WATCH: Artists at Dubai Canvas share their inspiration

Mahra Al Falahi, a 23-year-old local artist, poses with one of her art pieces on display at the Dubai Canvas 2020 taking place at City Walk, Dubai.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

DUBAI: As life returns to normal in the UAE, one of the first in-person art exhibitions is being held at City Walk’s indoor space, where the public can find a number of unique pieces under the theme of “Travelling through Art”.

Brand Dubai has partnered with Meeras to host the Dubai Canvas exhibition this year, where a number of local and international talents have come to share their artistic visions. The event showcases many different artists as well as musical performances, an interactive painting experience with a pendulum as well as other shows. The exhibition also tailored to the current climate, with Emirati artist Ahmed Al Mahri creating a live calligraphy piece that depicted the Lebanese flag.

Conversation with 3D International artist

Guinness World Record Holder Juandres Vera is a Spanish 3D artist who has participated in Dubai Canvas for five years. A regular at numerous international and local art events, Vera has presented two large three-dimensional artworks at City Walk this year, where visitors can interact with the work and take some unique illusion photography.

“Most festivals [around the world] use the same locations every year. But in Dubai, every year is a different location. Sometimes we work on the floor, sometimes on the wall, or sometimes both. ‘Travelling Through Art’, the theme of this edition, is what I’ve been always looking for in my work because when people see something in the art, they can travel through their imagination, they can travel through their emotions and they can travel through the subjects that you are depicting in your art work,” Vera told Gulf News.

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Spanish 3D artist, Juandres Vera, poses with one of his completed art pieces on display at the Dubai Canvas 2020 taking place at City Walk, Dubai.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Vera hopes his work can send a positive message inspired by the ‘Travel through art’ theme, “For me, [the two pieces] are meant to give motivation to people these days. Because of the situation we are living in, maybe people don’t have the chance to travel. I can see this action as an example or a motivation for them that everything is moving forward again.”

Depicting large three-dimensional paintings that showcase Dubai was purposeful for Vera. “Dubai is a reference if you want to have this tourism and travel way of life. One of the main if not the best destinations in the world to see a lot of different things, sports and landscapes. It’s also an example for all the world, an international example of how things can move on forward.”

The full-time artist is accustomed to a lot of travelling and attending exhibitions around the world. All that was halted by the pandemic. “I was very excited when I received the invitation to join the festival, not only because it’s the first festival since the COVID-19 lockdown but also because it’s Dubai. Dubai canvas is like the Olympic games of 3D art, for me.”

He urged the public to visit and interact with his 3D work as it is a unique experience, “In other artworks, you don’t have a chance to be part of the work. Here the work isn’t complete until you are posing inside, you are the last piece to complete the puzzle.”

Emirati artist and her world of imagination

Mahra Al Falahi is a 23-year-old artist with a degree in fine arts and has been exhibiting her work all around the UAE.

“This is my second year with Dubai Canvas,” she tells Gulf News. “Art is always an escape for many people. It’s a portal where you can be anywhere where, you can feel something different than what’s happening around you. Through this event we see that we are all on the same boat. It’s an escape for all of us not just the artists but also the viewers.”

Her two paintings depict her vision of what ‘Travelling Through Art’ means. One painting shows a large paper aeroplane on the ground at City Walk, tucked between the many cafés and restaurants around the area. People can stand on the plane and imagine themselves travelling away, Al Falahi says. The second painting shows a large paintbrush with wings that Al Falahi describes as a brush that can fly around and paint the skies.

“As an artist I’ve been lately working on 3D sculptures and installation art. It’s a form of art where the audience can interact with the pieces and through the art I try to create a utopian world and that comes from the idea of childhood memories and how when we grow old we seek to feel that safe feeling again or that freedom of imagination again. Through my art I want to encourage my audience to feel free to imagine and be part of that utopian world,” says Al Falahi.

As a full-time artist, Al Falahi is grateful for the arts scene that is blossoming in the UAE, “Especially that we now have big important museums such as the Louvre, there’s such an opportunity for art to grow. It’s an encouragement for any Emirati artist to pursue that as not just a passion but as a career.”

She adds, “I invite people to come and experience imagination through my paintings, [my message is that] people shouldn’t restrict themselves with the reality of the world and to be able to freely express their thoughts.”

Dubai canvas, which began on the first day of Eid Al Adha, will run till August 31.