Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

The country’s art and soul on show: 12 most creative works on display in the UAE

The UAE’s malls, streets and parks are home to an exciting range of exceptional artworks designed by local and international artists, which aim to complement public spaces while igniting discussions on intent and aesthetics. Here’s a round-up of 12 of the most creative works on display in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.


Shukran by Farhad Moshiri :: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

This amusing and evocative piece by Iranian-British artist Farhad Moshiri employs kitchen knives and sharp objects of all shapes, sizes and colours stuck in a wall to spell “shukran”. Moshiri, who is known within the neb-pop movement for the simplicity of his compositions, uses everyday materials and ironically juxtaposes them with Swarovski crystals. The installation went up at Manarat Al Saadiyat during the recently concluded Abu Dhabi Art, and will remain on public display at the venue for six months.


Abjad by Erin Meekhof :: Building A3, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

An Arabian-inspired masterpiece by NYUAD designer, artist and scientist Erin Meekhof, Abjad is a series of wooden sculptures based on shapes created from research on how the Arabic and roman alphabets developed through time. Meekhof, who uses learning as a springboard to create pieces that also marry science and art, says she has tried to create artistic timelines that reveal the common root between two superficially disparate languages – the aim is to challenge viewers’ linguistic divisions and assumptions. Abjad won the The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award last year. On permanent display at New York University Abu Dhabi.


Falcons by Marco Cianfanelli :: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi

This towering sculpture at the main entrance of Yas Mall was designed by celebrated South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, who is best known for his sculpture Release in the Natal Midlands, which depicts Nelson Mandela using 50 contoured steel columns at the site where the former South African president was arrested in 1962. Cianfanelli’s Yas Mall sculpture was unveiled in November last year. It uses the same principle but on a larger scale and with a different motif: the 132, 18m-tall painted steel columns outside Yas Mall feature six falcons in various stages of flight. An artistic representation of the importance of falconry in Arab culture.


Hanging Arts by Peter Gentenaar :: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi

This series of paper-fibre artworks in varying shades and colours, by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar, hangs from the uppermost ceiling of Yas Mall. Gentenaar, who has exhibited at Salwa Zeidan gallery in Dubai, was behind the 30m-long ceiling sculpture for the rooftop restaurant at Four seasons in Disneyland, Florida, and the Atrium in the City Hall of The Hague. His Yas Mall sculptures – more than 50 of them – are made from thin paper sheets, reinforced by bibs of bamboo to create a leaflike impression. The incredible fineness of the paper was achieved by beating papyrus pulp over long periods of time, then applying force during the drying phase to shrink it to 40 per cent of its size. On permanent display.


3D Tiles by André Meyerhans :: Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi

Dubai-based Swiss architect André Meyerhans was commissioned to brighten up the interiors of the Yas Viceroy hotel with his signature, Islamic-pattern artwork. In the hotel’s main lobby is Meyerhans, a multicoloured, reflective 3-D installation of tiles. Each tile has colour on one side and a mirror on the other, produce a three-dimensional effect. The hues also seem to deepen or lighten, depending on light. On permanent display.


Drift by the Giles Miller Studio :: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, lobby, Dubai

London-based Giles Miller Studio, through Dubai-based Capsule Arts, created a three-dimensional centrepiece titled Drift to signify the mall housing the largest indoor ski resort in a desert country. The installation is spectacular: thousands of bronze-finish “boxes” of varying depth, colour and transparency cascade down the wall behind the main reception. The intricate patterns link to form snowy mountains — or are they sand dunes? On permanent display.


Lama Khatib Daniel Artwork :: Fairmont The Palm, Seagrill on 25° Restaurant and Lounge, Dubai

Another piece handled by Capsule Arts, this commission by resident artist Lama Khatib Daniel complements the decor of the restaurant with a beach-and-ocean theme. The hand-painted ceramic plates, mounted on a wall, depict a dreamlike scene featuring the Jordanian artist’s trademark motifs: a human face, coral and fish. Capsule Arts also created a large wall mirror with a frame of coiled rope for the restaurant. Both are on permanent display.


Octo 3 by Anthony Howe :: City Walk, in front of Paul and Argo Tea Cafe, Dubai

US-based sculptor Anthony Howe, who “accidentally” began creating kinetic sculptures with stainless steel 17 years ago, was last year commissioned to create an installation representing the futuristic vision of Dubai. Staying true to his outrageous style, Howe created Octo 3. One of the largest stainless- steel kinetic sculptures, it is a combination of gears, motors and air-driven wire frameworks stretched with fibreglass. The design was first designed using 3-D imagery and animation, before the metal parts were crafted on customised machines and assembled by hand. Howe’s pieces respond to wind and light. On display until January.


Earth Hives by Latifa Saeed & Talin Hazbar :: The Beach, Dubai

Terracotta pots, a fixture of artisanal craft in the region, are the focus in this charming installation by Emirati artist Latifa Saeed and UAE-based Syrian talent Talin Hazbar. The duo are interested in reviving and displaying traditional techniques and materials in a contemporary context. By repurposing the pots for this piece, the artists’ play with a lighting system captured within the terracotta shells. The installation is reminiscent of beehive cones and is a big draw at The Beach. On display until January.


Yaroof by Aljoud Lootah :: The Beach, Dubai

Emirati artist Aljoud Lootah’s geometric artwork is inspired by and named after yaroof, traditional shore-fishing in the UAE, a technique used to catch small fish. Merging Emirati silhouettes with modern elements, the installation features bright blue fishing nets stretched across four octagon frames. On display until January.


Oceanic Subconscious Inhales Bionic Symphony by Ludovica Gioscia :: Maraya Art Park, Sharjah

A site-specific installation by London-based Roman artist Ludovica Gioscia, Oceanic combines vibrant collages exploring compulsive behaviour and consumerism. Displayed as part of the permanent Imitation Game exhibition in Sharjah, Gioscia’s work makes connections between female characters, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and virtual platforms, looking at what makes people human in the digital age. Created with the help of artists Evie and La Turbo Avedon. On display until May 14.


Futuro Estate by Nick Ferguson :: Maraya Art Park, Sharjah

London-based Nick Ferguson’s Futuro Estate is a series of quirky and colourful space-age birdhouses installed on the waterfront at Maraya Art Park which, while attracting the attention of children, carries a deeper meaning – it is meant to evoke the harmony of indigenous and migrant species of birds, which double as a symbol of the local and non-national residents in the UAE. On display until May 14.

Updated: December 6, 2015 04:00 AM

Editor's Picks
Sign up to our daily email
Most Read