UAE heritage art added to UNESCO conservation list

Al Azi is a significant and important cultural heritage performance reflecting UAE culture and society
By Staff writer
Fri 22 Dec 2017 10:29 AM

The art of Al Azi, one of the most important heritage arts known to Emirati society since ancient times, has been included in a new list compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Al Azi has been added on to the list of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage In Need of Urgent Safeguarding during the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Korea.

UNESCO previously announced the acceptance of the UAE’s proposal to include Al Azi on the list which currently includes 47 cultural conservation projects from around the world.

Al Azi is a significant and important cultural heritage performance reflecting UAE culture and Emirati society. It depends on the repetition of poems without music or rhythmic instruments.

It is practised at national and social events to instil pride, loyalty and national values. It also praises the traditions of welcoming and honouring achievement. The performance focuses on the singer and the supporting reciters who give him answers that emphasise his words. Reciters stand in lines behind the lead performer in a symbolic scene of unity and solidarity.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: "Al Azi's inclusion is reflective of our leadership's directives to support our authentic cultural heritage, and to emphasise on its importance in building national identity and maintaining

"communication between different generations. It also contributes to the achievement of the Department of Culture and Tourism strategic goals in ensuring that the UAE national heritage is embedded in the constant development and progress of our nation."

The UNESCO Intergovernmental Convention has enabled the launch of 140 conservation projects for living heritage in 107 countries.

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