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House of Wisdom opens Sharjah’s first NFT art exhibition

The House of Wisdom, an iconic futuristic and cultural hub developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), has opened today ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’, the first non-fungible token (NFT) art exhibition in Sharjah, featuring the artworks of a diverse group of 60 international and 15 local artists engaged in the digital and crypto art world.

Targeting artists, tech enthusiasts, cultural institutions, and art collectives, the exhibition aims to bridge the gap between traditional and digital art worlds and introduce visitors and the art community to the new wave of creativity that is transforming the art landscape worldwide.

Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Chief Operating Officer, Shurooq; Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of the House of Wisdom and Xavier Tsang-Herbrich, Founder of Global Art Exhibition (GAE), were among the prominent guests at the opening of the exhibition.

Hosted at the dynamic, multifunctional Al Khawarizimi Exhibition space at the House of Wisdom until 15th April, ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’ is organised in collaboration with Global Art Exhibition (GAE), a multidisciplinary global project connecting talents, and the MORROW Collective, the UAE’s leading NFT curatorial initiative.

Covering a multitude of themes, the physical iteration of the NFT art exhibition is held across 24 screens and shines a spotlight on how NFTs can be used in various genres – from portraiture and landscape to abstract and surreal, and from sculpture to virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Artists from across the MENA region, Europe, Asia, and the USA are being represented in the ‘Gateway to the Metaverse’ exhibition in two consecutive rotational rounds, each featuring over 30 international artists, and paired with a selection of 15 Emirati and UAE-based artists.

Commenting on the exhibition’s opening, Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of the House of Wisdom, said, “The innovative theme of this exhibition – non-fungible token and the metaverse, ties in with the mission of the House of Wisdom to provide a nurturing space for fostering cross-cultural dialogues and exchange of knowledge in varied disciplines. We aim to explore new ways to support contemporary art and artists with the technology of NFT and blockchain as we expand on the concept of decentralisation to make art accessible to all.”

Al Aqroubi added, “This exhibition will empower our community of creative makers to build on their next-generation ideas in the emerging art ecosystem. By enabling them to channel their creative talents and imagination in our immersive learning spaces, we aim to take forward our vision of making knowledge and culture inclusive, accessible, and collaborative.”

Welcoming guests at the opening, Amira Bin Faris, Programs Manager at House of Wisdom, said, “By bringing together a diverse group of international and local artists across blockchains to showcase an inclusive collection of digital art, crypto art, and traditional art, our aim is to bridge the gap between the metaverse and the real world and open a gateway on ground to virtual exhibitions while also introducing traditional artists, collectors, and visitors to the metaverse.”

Elaborating on the choice of Sharjah to host the exhibition, Stefano Favaretto, NFT artist, curator of the exhibition and Co-founder of Global Art Exhibition (GAE), said, “To us, Sharjah is a place of opportunities, a place that is deeply rooted with cultures and art, a place where many diverse voices are heard, and knowledge is exchanged. This collaboration exemplifies the very similar values that we share, of supporting and promoting art and artists in a modern and contemporary way.”

He added, “‘Bridges’ is the key word that represents this exhibition. We are building several bridges – between different nations, between traditional art and digital art, and creating a union between the past, the present and the future, and the House of Wisdom is where all these bridges meet.”

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