x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Music and art draw a crowd to Dubai industrial street

Street Night Art saw street 4B in the Dubai industrial area closed to traffic and taken over by 50 artists and galleries, thrilling the diverse crowds.

Street Night Art in Al Quoz – a community event to help beautify the industrial area – is believed to be the largest outdoor gallery in the UAE. Clint McLean for The National
Street Night Art in Al Quoz – a community event to help beautify the industrial area – is believed to be the largest outdoor gallery in the UAE. Clint McLean for The National

DUBAI // Hundreds of people flooded a small street in the industrial area of Al Quoz on Friday night for a free evening of live art and musical entertainment.

Buses, provided by Arabtec, blocked street 4B in Al Quoz 1 from traffic and floodlights trained on the impromptu stage.

Lining both sides of the street were 50 artists and galleries who were either painting live, organising interactive activities or showing their work.

At either end flatbed lorries doubled up as stages.

Music company The Fridge provided live musicians at one end of the street and Deep Crates Cartel, a DJ and breakdancing collective, entertained the crowds at the other.

In the centre, a circle of easels set up by the jamjar, a local gallery, allowed the public to paint, and most of the stools were populated by the children who made up a good percentage of the audience.

“I didn’t expect this to turn into a family event,” said organiser Maria Urrutia. “I thought only young, artsy people would attend but, actually, it seems that everyone is interested and that is amazing.”

Ms Urrutia, from Uruguay, started organising “Street Night Art” a year ago because she wanted to liven up the area and bring the art from inside galleries on to the street.

Although not an artist, she said that these events were commonplace in her home country and an integral part of living in a creative community.

Dubai-based artist Gary Yong, who is from New Zealand and goes by the moniker Enforce One, was of the same opinion.

“I met Maria last year and so I had a good understanding from the start what it was about,” he said.

“I come from a place where these sorts of event are normal and they are definitely a positive thing. It is about freedom of expression in a public space.”

Among the audience were artists, enthusiasts and many families.

Rehab Abouelnaga, an Egyptian who was there with her husband, daughter and cousin, lives in Abu Dhabi and had travelled especially for the event.

“I heard about it from my cousin and she knows that I love everything that belongs to the art world,” she said. “It is a really beautiful event and my daughter loves it. It helps to open her mind.”

Street Night Art was organised by a group of volunteers that Ms Urrutia gathered together. It was sponsored by Arabtec and by Voss water.

It is the first event held under the banner of the Al Quoz Beautification Project, which Ms Urrutia hopes will eventually lead to permanent art on the walls of warehouses and buildings in the area.

aseaman@thenational.ae