Local artists and photographers pay tribute to the iconic hotel
Time Out Dubai staff
To celebrate the iconic landmark’s 15th anniversary, we asked some of our favourite local artists and photographers to pay tribute to it, in their own unique way…
Artist: Lama Khatib Daniel Profile: A self-taught artist who has been based in Dubai since 1998, Lama has exhibited her work extensively in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and has led numerous projects for clients including Ski Dubai and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Working predominantly in charcoal, her dreamlike pieces are dominated by the human face, something she considers to encompass a whole world in its own right.
Inspiration: ‘In this composition I tried to depict the uninterrupted relationship between the rooted past and the magnificent present – Dubai portrayed as a youthful girl crowned by the sea and the pride of heritage symbolised by the falcon. The iconic Burj Al Arab stands out as a main feature of Dubai – a feature that still sails in the city’s remarkable skyline.’
Artist: JZ Aamir Profile: Hailing from Pakistan, JZ Aamir lives and works in Dubai. Having merged his childhood passion for Arabic calligraphy with his love of photography into one form, he now creates pieces of light calligraphy – a long-exposure technique that allows ‘writing in space’ with light, with no Photoshop editing.
Inspiration: ‘Light calligraphy is the combination of my passions. The beautiful landmarks of Dubai have inspired my work immensely. To me, the Burj Al Arab is a must-see at night, when the exterior is decorated with multicoloured lights, and this is my way of showing the beauty of the Burj Al Arab, with light calligraphy, to the world.’
Artist: Matthew Ryder Profile: A British artist living and working in the UAE, Matthew takes inspiration from everyday life to the worlds of politics and celebrity. His caricatures include well-known figures such as Mark Wahlberg and President Barack Obama. Ryder’s love of animals mean they are also a frequent subject of his paintings – these animals are often used as a form of playful social commentary. His work has been published all around the world and he has also illustrated several children’s book covers and created caricatures for royalty.
Inspiration: ‘My idea was to have a totem pole style Burj made up of UAE wildlife and 15 lotus mandalas. The totem is traditionally created to celebrate notable events and society culture. I designed the 15 lotus mandalas (one for each year) as it is a symbol of growth and beauty, something that the Burj undoubtedly is.’
Artist: Khaled Bakkora Profile: Born in Syria in 1998, Khaled Bakkora’s interest in photography started four years ago, with a small project on the impact of shadows. Moving to Dubai helped take his photography further. He has since been chosen by National Geographic Abu Dhabi to participate in a competition, and has been published across the UAE.
Inspiration: ‘Personally, I believe that photography is a double-sided beauty, where both the observer and the photographer do not feel the urge of using vocabulary. It’s the art of non-verbal storytelling. In the end what matters to me is the feeling when you see it.’
Artist: Eman Khamis Profile: An emerging Emirati artist, graphic designer and fashion illustrator, Eman studied applied communications at Dubai women’s college and loves travelling, music, art and fashion.
Inspiration: ‘I was inspired by the powerful graphic statement of the Burj Al Arab’s architecture, combined with the absolute luxury of the interiors. I appreciate the progressive and modern comment the building makes about Emiratis.’
Artist: Abdulla Profile: Abdulla is a 21-year-old Emirati who has autism and works with Mawaheb from Beautiful People, an art studio for adults with special needs.
Inspiration: ‘I am so proud of being Emirati and have many favourite buildings here in the UAE. The Burj Al Arab is one building I never get tired of seeing. I see lots of characters – camels and some random things and a speedboat. Dubai is a very fun place and new things are happening every day. It has the best deserts and helicopters. There’s a giant landing spot on the top of the Burj Al Arab. I wouldn’t bungee jump off it, but it looks fun. All sports should be for people with disabilities too. That’s why I have drawn a man coming down in a wheelchair.’
Artist: Sharan Profile: Sharan is 23 and hails from India. She has muscular dystrophy and also works with Mawaheb.
Inspiration: ‘I like the shape of the Burj Al Arab. It reminds me of a sail. This is the first time I tried my hand at doodling. The design is inspired by the very popular henna designs, which are such an integral part of the Emirati culture.’
Artist: Anjali Profile: Anjali is a 47-year-old woman from India with Down’s syndrome, who works with Mawaheb.
Inspiration: ‘I like the different colours at night. That’s why I made the Burj Al Arab so bright. I feel happy when I see it lit up.’