Culture by canvas

Culture by canvas

There’s simply no escaping the Dubai World Cup fervour sweeping the city this weekend, so hop aboard the equestrian extravaganza and don’t look back.

Running concurrently with the BurJuman International Millinery Exhibition - a must-visit for any fashionista - the equestrian-themed art exhibition, which culminates on March 30 coinciding with the races, will give visitors an immersive experience of Dubai’s equestrian culture through the work of a group of painters whose themes brings alive the emirate’s heritage and its fascination with the thoroughbreds.

The mall has partnered with ArtFans, a Dubai-based group of artists and art lovers for this event. Founded by veteran artist Mona Al Assaad (pictured), the group’s stated aim is to bring the community together around the arts while supporting artists in the city and acting as a link between people who appreciate the finer things in life.

Al Assaad herself is among the artists featured in the exhibition. One of her pieces, a striking acrylic on canvas, depicts Dubai’s modern cityscape in a dreamy, surrealistic style in the middle of which is a herd of beautifully rendered Arabian horses captured in full gallop.

“Horses are at the heart of Arab heritage and tradition,” Al Assaad said. “I wanted my painting to show how that past and the present merge in Dubai; that a city on the cutting edge of modernity is also in touch with its heritage and roots and is a beacon for the best of Arab culture. In fact, that is an overriding theme in this exhibition, not just in my work but in those of the other artists participating through ArtFans.”

One of those artists is Prashant Sankhe, an ad-man by day who’s been moonlighting as a painter for many years. Speaking about his oils on canvas, he said: “Horses have always been symbolic of vigour and virility all over the world. In the Middle East they are even more a central element of Arab culture and tradition than anywhere else. My works for this exhibition depict the importance of these beautiful animals in the region’s imagination.”

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