Saturday, 16 October 2021 10:14 GMT

Superb works by leading Emirati artists installed onsite at Expo 2020 Dubai, celebrate nature, form and the built environment


(MENAFN- Mid-East.Info) Dubai: With Expo 2020 Dubai readying to open its doors to the world on 1 October, four Emirati artists from different generations are finalising the installation of their permanent public artworks on the Expo site, as part of Expo 2020's Public Art Programme. 

The artworks by Emirati artists Afra Al Dhaheri , Abdallah Al Saadi , Asma Belhamar and Shaikha Al Mazrou will be exhibited alongside other works by leading colleagues from the region and the world, creating an unprecedented space for creativity across the Expo site, not only during the six-month duration of one of the world's most anticipated events, but also for many years to come. 

The Public Art Programme is curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh and designed in alignment with the ambitious urban plans that will transform the Expo 2020 site into the future city of District 2020. The programme is curated as a platform for contemporary art in the neighbourhood, with 11 permanent substantial public artworks interwoven within its urban fabric and offering the possibility for many more artworks in the future.

Abdullah Al Saadi's work, Terhal, is a permanent public intervention in a seating area, and embodies the result of his immersion in the unique natural surroundings of Wadi Tayyibah in the emirate of Fujairah. In this work, the artist's map-like paintings are inspired by different orientations on stones from the Wadi Tayyibah region. The stones are organised according to his own symbolic code, in an invitation to discover a kind of poetic archaeological language. 

The Plinth by Shaikha Al Mazrou embodies her aesthetic language, which diverts materiality and creates dynamic forms with an interplay of tension and balance, demonstrating the artist's intuitive, keenly felt understanding of materials and their physical properties. The work conceptually and formally references plinths, and its form allows the possibility of other artists to create artworks that can be exhibited in relation to it. Al Mazrou intends the sculpture to function as a tool for future dialogue with other artists, whom she might not know or meet. 

A special part of the Public Art Programme is curated by Muneera Al Sayegh and Mohammed Al Olama and includes two works that explore the role of monuments in the local landscape and their connection with memory, architecture and nature. 

One work is a large-scale marble sculpture by artist Afra Al Dhaheri entitled Pillow Fort, which is inspired by the tikkay, traditional Emirati floor pillows, revisiting childhood moments of impromptu play when building a pillow tower or a fort with them. These childhood forts existed within our rooms within our homes, as a space within a space within a space. The viewer's presence and interaction are essential in activating this work, which becomes a tool that connects society in a mass recollection of memory. 

The other work titled Distorted Familiarities by artist Asma Belhamar confronts perspectives of nature and the built environment, marrying the two realities. Belhamar speaks to the visual distortion experienced when commuting from mountainscapes into cityscapes, where the change from landscape to architecture and from topography to iconography feels like a journey through shifting scales and times. 

All 11 artworks are interwoven within the urban fabric of the city of Dubai, forming lasting landmarks along a path across the site of Expo 2020 Dubai that creates a narrative of concepts, ideas and aesthetics – a creative journey that sets the tone for the site of Expo 2020, encouraging innovative thinking and sparking the imagination of its visitors.

The conceptual framework of the Public Art Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai is inspired by the famous Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Ibn al Haytham's seminal work, Book of Optics (c. 11th century). The concept of the programme provides a prism to view contemporary artworks and a context that allows an exploration of the philosophical aspect of Ibn al-Haytham's theories on visual perception, including his definitions of vision, recognition and the impossibility of envisioning a full picture of reality within oneself without the power of imagination. 

Reflecting on the history of the arts and its complex and rich connection with science and philosophy in this region during the historical peak of trade and intercultural relations beginning in the 9th century might assist us in re-thinking concepts and ideas that are pertinent to explore in the world today. For the classical is not simply past, nor merely passed onto the present, but also comes to meet us in the future. Recalling Ibn al-Haytham today inspires us to understand the explanation of phenomena and the relation between the imagined and the perceived and to explore the commonality among humans while understanding cultural particulars. It may be that the only human capacity that helps us navigate diverse cultural particulars is the power of the imagination and the ability to grasp stories, however strange.

Expo 2020 will run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, inviting visitors from every corner of the globe to discover a wide range of cultural and artistic initiatives dedicated to broadening horizons and bringing people, communities and nations together.

About Expo 2020 Dubai :

From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome visitors from every corner of the globe to join the making of a new world, as it brings together the planet in one place to reimagine tomorrow.

  • With the purpose of 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', Expo 2020 will be the world's most impactful global incubator for new ideas, catalysing an exchange of new perspectives and inspiring action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenges
  • Expo 2020 will be the biggest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever
  • Expo 2020's subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to preserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone
  • For six months, Expo 2020 will be a must-visit family destination, with thousands of events, amazing exploratory experiences, and free entry for children up to age 18
  • Expo is committed to building a more equitable and just world for everyone, while keeping visitors safe by following the latest guidance of the world's leading medical, science and health experts
  • Expo 2020 is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South 
  • Built with a meaningful and measurable long-term legacy in mind, the Expo site will transform into District 2020 – a model global community that will rethink the cities of the future – after Expo 2020 closes its doors

How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely

To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited. 

To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:

1. Register to access our Media Information System, Tawassul at

Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.

2. Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest.  

Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.

About World Expos :

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London's Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, 'Industry of All Nations', were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment. 

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions ('Expos') and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE's auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

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