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The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs UAE.

Art Dubai’s non-commercial programme includes workshops, publications and discovery tours for children and teenagers, created especially for the fair by international and UAE-based artists. Each March, we partner with The Cultural Office to produce the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program, designed to provide access to skills and ideas for UAE-based children and teenagers aged 5-17 with the long-term aim of encouraging young people to get involved and excel in the arts.

Creating New Worlds, Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program 2019, Courtesy of Photo Solutions (Art Dubai 2019)

The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program featured lead artist Sally Curcio for its 2019 edition. Creating New Worlds invited children to explore cityscapes and re-imagine urban landscapes through the use of miniatures and prototypes. The workshops motivated invention, cooperation, new perspectives, and exploration of how different materials can be composed to create new imagined environments. The Discovery Tours also returned in 2019, led by UAE-based and international artists. Specially designed for children between the ages of 5 to 17, the tailor-made tours enable young people to discover key pieces around the fair, with the works brought alive via thematic activity maps and the storytelling of the guides.

Sally Curcio has, over the past 18 years, created art that captures the imagination of both children and adults, by making playful miniature worlds that are both visually complex and accessible. She calls these works “Bubble Sculptures,” as the worlds are enclosed in a protective transparent bubble. Many associations can be brought to the Bubble Sculptures: nostalgia for the innocence of childhood; the fragility of the environment; and, representations of imagined and utopian possibilities. Perhaps, as we long for a more harmonious world, Curcio’s Bubble Sculptures also communicate an openness as to what may be possible.

Sally Curcio has exhibited her work throughout the United States of America and internationally. Her work is in the permanent collections of Smith College Museum of Art, the Fitchburg Art Museum, NYU Langone Hospital, and the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, NYC. She has exhibited her work at the Peabody Essex Museum, the Bruce Museum and the Children’s Museum of the Arts, NYC.

Please email amal@artdubai.ae for any questions.