Egor Sharay: “Culture and arts scene is Dubai’s soft superpower”

United Arab Emirates amaze the world day after day with its race with the future, and wrestling with

great merit. An artificial island, the most beautiful building in the world, and innumerable prizes. Mirroring it’s cosmopolitan spirit, for the last few years the UAE has been hosted cultural events, permanent art installations and artistic performances at a scale and concentration unlike any other country.

Creative industries, which include art, culture, tradition, heritage, design, literature, and creativity-related jobs aligned with an ambitious strategy that aims to transform Dubai into a preferred destination for global talents and the global capital of the creative economy by 2025. Egor Sharay, who has been living in Dubai for almost 15 years is a cultural analyst, arts consultant and well-known media personality in Dubai, was was awarded a Golden Visa in recognition of his contribution to Dubai’s culture and art movement. Through his work  Sharay always advocates for the role of art, creativity, education, and technology in empowering cultural understanding.

Egor Sharay took some time to chat about creative economy, how it contributes to nation-building and to the overall economic strength of a country.

“‘Creative industries’ became a topic of discussion a few years ago. In 2019 at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, 2021 was declared the International Year of Creative Economy.” Egor Sharay said. “It is interesting to know that the Ruler of Dubai, Vice President, and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched strategy to transform Dubai into world’s creative economic capital decades before the term ‘Creative Economy’ became so popular. Under his vision there were built Dubai Media City, Internet City, Knowledge Village, Silicon Oasis in Dubai.”

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid is an innovative, transformational, charismatic, and authentic leader. He faced many challenges to achieve his goals to make UAE number one in the Middle East and the world to provide his citizens and residents with the best standards of living and visitors the best experience available in the Middle East.” Sharay added.

No one could argue with the fact that these industries, such as art, culture, tradition, heritage, design, literature, and creativity-related jobs were of growing importance to the economy of many countries and gave employment to a large number of people. Egor Sharay narrates, “The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy aims to double the contribution of the creative industries to the GDP of Dubai from 2.6 per cent in 2020 to 5 per cent by 2025. It also seeks to more than double the number of Dubai-based creative companies from 8,300 in 2020 to 15,000 by 2025, and more than double the number of creators based in the emirate, from 70,000 in 2020 to 140,000 by 2025”.

With Expo 2020, UAE has finally proved to have become a soft superpower and Dubai the new world capital of cultural diplomacy. “Expo 2020 showed all of us how to use the transformative power of culture as an agent for change, bridging nations and minds. United Arab Emirates has succeeded in bringing together visionaries, artists and creative entrepreneurs from all over the world to send one unified message: it is never too late to take action and redefine the role of culture in our world.” Sharay said. “I would like to also note the significance and effectiveness of combining culture with tourism to serve and benefit those two sectors, as the country applies this method in various projects in Abu-Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, harnessing the capacities and assets in each sector. Dubai hosts more than 550 cultural events throughout the year which attracts foreign tourists by the millions.” he added.

Dubai’s thriving art scene attracts top talents. Ruler of Dubai announced the granting of a long-term cultural visa in order to empower and encourage them to settle in the region, as well as to provide them with opportunities to grow and participate in the development process. Egor Sharay commented: “Dubai is attracting creative talent to the region with incentives such as Golden Visa, cultural visa, creative visa. This is an efficient way to support artists, the impact of media and technology in the world, the ability to measure influence, preserve heritage and culture, and the role of education. With so much creativity under one place, the UAE has the power to incite positive change”.

Dubai is recognized all over the world for its glamour and architecture. The city is a melting hotpot of different people and their varied traditions. It also has a thriving economy that brings prosperity to the desert country. However, Dubai now wants the world to know that it is much more than that. “Dubai has cultural ties that run deep and is dedicated to the literature, art, music, dance, sculpture and performance. There are more than 6,000 companies in the UAE which are engaged in art and culture. There are also 20 museums and 5 creative complexes. Together, they can lay the foundation for a wide range of cultural activities and growth in arts.”, said Egor Sharay.

Jameel Arts Center, Museum of The Future, Etihad Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, numbers of museums and galleries in Shrajah… They are a great example how the country enriched it social life and cemented its cultural positions in the world. “New cultural ecosystems characterised by greater fluidity, collaboration and resource sharing are emerging to support and sustain the culture and creative industries. All of this entities bring together thought leaders and experts in the arts, heritage, fashion, media and technology, showing the power of collectivity in uplifting societies.”, Sharay responded. “There can be no economic prosperity without culture, so United Arab Emirates seek to focus on outcomes and transformative actions that drive effective cultural solutions to the global challenges of our time.”, added Egor Sharay.