In January this year, the Ismaili Council for Syria presided over a talent performance of Jubilee Arts artists in Damascus, attracting over 800 people, including leaders and members of the Jamat and guests.

In preparation for this special day of joy and optimism, members of the Jamat set out from various cities across Syria to attend the ceremony at Al-Assad House for Arts and Culture, one of the most prestigious theaters in the country. Over 100 artists took part in the ceremony, and brought with them members of their families to enjoy the performances.

Also known as the Damascus Opera House, the venue was full for the event, and members of the audience were treated to bright lights and distinctive displays prior to the opening act.

The President of the Ismaili Council for Syria, Mr Ali Kabalan, began the ceremony with a heartfelt speech in which he stressed the importance of pluralism and respect for cultures, especially within the diverse fabric of Syrian society. In addition, President Kabalan spoke about the Aga Khan Music Awards and the Jubilee Arts Programme, in particular the International Arts Festival held in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2018.

As the celebration began, the atmosphere became one of enthusiasm as the children’s choir, led by the technical director Mr Najy Hammoud, presented traditional songs with composure and professionalism, followed by a single play on the Oud instrument presented by the Jana Zain. The latter presented a concerto of one of the most notable Arab artists, Farid Al-Atrash, and she excelled in her rendition.

Soon after, the adult choir with the band presented some classical songs to refresh the soul, followed by traditional ones featuring ancient Arab instruments such as the Oud, flute, and zither.

The celebration ended with the folklore group, led by coach Ghaith Mahfoud. The dancers presented three popular items that sparked the atmosphere with fervour, through which they conveyed deep layers of meaning of art and culture.

The historic event of Jubilee Arts artists at Al-Assad House reinforced the bonds of respect and reflection on the importance of art in building bridges, and inspired the participants to hone their craft for future performances.