Artists warm up for Dubai Canvas

The newest destination in Jumeirah is currently underway to have its walls and pavements transformed into colourful 3D displays.

Standing on top of the Dubai Frame, jumping across giant mushrooms, experiencing a winter forest full of wolves or standing on a wooden sky bridge above Dubai’s skyline.

These are some themes – considered rather imaginary – that visitors will come closer to experiencing during the Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival starting on Thursday in the North beach of La Mer.

The newest destination in Jumeirah is currently underway to have its walls and pavements transformed into colourful 3D displays, bringing together 30 international and local artists to create 45 unique optical illusions. The artists got their paint and brush ready on Monday to begin working their magic and get it all ready for public view on Thursday.

Ayesha bin Kalli, project manager at Dubai Canvas, said five permanent 3D murals will be painted across La Mer as part of the fourth edition of Dubai Canvas that continues until March 7.

“Most of the artwork this year has been inspired by the location. La Mer means ‘sea’ in French, and this year’s artworks revolve around nature and the sea,” said Kalli.

The festival that previously coloured the pavements and walls of City Walk and JBR will see over 10 objects at La Mer transforming into art pieces, making the place a street art destination. “People can expect benches, manholes and other objects to be so fancy that they won’t be able to tell they are original objects,” said bin Kalli.

From March 1-7, La Mer visitors will also be able to enjoy live 3D sand art on the beach every morning, daily evening movie screenings, and adult and children workshops.

Dubai Canvas is a public art festival organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO). The annual event, launched in 2015, provides a platform for renowned artists from around the world to exhibit their creations in a public space.

Emirati participation

This year, four Emirati and one Iraqi artists will be displaying their artworks. Kalli said since 3D art is still new to the region, bringing international artists with Emiratis will help in knowledge exchange and encourage more local communities to explore the art.

It is the first time for Emirati Muhra Falahin, 20, to draw in 3D. Through the use of acrylic, her floor piece will feature giant mushrooms printed in 3D to give viewers a feeling that their size is smaller than the mushrooms.

“It is a fun piece that will allow viewers to jump and stand on mushrooms,” said Falahin, a senior student at College of Fine Arts and Design in Sharjah.

She started sketching the mushrooms while measuring the sizes and dimensions she needs to make the piece 3D. “I won’t say it is easy. It is a challenge, but an opportunity for me to enhance my skills,” said Falahin.

She added that the festival will be her chance to communicate with artists from all over the world and benefit from their experience, while also introducing her work to people.

Emirati self-taught artist Sara Al Khoory, 20, is joining the festival for the second time with her 3D display of Dubai Frame with a background that features Burj Khalifa in cloudy view. Through it, viewers will be able to stand on a minimised Dubai Frame.

Al Khoori, a business student, added that the festival allowed her to explore her talent in 3D drawing. Since last year, she said she has trained and researched in 3D art until she improved. “I never saw myself in 3D art, but last year’s festival made me realise I can do it,” she said.

Deep into the forest

Karim Mesanovic, 26, from Bosnia, is in Dubai for the first time to paint his open-air canvas that shows a winter forest with a family of wolves. “I like nature and animals. The theme is winter because it contrasts with Dubai’s current summer,” said Mesanovic, 3D artist for the past six years who has worked in the US, Germany and Holland.

He added that 3D painting is all about physical work that gets tougher with weather conditions. “If it is raining, or the weather is hot, you have to finish the piece quickly before the colours dry up,” he said as he applied acrylic to his canvas.

Back in Dubai for the third time, American artist Tracey Lee Stum will focus on endangered species in the world. “My piece will be a reflection of where we are currently as humans on the planet and where we could be headed. I aim to bring consciousness to that,” she said.

The piece will incorporate elements that look like people are standing upon a pavement, surrounded by animals through the use of acrylic.


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