The ‘Dubai Walls‘ Festival began on 31st March 2016 and aims to bring street art to the middle east. The initiative, launched by Meraas – a Dubai-based holding company, attempts to transform public spaces into permanent street art exhibitions that align with Dubai’s modern landscape.
Some of the world’s best artists have been invited to paint on public spaces all across ‘City Walk‘ in Jumeirah, transforming Dubai’s latest urban living destination into a unique art hub.
Artists include Aiko (Japan), Blek le Rat (France), D-Face (UK), Eelus (UK), Eine (UK), Ron English (US), Etam Cru (Poland), Icy & Sot (Iran), ROA (Belgium), Rone (Australia), Magda Sayeg (US), Beau Stanton (US), The London Police (UK), and Nick Walker (UK).
AIKO was born and raised in Tokyo before moving to New York City in the mid-90’s. Already creating art since a young age, her art career in NYC began when she started working for Takashi Murakami. Later she would come to establish the trio known as FAILE.
The God Father of urban art in Europe, Blek le Rat was the first to use stencils for creating public art on the street, using icons instead of writing his name. He has been painting Rats in Dubai!
Blending pop culture with graffiti, mashed with a rebellious streak and an ingenious imagination, D*Face a.k.a Dean Stockton has been a leading British figure in Urban Contemporary Art. He paints ‘Shop Till You Drop!’ in the City Walk shopping mall! Looks like a shopping overload!
Wigan born Eelus entered the world of street art a few years after moving to London in 2000. He paints his most iconic piece ‘Not Everything Is So Black and White‘, instead of an umbrella in the mural the girl holds a palm leaf.
ICY and SOT are refugee stencil artists from Iran, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York.Their stencil work depicts human rights, ecological justice, social and political issues. They paint two faces with birds flying away… a take on their popular stencil work ‘Let her be free’.
Stanton’s work takes the form of paintings, murals, large-scale installations, stained glass, and multimedia animations. Focusing on meticulous technique and craft, Stanton’s work is heavily informed by historic ornamentation, religious iconography, and classical painting. He paints an impressive triple sided lenticular mural in Dubai! Also the boat was painted because historically, Emirati people living in Jumeirah were fishermen, pearl divers and traders.
“Taking advantage of the angled blocks, I decided to create a lenticular mural that utilizes anamorphic forced perspective to create three separate view points. From the left, a sculpture of a male head with a ship precariously balanced on its crown, from the right a female head interacting with said ship, and from the center the ship riding through a tumultuous sea made up of waves of hair and beard contributed from each side image” Beau Stanton.
Ben Eine is one of the UK’s most prolific and original street artists. Over time his style evolved to become what is today one of the most instantly recognisable and distinct street signatures; single letters and cryptic statements presented in bold colours all elaborately crafted from stylized fonts. For Dubai he paints “He’s In The Best Selling Show”
Nick Walker emerged from the Bristol graffiti scene of the early 1980s. Nick paints his alter-ego and signature street artwork ‘The Vandal’. Also in keeping with the City Walk’s statement ‘For the love of the city’.
ROA was born in Belgium, which is where he began his career painting abandoned warehouses and factories and became fixated on the creatures he found living in the wreckage. His distinct portrayal of animals on a massive scale has made him one of the most recognizable street artists.
Ron English coined the term POPaganda and paints his miss mash of styles perfectly.
Magda displaces hand-made, mostly knitted, material in environments where it seemingly doesn’t belong … only to discover that they can coexist quite harmoniously.
Australian street artist Rone is best known for his haunting, stylised images of women’s faces.
The London Police started in 1998 and are Chaz Barrisson who draws the iconic ‘LADS’ characters and Bob Gibson whose tight portrait and architectural illustrations help marry the two styles to create an endearing, exciting fantasy world.
Slinkachu (b. 1979, Devon, UK) has been “abandoning” his miniature people on the streets of cities around the world since 2006. This one is titled ‘Valet’ and includes a Ferrari car key, due to Jumeirah being one of the most expensive areas in Dubai to live in after the Emirates hills! Va Va Voom!
Polish graffiti artists Sainer and Bezt, collectively known as Etam Cru, paint large-scale murals of surreal scenes heavily charged with Eastern European folklore, mysticism, fantasy and witty humour. They have the biggest wall in City Walk and is still work in progress …
Check back at a later date for a finished picture of Etam Cru and more photos from Dubai, and enjoy the Dubai Walls WIP video.
Photos courtesy of Dubai Walls