Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE Ramadan: 8 Pakistani women paint mural to spread cheer amid Covid

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 8, 2021
Photo: Supplied

They spent over 90 hours painting a 20x10ft mural on one of the exterior walls of the Pakistan Association Medical Centre.

A group of women artists is set to further enhance the aesthetic look and feel of scenic Dubai.


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Eight women artists spent over 90 hours painting a 20x10ft mural on one of the exterior walls of the Pakistan Association Medical Centre (PMC) at Oud Metha, Dubai — amid all Covid-19-related safety measures.

The group — which is part of the overseas Pakistani artists’ fraternity (Ospaf), a sub-committee of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) — said this was their way of giving back to the UAE, their second home, amid these Covid-19-induced hard times to “wean off” the negative effects of the pandemic.

Their creative pursuits reflected in vibrant colour schemes sought to spread good cheer, positivity and happiness that adorn the city’s walls.

Masooma Rizvi, President of PAD's Art Wing, said: “The last year was dull and slow due to the pandemic. We wanted to do our bit and give back to this beautiful country as we know best through our artistic creations. We wanted to infuse vibrancy into the city by splashing colours on its walls.

"The murals seek to uplift the mood of Dubai’s residents," Masooma continued. "The timing of the event couldn’t have been more opportune, as the holy month of Ramadan starts next week. We undertook our flagship project at PAD, where we created a mural on the UAE-Pakistan unity and friendship. We displayed the national flags and iconic buildings of both the countries.”

The murals are a symbol of hope springing eternal among people, despite challenges such as Covid-19, said Rizvi.

“Truck art, which is a homegrown Pakistani creative genre, forms the basis of the mural at PMC. It’s a boisterous art form, where an artist uses this as a form of expression by imaginative use of contrasting and bold colours. Motifs such as flowers, landscapes, portraits and still life are fused with witty, thought-provoking, and catchy expressions,” she added.

Muhsin Al Banna, General Secretary of PAD, said: “We strongly believe that such creative pursuits leave an ever-lasting impact on the community. Ospaf has made us proud by investing countless hours in beautifying the walls of PAD. Our partners, AkzoNobel and Dulux Arabia, made the project possible.”

Rubab Zahra, a calligraphy and abstract figurative artist; Shabnam Habib, who works in non-representational and architectural art; Sumbul Abidi, a mixed media artist; Maria Faridi, who creates artistic designs in abstract and Arabic calligraphy; Maria Lari, who promotes women empowerment and self-love through abstract paintings of women; Shazia Jaffery, a poet, artist, and sculptor; and Saima Jamil, a Sufi artist, were the eight participants in the project, apart from Rizvi.

Zahra said: “This mural interprets the significance of cultural diversity and harmony between the two countries and its residents. The slogan “Khair nal Ja, Khair nal Aa”, which loosely translates from Urdu to English means have a safe journey, depicts how the UAE’s Pakistani residents are a beautiful and vibrant link between two incredible nations and how we move back and forth between both countries linking and supporting them in all ways possible.”

She explained the thematic significance. “Pakistani expatriates represent our country in the UAE. Khair nal Ja, Khair nal Aa is a divine blessing to all of us, so that we can travel between the two nations seamlessly and safely,” she said.

Rizvi cited Covid-19-related precautionary measures that were strictly complied with during their creative pursuits. All eight participants came at a separate time in a bid to maintain social distancing.

She also held forth on their next project. “Plans are afoot to paint murals in schools, government buildings, and public places after we obtain the requisite approvals. The project was a celebration of team spirit, and bonding, which helped creative juices flow spontaneously. Ospaf plans to conduct similar murals on other buildings and locations across Dubai. We welcome collaborations and look forward to spreading good cheer all around,” she added.

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