Vintage posters examine Dubai expat lifestyles

Top Stories

Vintage posters examine Dubai expat lifestyles
Clare Napper with the collection of posters at Ocean View Hotel, Dubai.

Clare Napper, a former designer with the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency, said her works are mostly inspired by the art of French illustrator Roger Broders.

by

Bernd Debusmann Jr.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 28 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 28 Oct 2015, 12:39 PM

A Dubai-based British designer has released a second collection of posters of the wildly popular "Highlife Dubai" series, which harkens back to the "Golden Age" of travel and sometimes pokes light-hearted fun at the pampered lives of expats.
Clare Napper, a former designer with the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency, said her works are mostly inspired by the art of French illustrator Roger Broders, whose colourful depictions of popular tourist sites in France became internationally recognised in the 1930s and 1940s.
The first collection of the series - which was released earlier this year - gently mocked certain aspects of Western expat life in Dubai, ranging from an over-dependence on nannies and cleaners to the potentially dangerous effects of an afternoon playing golf in Dubai's blazing summer sun.
The series gained widespread attention across the UAE and internationally, including from CNN, the UK's Daily Mail and Germany's Der Spiegel magazine.
"I had no idea it would do so well," she told Khaleej Times. "I was hoping it would have some success, as I did dedicate a year of my spare time. I thought it would be a fun hobby, something I could sell at the market for a little bit of extra income. I didn't expect this."
In the second collection of posters, Napper offers a stylised, vintage view of some of Dubai's landmarks, such as the Burj Khalifa, Safa Park, or the Deira Clocktower.
"I'm happy to use vintage advertising as a medium for me to say things and use text and images as my part," she said. "But I'm keen to explore all the different styles that there were, from the turn of the century to the 1950s and 1960s. There's just so much language I can use to have fun."
In others, she highlights the sometimes exciting, and sometimes-carefree lives of some of Dubai's Western expats, such as lavish Friday brunches or all-day yacht parties.
"The thing about the travel and tourism ads of the era in which commercial airlines were taking off is that there was just this excitement and thrill of these places," Napper said. "That sense of excitement still exists here."
"People might see it as sarcastic satire, but when I was at a yacht party a few weeks ago, I was looking around, and I was surrounded by ten other yachts of Dubai's young successfuls," she added. "I can't think of anywhere else people can do this."
Napper - who has been able to quit her day job and dedicate her life to her art - said that Dubai is rapidly becoming an attractive place for artists to live and work. "It's clear that the art scene is becoming more visible and growing. People are coming over here and creating more art, more museums, and more galleries," she said.
"It's only going to grow."
bernd@khaleejtimes.com

Exciting and carefree lives of some of Dubai’s expats. —
Exciting and carefree lives of some of Dubai’s expats. —


More news from