Undoubtedly the region’s most creative city, the BBC’s Libby Banks has gone one step (well, one huge leap) further and touted Sharjah as one of the world’s most creative cities. Do you agree with her reasoning?

To be fair, Ms. Banks has clearly taken a sideways and even contrarian view of which may or may not be the world’s most creative cities. Also on her list are Mexico City, Belgrade, Dakar, and Bangkok. Surprised? Perhaps you shouldn’t be.

She states, “the international art map is changing, and a new generation of cultural hubs is emerging, well away from global financial centres, property developers and blue-chip art dealers. While a trust fund feels like a prerequisite for making it as an artist in the likes of London, New York and Paris today, this new generation of art cities exists well beyond the canon of Western art history”.

All well-and-good for Sharjah then, whose rise to the top has been largely fueled by the success of its now globally significant biennial – a growth inspired by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, a Slade-trained artist and curator, and youngest daughter of the ruler of Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, she took over the biennial 16 years ago.

Is it doing enough to replace Abu Dhabi and Dubai as the world’s global focus for arts and culture in the region? To us – yes. At least in curation skills, integrity, and by consistently maintaining the highest standards of art in the Middle East.

Read more and find some great reasons to visit the Emirate at BBC Culture