Urban art on the wall in Capital
The mural wall is an aesthetically fascinating artwork which depicts the culture and traditions of the UAE. Photo by Nezar Balout
Abu Dhabi - The over half kilometre-long wall — visible from the Dubai to Abu Dhabi highway — emphasises the people and culture of UAE
Sandstorms, temperatures shooting over 40°C, and high humidity were some of the challenges Elio Mercado faced while painting the 600 metre long wall near Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi.
The Dominican born, US-based artist known as Evoca1 is popular worldwide for his murals, particularly street art. His works caught the eye of Aldar Properties, which commissioned him to paint the over half kilometre-long wall, about three metres high, visible from the Dubai to Abu Dhabi highway. “We are very happy with the outcome and very proud of this mural; it emphasises the people and culture of UAE,” Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, CEO of Aldar Properties, told Khaleej Times.
A figurative painter, street artist, designer and activist who works towards merging art and humanity together, Evoca1’s urban murals are social statements. Mercado wishes to evoke — and hence his artist name — the hardship faced by impoverished people, to draw out an emotional response from the public.
Evoca1’s first mural in Abu Dhabi captures this concept well. The “story” portrayed on this wall is inspired by old Emirati, Bedouin traditions. It depicts a boy walking alongside a camel, a man with his falcon, women weaving palm fronds — all scenes from pre-modern era, when people had to hunt or grow their own food, make their own clothes, and largely subsisted on farming, camels and palm trees. All these scenes are painted on a light brown background, the colour of the desert.
The mural was finished just before Eid Al Fitr, but was officially inaugurated on July 11 by Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. “This mural will now encourage local artists to participate in painting other outdoors location as well,” Shaikh Nahyan told Khaleej Times.
“This is the beginning of a long plan to bring life to plain structures. This mural is now part of the world’s art, and using the culture and heritage of UAE for its design was a good idea,” Shaikh Nahyan added.