Dubai is known for many things, but its beauty is no longer one of them. In the last few decades the once barren desert landscape has evolved into a hurried metropolis where row upon row of often unoccupied skyscrapers, hotels, and malls clutter the waterfront and stifle colorful minds.
Perhaps cognizant that buying stuff only provides so much satisfaction and eager to contribute to the Arab world’s creative renaissance, Dubai Culture has commissioned small works of outdoor art that might transform at least small pockets of one of the world’s most materialistic cities into something a little more… interesting.
Collaborating with the advertising agency Xpoze and the Dubai Properties Group DPG, Dubai Culture initiated the “Outdoors Art Project” to display works of UAE-based artists around “The Walk” in Jumeirah Beach Residence.
“This outdoor gallery will showcase local art and talent around the United Arab Emirates, provide creative and fresh interventions in the space and add a new dimension to experiencing the JBR thus allowing the public to acknowledge the amount of creativity brewing within this society, and celebrating them by exposing their work,” Dubai Culture announced on their webpage.
“The artists can explore a wide range of mediums which can include but is not exclusive to: digital print, installation, mixed media and video projection,” they continued.
Dubai Culture has also cooperated with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to commission an 11 works of art for display on Marrakech and Airport Streets.
The two artists working on those installations – Fatma Saifan and Salama Nasib Saeed – each have a distinctive street style.
“A graduate in Visual Arts from Zayed University, Fatma Saifan’s artwork titled Airport and Travel draws on the shape of the control box, camouflaging it to resemble discarded luggage and shipment boxes, to evoke different forms of travel,” Brownbook Magazine reports.
Saeed’s contribution, which has a mystical quality according to the magazine, celebrates Dubai’s numerous forms of transportation, including bicycles, boats and the metro.
Unlike the street artists of Egypt or Tunisia, who are confronting powerful political themes, artists in Dubai are slightly more benign. Nonetheless, even the smallest deviation from the monotony of consumerism is a source of spiritual relief and we applaud this meaningful initiative.