Emirati artist and critic Ali Al Abdan has stressed that His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has been committed to ensure that Sharjah’s urban development is firmly rooted in, and an extension of, the Arab and Islamic architectural aesthetics that exist worldwide.
Al Abdan also said the Sharjah Ruler closely monitors the architectural development of Sharjah, especially government buildings, so it mirrors the region’s aesthetic identity.
His comments came during a panel discussion titled ‘School of Andalusian Architecture and Aesthetics of Architecture in Sharjah’ hosted at Casa Arabe in Madrid, as part of the emirate’s participation as Guest of Honour of the 37th LIBER International Book Fair-Madrid. The session was moderated by Salha Obeid and witnessed a host of Emirati and Spanish writers and intellectuals in attendance.
Describing the history of architecture, Al Abdan said: “Buildings were first made to create a basic form of shelter. Gradually, designs, decorations started being injected for beautification purposes”.
Al Abdan added: “Architecture is a reflection of life. It’s expression of humankind’s existence. We visualise first, then add design, colour and dimension in a way that adds to the beauty of our surroundings and brings us satisfaction.”
Al Abdan continued: “There are many buildings in Sharjah that are considered architectural masterpieces, such as the Ahmed Ibn Hanbal Mosque, the Sharjah Municipality headquarters and the properties of the emirate’s old merchants. If we look at the pillars bearing the roofs of these buildings, the similarity they bear with the pillars of Granada Palace or the Jaafari Palace in Baghdad, which, in turn, are similar to the pillars of the last era of the Greek civilisation, are undeniable.”
“The similarities between the architectural arts of different civilisations are also evident in the mosaics covering the walls and floors of Arab buildings and palaces. They are inspired by the Romans who were the first to use this form of architectural decoration,” he added.
Talking about the impact of modernity in architecture, he said: “Creativity is considered authentic. There is no such thing as fake art, as long as it is a result of humankind’s interaction with their surroundings.”
He added: “Arts represent nations’ beliefs, circumstances and surroundings. Every artistic era helps us understand human culture and society at the time.”