Sikka Art Fair: An Artist’s Experience as at The Urban House as part of the most popular art fair in Dubai

This year the Sikka Art Fair moved to the Al Shindagha Historical District and has themed houses that harbour various artists. 

House 243, also known as the Urban House, stands as a beacon of creativity and innovation at this year’s fair. Curated by Ahmad Makary from The Workshop DXB, this unique space transcends the traditional art exhibit, offering visitors an immersive experience that intertwines art, culture, music, interactive installations, and workshops. As one of the artists showcasing my work here, I’m thrilled to share the essence of House 243 and what it’s been like for me to participate at Sikka for the very first time.

Ahmed Makary, The Workshop DXB @theworkshopdxb

House 243 is more than just the conventional exhibition space- it’s a living, breathing entity pulsating with creativity at every corner. From the moment you step in, you’re transported into a world where art and urban culture blend seamlessly. Each room within the house is designed to showcase different art forms such as music, clothing, architecture, visual art, and more from artists and creators alike. There is a courtyard in the middle of the house where workshops, DJs and musicians take centre stage.

The Rooms

Brand Showcase

As soon as you enter, there are two ‘markets’ on either side of the house showcasing cool, emerging clothing and accessories brands like S-Lo, Al Denim, Jokes Aside, Sotusura, Swey Sunglasses and Highlife Vintage Posters. 

Highlife Vintage Posters by Claire Napper @highlifeposters

The Silk Screen Prints Room

The silk screen prints room is filled with various high-quality prints, journals and totes from various international artists. My favourite were the works of the Palestinian artists. They are priced to make them affordable for all. There was a silk-screen printing workshop hosted there on one of the days.

Digital AI Art Interactive Installation

The digital AI art installation is meant to emulate the visitor by mimicking their stance and pose, allowing visitors to interact with AI art that responds to their presence and movements, designed by S3k Studio & Sami Mohamed Osman Abdallah.

Al Barandah

Another gem within House 243 is The Barandah, a dedicated photo house that captures the essence of nostalgia curated by Sudani visual artists Ahmed Carter, Shihab Saqeer and Yahya Elkanzy. This space is powered by visual storytelling through their ‘1000 Portraits’ project.

Dawn. Dusk. Nocturne. by 1800.weirdo

My Art Installation – Dawn, Dusk & Nocturne

My personal contribution to House 243 is an art installation inspired by nostalgia. Through this work, I aim to evoke memories and emotions from our childhood, inviting visitors to connect with their past and reflect on the moments that shape us. This installation is a testament to the power of art in unlocking memories and fostering a sense of shared human experience. I love sharing stories from people who visit when they see all the old-school trinkets around the canvases. The digital versions of 1/3 belong to CAW MVMNT.

The Loom of Light by Dina Al Saadi

A stunning fabric installation that is inspired by the artist’s colourful dreams and memories, leading right into to the heart of the house.

The Courtyard

The heart of House 243 lies in its courtyard, a dynamic space where art meets music and dialogue. Here, visitors can enjoy performances by various DJs, engage in thought-provoking panel discussions, and immersive workshops. I had the best time attending a ‘Paint Your Own Sunglasses’ workshop led by Spikey from S-Low and Vishal from Swey, and the panel discussions from the Karama Arts Club.

The Synth Room

The Synth Room

For music enthusiasts, the synth room offers an auditory feast, featuring synthesizers and electronic instruments that guests can explore and create their own music. It is curated by Ahmad Makary, facilitated by Tarik Omar and supported by Teenage Engineering and Selecta.

Ephemeral Echoes

Ephemeral Echoes

An audio-visual installation for which Jordan Cortez (Sukatoyo) has created four music scores based off of Beverney Shane’s visual narrative, encapsulating the cultural diversity of the neighbourhoods of Karama, Bur Dubai and Deira.



A premier concept store that curates high-end brands and exclusive designer creations worldwide.

Art and Design Bookstore

Besides the Al Safa Art and Design Library, Hobb.Ae harbours the largest collection of art books I’ve ever seen, which can be found at House 243. I was also lucky to partake in a fascinating paint-making workshop by Studio Passepartout in this room.

Nightjar Coffee Pop-Up

Speciality coffee shop that is popular with coffee enthusiasts and has a flagship store in Al Serkal Avenue.

None of this would have been possible without the vision and dedication of Ahmad Makary from The Workshop DXB as well as the wonderful team at Room 5 Creative Facility, Dubai Culture, and Sikka Art Platform and Shirin Van Dort from CAW MVMNT. Special thanks to Wassim Makary for all the beautiful content he created for socials. The conceptualization of House 243 has not only provided artists like myself a platform to showcase our work but has also enriched the cultural landscape of Dubai, making art accessible and engaging for all. After being involved in 18 different digital art exhibitions, being at Sikka with a physical concept has surpassed all my expectations. What I cherish most is seeing the reaction of the visitors and find meaning in my work.

Authored by Puja Tiwari (@1800.weirdo)

The Workshop DXB – @theworkshopdxb

Sikka Art Fair – @Sikkaplatform

Dubai Culture – @dubaiculture