There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the new sculptures near bus stops on Jumeirah Road in Dubai.
It may not be obvious at first glance, but the art installations share a common theme — they all represent some aspects of life in Jumeirah as reminisced by long-time residents.
For example, the Arabic coffee cups, one of the installations, are evocative of the open-doors hospitality of Jumeirah’s residents. “People in Jumeirah used to keep their doors open for guests to come in and the coffee cups are key because they would always be there to welcome them,” said Shaima Al Suwaidi, City Branding Manager of Brand Dubai, the creative arm of Government of Dubai Media Office, which is leading the ‘Jumeirah Project’.
From flamingos to robots
Another artwork, ‘Pink Flamingo’, is inspired by colourful ‘floaties’ commonly found in small shops on Jumeirah Road, which were shaped as flamingos. There is also the jellyfish installation featuring the sea animal abundantly found in Jumeirah Beach waters during the summer. Other installations featuring colourful chicks (the baby birds used to be dyed and kept as pets), a cassette player and a Teela, a small glass ball like marbles, used by Emirati children to play a popular traditional game. Also displayed are a ‘paper’ boat and robots made using metal cans (some from a household milk powder brand).
Connected to culture
“People in Jumeirah are still connected to their culture, even though Dubai has turned into a very modern city. These eight sculptors are reflective of the memories of Jumeirah. We talked with the people of Jumeirah, they also provided us with images from their memories which inspired us to have these specific sculptures,” Al Suwaidi said.
‘Memories of Jumeirah’, the installations, mark the second phase of Jumeirah Project. Developed by international artists, the artworks have been installed at select bus stops along Jumeirah Road from Dubai Canal to Jumeirah Al Naseem. Before this, in 2018, the first phase of the Jumeirah Project was implemented along Jumeirah Road from the Dubai Canal to Burj Al Arab. It featured 23 murals created by local, regional and international artists to enrich public spaces in the area and provide residents and visitors opportunities to experience memories from the neighbourhood’s past.
Apart from public art, Jumeirah Project encompasses a range of activations that aim to celebrate the identity of Jumeirah. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Tourism, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Dubai Sports Council.
There will be more murals — and sculptures — coming to other “strategic neighbourhoods”, Al Suwaidi said. Previously, murals have been created on 2nd December Street, Hatta, Shaikh Zayed Road and Future Street.
The Jumeirah Project, and indeed all endeavours of Brand Dubai, “contributes to realising the broader vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into an open-air museum that celebrates creativity and aesthetic excellence”, Al Suwaidi said.
“Brand Dubai is pleased to work with RTA once again to enhance Jumeirah’s creative ambience and provide platforms for art to flourish. Our strategic partnership with RTA over the years has enabled us to implement various initiatives that helped enhance Dubai’s urban environment.”
The international artists who participated in developing the Jumeirah installations artworks included Polish artist Martin Kot; French architect and digital artist Cyril Lancelin; Massimo Sirelli, founder and art director of a creative studio and a professor at Istituto Europeo di Design di Torino; and Viacheslav Heyderikch, a Ukrainian artist of functional and 3D graphics and animation.
Apart from public art, the Jumeirah Project encompasses a range of activations that aim to celebrate the identity of Jumeirah.