SCRF 2023: Local artist delights visitors with items featuring uniquely Emirati humour and cultural references    

Noor Al Khamiri uses tongue-in-cheek takes and one-liners on her stickers, magnets, keychains and bags to tickle people’s imagination  

For immediate release
Sharjah, May 11, 2023

Homegrown artists at the 14th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2023) are developing a big fan base with their unique and relevant takes on creativity, giving visitors an insight into the local references and quirks of Emirati people and culture.

Among them is Noor Al Khamiri, a young artist and architect who is delighting visitors with her special Emirati-themed products and knick-knacks – including stickers, magnets, keychains, tote bags and other items, featuring a uniquely local brand of humour and sarcasm, with accompanying illustrations, pictures or graphics. A tote bag shows a girl sporting a wry look, saying “keyfi” (meaning “I’ll do as I please”), another has a Batwoman wearing a niqab, but with the character’s pointed ears, and yet another one says “Sorry, I’m late, I didn’t want to come.”

“I try to incorporate usages and one-liners that are common in our local lingo,” said Al Khamiri. “They are meant to be funny but without offending anyone. For instance, this image of a girl chiling next to a fire and making karak says ‘This is my vibe’. This girl with the guitar is inspired by a Taylor Swift song with the lyrics ‘Karma’s a relaxing thought’.”

The artist, who has been creating these for five years now, says she tries to come up with ideas and references that locals can relate to, using the Emirati and Khaleeji Arabic dialects.

The stickers are particularly varied in themes and slogans, among them keffiyeh-wearing cats that sport different expressions. There is also a henna-decorated hand holding a slipper, a reference to the time-honoured way that local mothers discipline their children.

Using the Procreate software to create her designs, the American University of Sharjah graduate started this as a hobby, but says the feedback she receives keeps her going. The artist also does live caricature portraits while exhibiting at events such as SCRF, making an initial sketch, inking it and then colouring it in. With more talents up her sleeve, Al Khamiri also designs a line of artistic and quirky abayas – called Artful.

“I think it’s very important to stick to our culture and show it off using art and our own twists,” says the creative, adding “people are quite curious about my items and want to know what each one says, even if they cannot read Arabic.”

Al Khamiri’s work is available on Instagram @noor_alkhamiri and her online store on the Packman app.

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