The 19th edition of the Carpet and Art Oasis kicks off today, 2nd of January. Organised by Dubai Customs at Dubai Festival City, the exhibition will run until 2nd February, featuring the participation of more than 60 exhibitors, reflecting a rise of 20% compared to last year. "Dubai Customs' Carpet and Art Oasis is one of the most remarkable events regularly scheduled for Dubai Shopping Festival," said Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Director-General of Dubai Customs, who noted that DSF has positioned Dubai as the primary destination for tourists and visitors at this time of year. "Dubai Customs is proud to organise the Carpet and Art Oasis that increasingly attracts larger crowds, giving Dubai Shopping Festival greater splendour as traders, rug lovers and visitors gather to acquire some of the rarest and most gorgeous handcrafted carpets," he said. Organised by Dubai Customs every year since the launch of Dubai Shopping Festival in 1996, the exhibition has been closely connected with the festival as one of its core activities. The event is gaining grandeur year after year, featuring a multitude of rare and exquisite carpets brought from the world's most famous carpet handcrafting countries. This year, the organisers have decided to increase the exhibition area by 30% in a bid to position the Oasis as the biggest platform for handmade carpets worldwide. The new edition showcases more than 150,000 pieces, with a total market value worth Dh1 billion. The new edition of Carpet and Art Oasis also features the completed Naseej Al Walaa, or "Loyalty Weave", Portrait, an initiative launched by Dubai Customs to create a handmade wall-hanging portrait of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Executed by mothers visiting the Carpet and Art Oasis, the initiative was held under the patronage of Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A special hall has been dedicated to accommodating this piece of art. It contains a traditional loom that was used to make the weaving with silk and wool yarns. The portrait is regarded as a form of showing gratitude and recognition by mothers of the U.A.E. to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who has dedicated many valuable initiatives and contributions to women, and has shown constant interest in women's social and domestic welfare as well as their engagement in all fields of work. As a result, women in the U.A.E. are now holding superior work positions, besides enjoying all rights due to them under Islamic Sharia and by international and local laws. An exquisite piece of art, the Naseej Al Walaa Portrait features numerous stitches and rich colours. It has over one million knots and over 120 natural colours spread over an area of nearly 4.5 square meters. Made of 50% pure silk and 50% natural wool, the weaving was accomplished in cooperation with Heritage Carpets Company.