If you didn’t manage to make it to Dubai’s La Mer for the Dubai Canvas 3-D Art Festival, don’t worry – you will still have a chance to experience some of the work. This year, five murals from some of the world’s most prestigious street artists have been selected to become permanent fixtures.
We take a look at the artworks which will remain on the beach front hub.
Two of Alex Senna’s murals were selected for permanent display. Senna, 35, a native of Sao Paulo, is self-taught, and all his work is done in black and white – he is colour-blind. Using silhouette-like characters, his work focuses on human relationships. He heavily employs the use of shadows and light in his work.
The first painting, typical of Senna’s style, shows two hands stretching out of the shadows towards the light. “My idea is to show how light and shadow can bring different ideas. Light represents freedom, that’s all I can say about it,” Senna tells The National.
Senna doesn’t like to give descriptions of his artworks, preferring people to reach their own conclusions. “I always give tips, but don’t say exactly what it is – to me, it’s important that people have their own thoughts about it.”
The second picture is of two men walking side-by-side and took Senna two days to paint. One is wearing kandura and the other is in shorts and a T-shirt, pictured right.
The mural, he says, is a reflection of Dubai, and the size of the shadows “show the size of man on earth from another perspective”.
Joshua Santos Rivera, aka Bik Ismo, has been a graffiti artist for more than 20 years. He is part of famous graffiti groups including The Nasty Boys, Masters of Destruction and FX. In 2014, he collaborated with Palestinian artist Belin to produce a mural on the West Bank barrier, which divides Israel and Palestine. It shows a boy asleep in bed holding a weapon, but dreaming of holding a teddy bear.
Bik Ismo is also known for his depictions of 3-D metallic sculptures. He completes the wall murals using spray paint. In Dubai, he chose to depict this metallic rabbit, above, which took about four days to paint.
Although he creates all kinds of art from graffiti to office interiors, French artist Étien’ is best known for using the anamorphosis technique to paint his murals. His most famous mural, a painting of a whale on a building in Zagreb, Croatia, was completed in 2015 and was named one of the best 10 murals in the world by Montreal’s Mural Festival.
This time, he took his inspiration from the setting – Le Mer, which means “The Sea” in French, and has painted two fish – one inside a fish bowl and the other outside peering in, pictured top.
Andres Von Chrzanowski, also known as Case Maclaim, has been at the forefront of photorealism graffiti for more than two decades. The German artist, 39, primarily uses spray paint to complete his pieces, which combine photorealism with surrealism. He is most famous for Berlin mural Unter der Hand – a painting of overlapping hands. In this picture (on page 27), the artist has chosen to depict a man wearing local dress, carrying a huge fish over his shoulder.
“I’m happy that such prestigious mural artists were part of Dubai Canvas, and it’s so great that we get to experience this art all year round,” says Aisha Bin Kalli, manager of Brand Dubai Project, which manages the festival.
As well as the murals, 11 other art objects are staying after the festival. You will be able to see Tom Bob’s work scattered around. The artist is famous for turning common items into street art. He has transformed a bench into a crab, a drain cover into a squashed fly and a park bench into a crocodile.
Also remaining will be scattered doodles from Mr Doodle. “Mr Doodle is the most famous doodle artist in the world,” Bin Kalli says. “We gave him two pipes from the car park ventilation, and he completely doodled all over them. What’s really interesting about Mr Doodle is that he never repeats a specific doodle, so it’s all-new, original ideas.”
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The festival, which ran until March 7, was first launched in 2015. This year, it showcased art from more than 30 artists from around the world, and included live 3-D demonstrations, workshops, live music and film screenings.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who visited the festival last Saturday, said: “The cultural landscape in the UAE is witnessing fast-paced developments driven by multi-faceted projects and events that combine the quintessential Emirati culture with modernity, earning the country a distinguished positioning on the world’s cultural scene.” He also said that the development of art mirrors the development of society.