Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah at Yarmouk Cultural Centre
The new facility at Yarmouk officially opened on 27 September 2015. For more than 30 years, the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI) has been a beacon for culture and education in Kuwait, and now DAI have a new facility, along with the Amricani Cultural Centre, to call their own: Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah at Yarmouk Cultural Centre. The new centre will be the central hub for DAI’s upcoming Cultural Season 22, which will include a veritable selection of cultural and artistic events. “This is a unique opportunity for Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah to be directly engaged with the community because the new cultural centre is located within the al-Yarmouk residential area,” said National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters Assistant Undersecretary Abdulkareem al-Ghadban. “We want to be at the heart of the community and provide them with a new intellectual and cultural pulse.”
The DAI began renovating the new centre in the summer of 2014, and has spent the last year outfitting it with all the desired bells and whistles. The theatre has state of the art audio/visual technology, and has expanded its seating to accommodate an audience of up to 350 people. The art workshops, which will offer fun art-oriented classes that introduce relevant techniques, have dedicated space and have been equipped with both technical and modern fixtures. And the new library will give members a wide selection of books in both Arabic and English to select from and read in the comfort of a nice, quiet environment. It is also a new non-commercial venue for artists to display their work. The temporary gallery space was conceived to help artists express their creativity and for locals to have another vantage point to enjoy the art scene.
Even the museum corner shop is bigger! It displays all of DAI’s publications (exhibition catalogues as well as our newsletter Bareed ad-Dar and scholarly magazine Hadeeth ad-Dar), and is fully stocked with gift items that are inspired by the collection.
About the time the DAI was being established in Kuwait City, the Yarmouk Secondary School opened in Yarmouk. The school was a source of pride for the neighbourhood, educating students from the area. When new schools were built after the liberation, His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah saw the potential of the school to continue to be a source of pride for the community as a special office dedicated to honouring the martyrs of the Iraqi invasion and occupation and serving the martyr’s families.
As a gift from the Amiri Diwan, in recognition of the sacrifices made during the war, the Martyr’s Office was established and for almost two decades, called the school home.
When the Martyr’s Office moved to their new, purpose-built headquarters, it was important that the next occupant continue to serve the local community and Kuwait. The DAI once again found itself intersecting with the Yarmouk Secondary School for Boys, this time as a tenant. And this time it will open its doors to children, adults, families, senior citizens: everyone with an interest in art and cultural and community service. Like the Amricani Cultural Centre, the Yarmouk Cultural Centre is a destination for art, culture, and conviviality. It was completely renovated to illuminate our cultural ambitions and to continue to serve the interests of Kuwait and its residents.
“al-Yarmouk is an ideal neighborhood with well-developed facilities and a willingness to embrace new projects that will benefit the community,” said the Mayor of al-Yarmouk Abdulaziz al-Mishari. “Two years ago, we set up an environmental project and turned Yarmouk public park into an eco-park. This year, we are celebrating a cultural and educational milestone as we welcome the newest member to our community: Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah.”