University City Hall lights up.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Organised by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Sharjah Light Festival 2023 (till Feb. 19) draws all eyes to the Emirate of Sharjah with light shows accompanied by stirring music in 13 different locations.
Among the most prominent sites on the list is University City Hall, which hosts daily light shows from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6:00 p.m. to midnight on weekends. The light show here embodies hope, devotion, and determination in achieving one’s goals.
The scenes depict the act of holding on to one’s dreams and striving to achieve them; the show tells the story of a little girl in her search of light; she herself is a symbol of inspiration, and a beacon for others.
Next to University City Hall, another site hosts sections of the Festival: Light Village extends over a total area of more than 19,000 square metres, and offers visitors an integrated tourism experience with fun and entertainment for all family members. Visitors can enjoy various delicious dishes, created by 41 restaurants and cafes that cater to different tastes, offering a range of flavours from new to traditional to fusion.
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Light Village also offers daily shows from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 4:00 p.m. to midnight on weekends, entertainment and games suitable for all ages, with a special exhibition showcasing figures inspired by light under Sharjah’s starry skies.
Visitors can also try their skills on the basketball court, or for an unforgettable experience with Visage holograms, before moving on to a magical world of light and sound, to a laser tunnel and then conclude the tour at the Light Museum, which offers various engaging workshops and activities for everyone.
Dazzling light also adorns the facades of the most prominent mosques around the emirate, highlighting their aesthetics, architectural details, and ornate designs. The Al Noor Mosque on the Khalid Lagoon Corniche; Sharjah Mosque, the emirate’s largest mosque located in its centre; and the Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi Mosque in Diba Al Hisn, have their features underlined by the play of light.
Al Noor Mosque is one of the most beautiful icons of Islamic architecture. It enjoys charming views of Khalid Lagoon; shows in this location shed light on architectural details, using light with an artistic touch that embraces original natural resources such as gold, marble, soil, and seashells. Sharjah Mosque is the newest in the emirate, and stands out as an architectural icon that embodies the art of Islamic architecture at its best. Designers of the light show built on these features to create their light show, which highlights the mosque’s external facade to bring out its details and artistic features, as well as the calligraphic inscriptions that are highlighted with crystal lighting, turning them into a mesmerising display.
The light show on the facade of the Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi Mosque in Diba Al Hisn highlights the beauty of its architecture, with artists drawing inspiration from the smallest architectural details. Different and distinctive styles of Islamic architecture, famed for diversity, beauty, richness of shapes, and contrasting colours, are spotlighted. The most prominent feature of this show is the focus on the exterior facade, decorated with coloured glass mosaics inspired by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Under the title Art Walk, the Khalid Lagoon Corniche area hosts performances. The show presents a masterpiece, transforming the corniche from Al Noor Mosque to the entrance of Al Qasba Canal, into harmonious paintings, radiating with life and colours.
Landmarks are adorned by paintings created by students from Sharjah schools, represented by the eighty ‘Gobo’ displays, offering visitors a glimpse into the ideas and talents of the emirate’s young artists and their creative works.
Gobo controls the shape of the emitted light and its shadow. Meanwhile, BEEAH’s headquarters hosts another light show titled Harmony with Nature, which builds on the concept of sustainability and harmony with nature.
Renowned architect Zaha Hadid drew inspiration from this theme for her design of BEEAH’s headquarters and operational systems, so that it seamlessly blends with the surrounding environment. The display shows the interaction and harmony between natural organic patterns, such as herds of oryx, schools of fish, ocean waves, and other natural elements. The show celebrates Mother Nature, such as the warmth and light of the sun, the power of wind, the grace of water, and the beauty of the sands.
In a similar vein, the show at Al Majaz Waterfront titled Echoes of a New Dawn, is a place where light and sound shows offer visitors a dazzling art display that highlights the beauty of the location, with more than 150 paintings illuminated with multicoloured LED lights.
Each painting embodies originality and the timeless beauty of Islamic geometric patterns. The circular path surrounding the design encourages visitors to embark on a journey through a luminous universe; visitors have an exceptional journey that hypnotises their senses and immerses them in a symphony of music and light.
Sharjah Light Festival 2023 covers various parts of the Emirate of Sharjah, including, Al Noor Mosque, Khalid Lagoon Corniche, Sharjah Mosque, Al Majaz Waterfront, Sharjah Fort (Al Hisn), Al Hamriyah Municipality building, and Al Dhaid Fort. Also on the list are Al Rafisah Dam in Khorfakkan, Kalba Clock Tower, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi Mosque in Dibba Al Hisn, and the headquarters of the BEEAH Group.