Dubai’s designer toys

One customisable toy, 100 local artists: Nyree Barrett meets some of the designers taking part in Project Mega

Interview

After visiting urban art hotspots such as Japan, local comic artist and designer toy enthusiast Mohammed Abedin felt it was time for more creativity in Dubai. So he designed a custom toy called Mega, which he sketched out and produced at a factory in China – a two-year project.

His next step was to find 100 artists to create ‘customs’ of the toy by painting, covering, clothing and adorning the little robot-esque characters. ‘A lot of gallerists thought I was crazy to manage 100 artists, but the day before the exhibition they all came down with their Megas and helped to set up the whole exhibition – the response was awesome.’

The results are marvellous. Each of the 100 toys has become a distinct character: some are technically more impressive than others, but this just makes the exhibition all the more varied. In support of the local scene, Abedin donated a Mega to each of the artists, and the sales of each will go entirely to the artist – prices are estimated to range between Dhs2,000 and Dhs16,000 – although many of the creators no longer want to sell the Megas, having grown attached to the characters.

‘This is just step one for Mega,’ explains Abedin. ‘I have some manufacturing tweaks – series two will come with interchangeable accessories, such as ears and wings for the backpack.’ And although many of the artists don’t want to sell their original Megas, Abedin’s art initiative Foo Dog will most likely produce limited runs of some of the best Megas. Yes please!

Project Mega continues at DIFC’s Gate Village, outside Cuadro, until June 26 (weather permitting), after which they’ll be scattered across Dubai at venues including Virgin Megastore. See www.foo-dog.com for exact details

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