well as provide them with the opportunity to acquire locally made handicrafts that meet their needs,” says Afra Bouhmeed, head of the productive families department at the ministry of community development.