UAE Commemorative Plate
To celebrate the 50th UAE National Day I was commissioned by the UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, HE Mansoor Abulhoul, to make a Commemorative Plate to mark this historic Golden Jubilee Anniversary. The plate was made from UAE clay dug in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah and echos the historic shapes and biochrome designs of the Julfar Potters. The plate design incorporates linear patterns typical of Julfar Ware as well as a repeated outline of the Hope Probe, drawing on the techniques of the Julfar potters to reflect the traditions of the past and point to the future. The anniversary plate was presented to Ambassador Abulhoul at the Science Museum, London, where it was displayed as part of the 50th National Day celebrations.
An important part of making the plate was involving Emirati students, currently studying at the University of Glasgow, in a workshop to learn about and discuss the importance of Julfar Ware to the cultural heritage of the UAE, as well as to work with UAE clay. The students also contributed to the design of the plate using their fingertips to create the dot marks, showing the tradition of Julfar Ware is part of a living UAE heritage. Many thanks to Abdulrahman Alhashmi, Abdulla Alblooshi and Shaikha Alhajeri.
I used the ‘duwar’ given to me by the grandson of a potter at Wadi Haqil, which was traditionally used to make the base of Julfar pots to begin to create the plate and rolled coils of clay smoothing them with a sadaf (sea shell) to create the final shape. The plate design is based on a traditional mu’aijin kneading dish which was also used as a serving dish to share food. I was delighted that the original concept drawings for the plate were also used to illustrate the 2021 Christmas card for the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates London.