by Villa88
  • 1 minute read
  • December 14, 2019
Woman of the Week: Alia Al Shamsi

Earlier this year, Alia Al Shamsi welcomed Pope Francis and presented the UAE’s leaders to him in Italian at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. What a fitting mélange of two cultures, considering that Alia’s mother is Italian, and father, Emirati. She was the youngest photographer to participate in the Photographic Biennale in Italy in 2005, alongside art masters, such as like Cindy Sherman. But while bella Italia has a special place in her heart, the UAE is home.

With a penchant for visual arts, writing and poetry, Alia pursued her Bachelors in Photography from Griffith University in Brisbane, which led her to work as a full-time photo journalist and travel the world. She pursued teaching and certificates in curatorial and museum studies, aspiring to work in a museum one day. Today, she serves as Acting Cultural Programming Manager at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Dreams do come true, don’t they?

Alia has also published a children’s book, Alayah, for which she received the first Dubai Culture Publishing Award, and is the creative voice behind Night and Day, one of the UAE’s first three silent books published last year, a true literary feat. She also has plans of launching a poetry book soon.

Born to be a creative, Alia takes pleasure in the great strides the UAE has taken in the arts. “All these museums and cultural institutions are a dream for someone like me, who studied and lived abroad to experience such things. Now, an entire generation will grow up with museums, and arts and culture at their fingertips.”

What’s her advice for those who wish to follow in her footsteps? “Don’t follow in my footsteps. Forge your own way, find the narrator for your story and make sure it’s one filled with passion.”


Photography by Rajesh Raghav

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