The gradual arrival of urban street art culture to the desert has created a buzz of excitement around the city that has been welcomed with a perceptive appreciation for the new art medium.
I spoke with the masterminds behind the Dubai Walls initiative to give you all there is to know about how they have introduced the likes of great graffiti artists such as, Nick Walker, Ron English, Roa, Icy and Sot and D*Face to the region.
Art Report: Who came up with the Dubai Walls Initiative?
Dubai Walls: Dubai Walls is a groundbreaking initiative by Meraas that aims to bring the world’s most exciting art movement to the Middle East.
AR: Why do you feel that it is important to bring urban street art to Dubai?
DW: Dubai Walls aims to provide an attractive platform for global admirers of street art and encourage them to visit the region throughout the year. This art form evolved in late 20th century and beginning of 21st century to become one of the most followed artistic expressions in the world. The initiative also attempts to transform public spaces into permanent street art exhibitions that perfectly align with Dubai’s modern landscape and offer an opportunity to visitors and residents to enjoy the beautiful artistic creations.
AR: How have you decided on the artists?
DW: In its inaugural project, Dubai Walls has reached out to different artists who are each recognized for their personal style. We wanted to ensure that there is a variety in the art pieces delivered at CITYWALK and that they appeal to the wider audience. Art is a subjective matter and talks to each one of us differently. The artists may have a message, it is the individual’s interpretation of the message that actually starts this conversation and makes it more and more interesting.
AR: Do the artists decide what walls they will create their artworks on? If not, how are they locations designated for each artist?
DW: Dubai Walls has selected several walls at CITYWALK that were suitable for street art. Artists then had the liberty to choose the wall that both challenged the artists and inspired their artworks.
AR: Are the artists’ artworks pre-approved by the organizers of the initiative before they go on the wall?
DW: Dubai Walls gave the artists the choice and freedom to decide what imprints they wanted to leave in Dubai. We of course were available to help each of the artists better understand the culture and the environment.
AR: Will the walls change?
DW: Street art is constantly changing but the walls at CITYWALK are now a permanent outdoor gallery.
AR: What do you feel the initiative has brought to Dubai?
DW: Dubai Walls has received an extremely positive feedback from the global and local art scene being it artists or people interested in arts. We are extremely encouraged by the number of artists that are interested in taking part from the UAE.
AR: Are their plans to increase the project further in the Middle East?
DW: CITYWALK was the first to host the creative works of 15 of the world’s top street artists who, with their large permanent murals, transformed Dubai’s latest urban living destination into a unique art hub. Future plans will be announced in due time.
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