The power of creative industries to enable economic empowerment and social enterprise will be highlighted by Dubai as it hosts the seventh edition of Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAfest), the arts and culture festival of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), from October 28 to 30, 2014, at the Madinat Jumeirah. As a prelude to the event, MOCAfellows, its arts residency programme for 15 selected emerging talents, will also be held from October 25 to 27.
In partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, MOCAfest and MOCAfellows, are being held as part of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum, organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the WIEF Foundation for the first time in Dubai under the theme ‘Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth’ from October 28 to 30. With the 10th WIEF offering a major opportunity to form innovative partnerships based on the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative, the two events are of considerable significance, especially since Islamic art and design is a key pillar in the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative.
A platform for a wide range of arts, from music, cinema, visual arts, literature, poetry, dance and many more, this year’s MOCAfest is based on the theme, ‘Bridging Business to the Arts’, and is therefore focused on bringing together the creative and business world, providing them an opportunity to learn from one another.
Featuring calligraphy, photography, graphic design, fashion, live installations, film festivals, music and poetry recitations, visual arts exhibitions and workshops, MOCAfest will also put the spotlight on the arts and culture of the Gulf region. Transcending the realm of a performance festival, it will host networking sessions, masterclasses and artistic collaborations to explore the potential of the creative industries to drive socio-economic growth.
HH Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said, “Dubai has always placed highest emphasis on promoting its rich cultural heritage, and has today successfully established its credentials as an international centre for arts and culture. The MOCAfellows programme in Dubai strongly supports the position of Dubai in the international cultural scene by bridging the gap between the creativity and commerce while providing a strong platform for local talent to strengthen their foothold in the pursuit of a creative profession as well as networking opportunities with international artists. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will extend our expertise in conducting various workshops as part of MOCAfellows.”
The Honourable Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, explained, “The MOCAfest and MOCAfellows programme are as relevant as the mainstream discussions that will be held at the Forum. Creative industries have tremendous potential to positively impact social progress. By integrating arts and culture as a key part of the Forum, we are creating a unique platform for intercultural dialogue. This year, the MOCAfest will capture the gush of creativity and innovation in the Gulf region, and will bring together creative artists from the Middle East with their counterparts from various regions in Asia, Africa, America and Europe.”
His Excellency Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, said, “Dubai is today emerging as one of the global capitals for the creative industries. Led by the safe hub status of the city, the arts and culture sector has witnessed phenomenal growth in recent years. The platforms offered by the city for creative talent to flourish have further opened doors for new social enterprises that synthesise the creative and business world.”
He added, “The 7th MOCAfest, an integral part of the World Islamic Economic Forum, will serve as a window not only to the international talent it hosts but also the creative landscape of the UAE and the Gulf region. It also draws on one of the key pillars of the Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy initiative to establish the city as the capital of Islamic art and design.”
The 7th MOCAfest in Dubai will flag off with the pre-festival MOCAfellows, a 3-day residency programme for emerging talents. Fifteen participants, chosen through a stringent selection programme, will attend specialised sessions on leadership skills, career building and fusion artworks. They will then join MOCAfest and connect with established artists invited to perform at the festival.
Among the key themes to be discussed at MOCAfellows this year is Branding and Integrity. A seminar on the topic will look at developing a brand while remaining true to artistic vision. A seminar on Capital – Funding & Financial Planning will explore how to apply funding, how to plan revenue streams and keep to artistic vision. Another seminar on Partnerships & Collaborators will discuss building long term partnerships with funders, venues, agents and how to collaborate with fellow artists and build human capital. During a session on Understanding Your Market-The Dubai Ecology, participants will get the opportunity to know how the Dubai market place works and how to get noticed and get commissioned.
The MOCAfellows programme also features a Masterclass involving an established artist who will reflect on experiences in career, mistakes and success. In addition, there will also be a roundtable on ‘What I am Looking for in a Professional Artist’ featuring a curator, a booker, a funder and an agent, explaining how they choose who they want to work with and what they expect.
MOCAfellows will also provide each participant the opportunity to work with a mentor. At the end of the sessions, organised in partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, they have to present individual business plans on how to take their creative idea forward.
Recognising that equipping young talents with business and professional skills is imperative to empowering the creative industry and growth, MOCAfest will offer artists an international platform of performances, dialogue sessions, masterclasses, and networking and career-building opportunities.
The event will flag off with a visual arts exhibit. The opening day will feature the commencement of a live installation, ‘Geometric Connections Art Mural’ by Iona Fournier-Tombs, film festivals, panel discussions on the art of design, and a formal opening performance of the MOCAfest by international performers.
In addition to visual arts and installation exhibits, the second day will feature masterclasses on film and documentary in the Muslim world and funding avenues for the arts, as well as panel discussions on fashion themes. MOCA Translations, an interplay of music and poetry recitation; MOCA Soundscapes, an evening performance of fusion works; and an Islamic Fashion showcase will complete Day 2. The final day will feature the visual arts and installation exhibition as well as the completion of the live installation. The day will also include a networking session which will provide an opportunity for artists to mingle with leaders and business people in the art industry.
The World Islamic Economic Forum is the largest international gathering of heads of government, economic experts and stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge about Islamic economy since its launch in 2004.