From a bejewelled Burj Khalifa to snowy streets: How digital artists are reimagining the UAE

Several artists are now using computer technology to reimagine everyday life, including the landscape of Dubai and its iconic landmarks


Nasreen Abdulla

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 11:51 AM

Art using artificial intelligence (AI) and 3-D platforms has been opening up avenues for creativity in unlimited ways. Several artists are now using computer technology to reimagine everyday life – including the landscape of Dubai.

Here is some of the coolest art pieces based on the city:

The UAE flag project:

Artist Jyo John Mulloor paid a special tribute to the UAE earlier this month by putting together a collection of landmarks reimagined in various formats to form the country’s flag.

Using a combination of images and 3D platforms, the Dubai-based graphic designer has created multiple non fungible tokens (NFTs), which he has combined to create the UAE flag. While the green showed landmarks like Burj Al Arab, Dubai Frame and the Sheikh Zayed mosque surrounded by lush greenery, the snow project formed the white part of the flag and reimagined what the Hatta sign, Ferrari World and Global Village would look like cloaked in a blanket of snow.

The red paid homage to the Mars project, and recreated what the Burj Khalifa and Dubai metro would like on the red planet – whereas the black reimagined what the Avatar world of Pandora would look like if it was set in Dubai.

One of the artworks shows the Museum of the Future standing tall in the dreamy world of an extrasolar moon, while another depicts a native of the world riding a dragon with the city’s skyline as the backdrop. For Jyo, these images depict the love he has for the city he has called home for 17 years.

Santa riding his reindeer on Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai-based creative artist Yohan Wadia has reimagined what it would be like to have Santa visit the city in time for Christmas. Trading his reindeer for a camel, Santa makes his way around Dubai distributing gifts for those who were nice and not naughty.

During his visit, Santa tries to ride his sleigh through Sheikh Zayed Road, gets lost in Meena Bazaar, rides the abra and even misses a metro to get that ultimate, authentic Dubai experience.

Seen through the eyes of Santa, Dubai truly has an old-world charm that is unmatchable. Hailing from India, Yohan works as an illustrator and a creative director with a media agency. Having lived in the UAE for more than 7 years, the expat says he tries to pay tribute to Dubai through this work. Earlier, Yohan’s images of superheroes in Satwa had been widely appreciated for paying homage to the unsung heroes of the city.

Burj Khalifa reimagined

For Syrian-Canadian multidisciplinary designer Nada Ashi, the discovery of AI-generated art was mind-blowing, and helped her push her boundaries further. A graphic design and digital art professional who runs her own jewellery brand, Nada quickly discovered that AI provided her with another outlet to experiment with.

Drawing inspiration from her favourite building in the city, the designer reimagined the Burj Khalifa. “[As] I interpreted its slender design, gleaming materials and the surrounding fountain, a unique piece jewellery began to form in my mind” she said. “And that it how I re-imagined it – bejewelled with pearls and diamonds.”


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