A city embracing its art

As Milan's 2015 Expo prepares to launch in May, Dubai is getting ready with preparations of its own for its 2020 event. Vision talks to the regional and international artists who are exhibiting their work around the emirate to illustrate how the city is embracing its cultural endeavours 

Satire and surrealism may seem at odds with the topics of the Expo 2020; which espouses ‘mobility’ and ‘sustainability’ as some of its subthemes – but these are the key inspirations of Sheikha Bin Dhaher, one of the artists participating in the Expo 2020 Dubai Art Showcase.

Bin Dhaher, the co-founder of Abjad, an interdisciplinary design studio, says that as an Emirati woman, it was national pride that led her to take part in the event. “My piece is titled ‘People in Motion’ and my aim was to capture the positive elements of migration and how doing so allows people to acquire new skills, ideas, and experiences throughout their lives,” she says. 

“I believe my piece conveys the notion of a cocoon and the metamorphosis that takes place when we pursue a new profession, move to a new country, or make new friends,” she says. 

“In essence, it symbolises the constant change and growth we go through as humans.”

On Saturday 28 February there was a formal unveiling of the ‘Expo 2020 Dubai Art Showcase’ by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State, Board Representative of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee and Director General, Bureau Dubai Expo 2020, featuring the 21 artists from around the world who have all contributed impressive work aligned with Dubai Expo’s key subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. 

“Much like World Expos, art is universal in its appeal and understanding,” say the organisers of the event. The purpose for the artistic involvement, they say, is to allow the UAE public to engage with and learn more about Expo 2020 Dubai and the rich history of World Expos – as well to provide a starting platform for people to collaboratively determine how Expo 2020 Dubai can be for them, through dialogue and debate.

“We welcomed the expression of our theme and subthemes through the eyes of the world’s artists in an effort to spark dialogue around the challenges that impact our daily lives and connect the community.”