Dubai and the United Arab Emirates has seen a recent influx of street art and artists. However, those working beyond preordained areas, outside the law and within a true graffati tradition, still surprisingly few. One of the only such street artists is known Arcadia Blank. Though rare and often illegal, the artist’s work has garnered the support of many locals by forgoing trite tagging for short thought provoking maxims. The short text pieces touch on religion, politics, globalization, media, and a range of other matters with an intriguing mix of sarcasm and sincerity. Further, Arcadia often utilizes temporary structures, which not only minimize private property damage but also is especially appropriate to the artwork’s style.
New York artist James Clar lived in the globalized city of Dubai from 2007-2012 where he was immersed in the arts and culture scene. Fueled by an interest in visual media communication, this experience and the larger themes of globalism, nationalism, and pop culture are apparent in his work. Clar’s light-based installations address the boundaries of technology and the way that it creates and limits new communications within our culture. Some of his work uses light more directly than others, but they all respond to the relationship of light with its surroundings. Clar’s line or geometric-based designs reflect the connections and networks that abound in our culture. His manipulation of this technology expresses the softness of light and the hardness of the forms that contain it.
Painter Jeffar Khaldi stamps his personal perspectives onto reality, expressesing this mix, theatrically, on large canvases. These experiences include being born in Lebanon, receiving his BFA from North Texas and living and working in Dubai. You can see more of Jeffar’s work through the Thierry Goldberg Projects website and the Saatchi Gallery.
Jalal Abuthina is a photographer with a history as varied as his work. He was born in Dublin but grew up all over the world, drifting between Libya, Greece, Tasmania, Australia, and Dubai. His jet-setting youth and current day job as a real estate consultant in Dubai have obviously informed his culturally charged imagery as well as his interest in clean, architectural lines.
I’m off today for a 10 day trip to the mid-east to take part in the Sharjah Biennial. I’ll be documenting my travels in hope of giving everyone a sneak peak into the Biennial as well as Art Dubai which takes place over the same weekend.
With a 6 hour layover at London Heathrow, I decided to do a bit of digging for images or videos about the Biennial but so far the above video is the only thing that i’ve uncovered. It doesn’t say much of anything about the Biennial itself so it will have to do until I actually land in Dubai.