x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Dubai auction: They're all dolled up and ready to move

The crafted dolls were up for auction in Al Quoz.

Visitors, guests and artists arrive at the FN Design Studio on Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz for the auction.
Visitors, guests and artists arrive at the FN Design Studio on Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz for the auction.

DUBAI // More than 100 Japanese-style dolls customised as robots, mermaids or comic book heroes went under the hammer last night.

The crafted dolls, popularly known as "Megas", were up for auction with reserves of between Dh1,000 and Dh10,000 at FN Design Studios, in Al Quoz.

The designs were put on blank dolls that the artists bought for Dh99.

"All of them are different," said Mohammed Abedin, the curator of the exhibition. "On each of them the artist has expressed themselves differently. If you asked me to pick my favourite, I honestly couldn't say."

The project has been running since 2010. This year's batch has been on display for the past week at Dubai Mall.

Emma Sabberton, 32, from the UK, said the creation of her first doll, "Jewel the Disco Diva", had been a painstaking process.

"I decided I like sparkle," Ms Sabberton said. "I sat there for three weeks sticking approximately 8,000 gems on. You can do anything … you take ears off, you can take arms off. It gives you 101 possibilities."

Other artists have been more prolific. Flordeliza Pesigan, who created a mermaid doll for yesterday's auction, said she had made 11 dolls over the course of two years.

Ms Pesigan said her first doll was bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as part of a batch.

"This started as a hobby for me, now it's my day job," she said.

The sale was in cooperation with the Middle East Film and Comic Con, hence a group of eight men dressed as Star Wars storm troopers.

Some bidders came to the auction sceptical but were soon converted.

Angela May, 28, a recruitment consultant from the UK, said her partner had a room full of the dolls but she had never seen the appeal.

"They were all boy stuff, with blood everywhere," said Ms May. "I found these to be a bit more accessible."

Which would she think of buying? "The one with the decapitated sheep holding its own head on a stick."