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01 October 2023

Dubai Canvas Festival 2016 concludes

Mona Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office.

By Staff

The second edition of Dubai Canvas Festival concluded today at Jumeirah Beach Residence after enthralling the public and art lovers alike with the creations of some of the world’s best street artists.

Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in cooperation with Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), a renowned destination developed and managed by Dubai Properties (DP), Dubai Canvas Festival 2016 featured over 60 artworks of 30 artists from 14 countries. The artworks were exhibited in a public space stretching over two kilometres in JBR.

Inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into an open-air art museum, the two-week Festival received an overwhelming response from residents and visitors to Dubai.

Commenting on the success of the event, Mona Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, said: “The Festival contributes to reinvigorating the art scene not only in Dubai but the entire region. Events like this serve to boost enthusiasm and appreciation for art within the community and create a vibrant creative and cultural ambience.  The success of the Festival adds to Dubai’s emerging profile as a global art hub and a trailblazer in organising innovative international art events.”

“The Dubai Canvas Festival is inspired by the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to support and encourage all forms of innovation and creativity. The Festival also supports Dubai’s key objective of becoming a city of happy, creative and empowered people and a preferred place for people from across the world to live, work and visit,” Al Marri further said.

During the Festival, Brand Dubai announced Dubai Canvas 3D Art Award - the world’s first award that recognizes excellence in 3D art.

The Dh2.3 million ($650,000) Award invites submissions from artists all over the world under the theme of ‘Happiness’.

A jury comprised of renowned international and local artists will evaluate the submissions to name three winners. Awards in two special categories – ‘Best Emirati Participation’ and ‘People’s Choice’ – will also be given away.

Al Marri said: “The Dubai Canvas 3D Art Award, which is the first of its kind in the world, reflects Dubai’s keenness to provide a supportive environment for art and artists to flourish. This new initiative complements one of Dubai Canvas Festival’s key objectives of supporting the development of artistic talent both in the UAE and across the world.”

The 2016 Festival saw an even broader array of artists than last year. Participating artists included the inventor of 3D street art Kurt Wenner; New York-based artist and cyborg activist Neil Harbisson; Dutch pop-surrealist artist Leon Keer; Portuguese street artist Odeith; London-based graffiti artist Fanakapan; Chinese street artist Qi Xinghua; Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra and British muralist Shok-1.

Mona Al Marri expressed her gratitude to Jumeirah Beach Residence for their partnership, which was instrumental in the successful organisation of the Festival. She also thanked the artists for participating in the event and sharing their expertise with the public and young local artists.

Al Marri also thanked the organising team and the volunteers for the efficient running of the Festival and their proactive efforts to make sure the visitors were able to engage with the artworks and enjoy the Festival.

Arif Mubarak, CEO of Dubai Properties’ Asset Management Arm under Dubai Properties Group, said: “We have witnessed a tremendous transformation at JBR over the last 2 weeks, turning it into a true an open air gallery which received unparalleled recognition from art enthusiasts and the local and international audiences. This event has furthered JBR’s position in leading the unconventional art scene not only in the UAE, but in the Middle East as well, while immediately answering to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“The selection of JBR as the official venue for Dubai Canvas, and our partnership with Brand Dubai has proven to be a great success in contributing to attracting massive numbers to this festival being held at this renowned outdoor destination. We are positive that this event has inspired the local community at large, and we hope that next year we will see an event wider participation from home-grown talent.”

Artists taking part in the Festival had words of high praise for the event.  The inventor of 3D street painting Kurt Wenner said that the multicultural composition of Dubai provides a perfect environment for the interactive images he creates.

He said that the city is a good barometre of the success of new art forms like 3D art.

“Dubai is a city of the future. It grows with design and intention rather than by historical accident. Therefore, the city provides a good measure for the future success of an art form,” he said.

The Festival also featured Neil Harbisson, who charmed Dubai’s public with his musical interpretation of the city’s colours. Harbisson is best known as the world’s first cyborg artist as well as the first individual to be recognised as a cyborg by a government.

Born with colour blindness, Harbisson has an antenna implanted in his skull that allows him to ‘hear’ colours as different musical frequencies. The artist unveiled a musical composition called ‘Colour Dubai Symphony’ at the Dubai Canvas Festival in collaboration with local singers and musicians, his first piece based on the colours of a city.

Harbisson believes Dubai provides the perfect setting for him to share his tonal perspectives on colour. “Dubai’s unique cityscape and cultural diversity create a unique palette that strongly identifies its character,” he said. The artist, who is also a cyborg activist, saw his participation in Dubai Canvas Festival as a great opportunity to share an emerging art movement with the Middle East.

The two-week Dubai Canvas Festival ran from March 1 to March 14, 2016.