x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Everything to play for in Dubai Mall's toy contest

Project: MEGA is back - 125 toys customised by the UAE's established and up-and-coming artistic talent.

Project:MEGA at the Dubai Mall. Antonie Robertson / The National
Project:MEGA at the Dubai Mall. Antonie Robertson / The National

Dubai Mall is being taken over by MEGAs - 125 20-centimetre customisable figures designed by UAE national Mohammed Abedin in 2008.

They can be drawn on and painted, and their arms, head, ears and back rocket can be adjusted or removed. The figures have been customised by 125 UAE-based artists for the second Project: MEGA, the Middle East's largest designer toy exhibition, says Abedin, the founder of Foo Dog.

The exhibition, supported by Dubai Culture and in association with Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) and Extra Cake PR, sees the debut of more than 60 artists and the return of 50 established talents such as Jalal Luqman, Sumayyah Al Suwaidi Mattar Bin Lahej and Khalil Abdulwahid.

Abedin says that having seen the idea for such designer toys gain worldwide momentum, he decided to introduce the concept here.

"The UAE has incredible raw talent and I wanted to bring that together. Project: MEGA is a massive exhibition providing an opportunity for exposure and acting as a creative platform," he says. "Some of these artists have no exposure. This is a great new light that provides them with recognition."

It is also a great collaboration, says Somaya Soeryadiredja, the MEFCC project manager. "For artists it provides inspiration, and for visitors a chance to see the kind of art we have in the region."

For Lahej, the opportunity to appeal to a new generation of creatives is not to be missed. "I've seen a lot of new names on the exhibitor list which shows it's getting bigger," she says. "Visitors will see different views and perspectives."

Not all the exhibitors are artists. Some are musicians, photographers, bakers and even a surgeon. "The idea is to gather creative minds. I'm extremely excited about what will happen after the event," says Abedin.

Dubai Mall until July 8. On July 10 it moves to FN Design Studios at Alserkal Avenue, and between July 12 and 14 the MEGAs will be auctioned. At the first event, Jalal Luqman's piece was auctioned for Dh50,000. Visit www.foo-dog.com