Cultural Visa opens horizons for creativity and excellence for talents across Dubai’s cultural and creative industries

Supporting and empowering creative and talented citizens and residents and attracting global talents to come live and work in Dubai is a prominent pillar of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority’s strategic roadmap. The Authority pursues this pillar as part of its journey towards creating a stimulating infrastructure for cultural and creative industries, enabling a sustainable and prosperous ecosystem that supports Dubai’s economic growth and enhances its position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent as well as the global capital of the creative economy.

The Authority contributed by approving certificates of accreditation for the cultural visa for creative and talented people in various fields of the cultural and creative industries. Dubai Culture empowered them and opened horizons of creativity for them to contribute to the development of their capabilities and projects in an environment rich with integrated and high-level systems based on international best practices. This, in turn, enhances the contribution of the cultural and creative industries to the creative economy and Dubai’s GDP, thus achieving the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy.

Today, we are highlighting the experience of a number of talents who had obtained a cultural visa and the impact it had on their professional and personal lives. We are also shedding light on the future prospects that became available to them upon being granted the cultural visa.

Esraa Ramadan said: “Receiving the cultural visa was a positive boom that encouraged me to double my efforts in creating a major impact through my art. It also helped me develop my skills and granted me access to different cultures and schools of thought. On a personal level, it granted me greater confidence by allowing me to rely on myself as a practising artist and graphic designer. Recently, I had the honour of participating in the Dialogue art exhibition at Al Owais Cultural Foundation with a series of my recent surreal oil paintings that highlight stories of Egyptian queens. I will continue this series soon along through upcoming new works.”

Ali Najm says: “The cultural visa changed many aspects of my life. When I was in my country, I was 27 years old, carrying the responsibilities of a 60-year-old. After moving to Dubai, I feel like I am 16 years old and can start over again to achieve my dreams. This opportunity allowed me to mingle with many diverse cultures, which gave me new experiences in my field of music. The cultural visa is an opportunity for all my talented friends because of its great advantages and its wonderful contribution to their careers. My next steps are to work on achieving my goals, forming my own band and organising cultural concerts across the UAE as a means of giving back to this country that embraced me.”

Karim Tamerji explained that the cultural visa enhanced his sense of appreciation as a creative and gave him a sense of responsibility to give back by supporting and promoting Dubai’s creative industry. It also allowed him to plan for the long term, adding: “Due to the various opportunities presented to me, I was able to challenge and explore my craft in a different medium and scope, opening up other creative possibilities, which is why I recommended fellow artists to apply and obtain the cultural visa.”

“Since obtaining the visa, I have participated in many events, such as ‘Sikka Art and Design Festival’ and ‘Mother of the Nation Festival’ in Abu Dhabi. In addition to my work in mural and installation projects, I will participate in various upcoming events and focusing on exploring the metaverse.

Dolcy Semaan, in turn, spoke about the impact obtaining a cultural visa had on her career, saying: “The privilege of obtaining a cultural visa was one of the most memorable moments in my life. It is a source of inspiration that leads to better productivity and enhances my sense of community. The visa granted me freedom and access to various musical events that took place throughout the year without being restricted by a sponsor. In fact, Dubai has been a land of opportunity for many, and I personally have always imagined myself as one who would one day exercise my passion and leave a mark in this country. The cultural visa has become a passport to gaining access to more knowledge towards enhancing my skills. I am currently working on producing some commercials with many media agencies locally and internationally, and I am preparing to participate in a radio programme that addresses the professional and personal lives of singers and actors.”

Aleksei Afanasiev expressed his gratitude to Dubai Culture for this initiative, noting that the moment he received the approval letter, he felt as if he had won an Oscar, which, in his view, is the greatest appreciation for his contribution to Dubai’s art scene, adding: “Since getting the cultural visa, the greatest advantage was being able to continue my work independently. The cultural visa provided me with the opportunity to further grow and develop my career and share my knowledge and experiences with new upcoming regional cultural organisations. Last year was a pivotal moment for me, as I was able to consult cultural organisations, national pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, and new art spaces and galleries. Currently, I am working with an established international gallery to expand its market in the UAE. This is certainly a great opportunity for me to apply my knowledge and expertise, and I certainly look forward to further growth of the local art scene with more of such strong opportunities coming up.”

Through the experiences of the talents and the impact of obtaining a cultural visa on their professional careers, the level of support and effort that Dubai Culture is making to various creative and talented people to enhance their local and global presence is evident. This is also reflected in the visa’s impact on Dubai’s global position as a leading city in the creative industries, affirming the Authority’s role as a key player in the UAE’s soft power strategy as well as its commitment to providing local creative product and promoting it globally. This reinforces the emirate’s distinctive cultural identity as a modern, resilient city capable of facing all challenges.