National Day Parade in Downtown Dubai.
Sharjah - 'Journey of the Dunes' depicts the old UAE filled with sand dunes, pearl divers, fishermen and flying falcons; and the new UAE as a thriving metropolis.
'Journey of the Dunes' is a labour of love, patriotism and an ode to the vision of the leaders of the UAE. The 10x6-ft mural depicts the old UAE filled with sand dunes, pearl divers, fishermen and flying falcons; and the new UAE as a thriving metropolis that it is today.
'Journey of the Dunes' is a not-for-profit work of five passionate artists, who have nothing in common except their love for art. The maiden project of a creative community initiative called 'Illustratively Yours', the mural is their interpretation of what the UAE once was, and what it has turned into.
Artists behind the ensemble 'Illustratively Yours' work in different industries.
Leo Paul, a web designer; Clinto Jagan, a graphic designer; Jayashankar, an art teacher; Merin Jose, a software engineer; and Aparna Nair, an art teacher, are the artists.
Khaleej Times caught up with the five artists, who talked about their race to finish the mural just before the National Day on December 2. Along with the painting, the team has also put together a video, shot and edited by Fazil Abdul Azeez, a video editor at the Dubai Media.
The team said there is a shortage of illustrators and artists in the UAE nowadays, since people are more drawn to using Photoshop as a medium of expression.
For Aparna Nair, an architect by profession and art teacher by choice, her best memories of the UAE are the ones before giant steel structures and gleaming metros.
"I grew up in Sharjah ... I remember the sand dunes on the Sharjah-Dubai highway and Shaikh Zayed Road. However, when I tell newcomers to the UAE about how it once used to look, they find it very hard to believe," Nair said.
Elements featured on the mural include historical images such as pearl divers, fishermen, the Arabian oryx, and the Emirati love for falconry. With portraits of the seven Rulers of the emirates and the Father of the nation, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the work progresses into the development of the UAE.
"The team slogged on the painting for three weekends ... which accounts to over 72 hours of work," said Jose.
Video-editor Fazil said it was his passion towards the project that got him involved despite his busy schedule. The team said they also suffered several logistical challenges while installing and bringing together the Journey of the Dunes. "We could not find a canvas or a stand that big ... which was (of) good quality. So we got it custom-made at Canvas Art in Festival City," said Merin.
The mural will be displayed at the Murdoch University in Academic City till December 2, which will not be sold.
"There is no price for the mural. It is our maiden work and we want to continue doing these projects," said Nair.