You can now tour Dubai through Google Arts & Culture: from fishing village to creative hub

The platform offers a deep-dive into the city’s pearl-diving history and highlights some of its architectural accomplishments

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - March 23, 2015.  The Sikka Art Fair, in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.  ( Jeffrey E Biteng / The National )  Editor's Note; For archives. *** Local Caption ***  JB230315-Sikka10.jpg

Dubai now has its own address on Google Arts & Culture.

The online platform, which presents artworks and cultural artefacts from around the world through high-resolution images and videos, is showcasing Dubai’s culture and heritage, detailing its transformation from a fishing village to a global creative hub.

The new additions come as part of the project Dubai’s Culture & Heritage, which was launched on Thursday by Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The government authority has uploaded more than 800 detailed images of 120 artefacts as well as 70 stories that document the emirate’s history, presented through the eyes of its residents. The material, available in English and Arabic, can be accessed through a portal on the Google Arts & Culture website.

The portal offers a deep-dive into the city’s pearl-diving history and highlights some of its architectural accomplishments. It also details traditional crafts such as the braiding technique of Talli and the art of weaving palm fronds, known as Safeefa.

Historical districts, such as Al Fahidi and Al Shindagha, are also featured with crisp aerial shots that dynamically move with text that elaborates on their histories.

“I am pleased to be launching Dubai’s Culture & Heritage on Google Arts & Culture,” said Sheikha Latifa. “Technology and creativity often intersect, resulting in fascinating experiences, and Google Arts & Culture is a prime example.”

Sheikha Latifa also said the platform will allow people to visually explore Dubai’s unique history and ever-evolving creative scene.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 16 FEBRUARY 2020. 
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority – UAE, at Global Women’s Forum Dubai.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

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“The emirate has a unique, dynamic identity rooted in the diversity of its fabric; it is a place of rich culture and creativity that embraces people and cultures from all over the world, and where global excellence is not just an ambition but a reality.”

The project offers insight into the works of established Emirati creatives including painter Najat Maki, multidisciplinary artist Mohammed Kazem, and documentarian Ali bin Thalith.

A series titled Voices of Dubai sheds light on emerging creatives living in the city, including Wala Kilma rapper Freek and photographer Marta Lamovsek, whose Iconbooth installation captures the dynamism of UAE’s street life. The series includes interviews with the artists, who elaborate on their practices and on how Dubai has inspired their work.

"Thanks to the vision and guidance of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai now holds a distinguished position on the global creative map,” Sheikha Latifa said.

“We are proud that the city has truly become a global centre for arts, culture and creativity, a place where we empower and enable our home-grown talents, and welcome creatives from all over the world, offering them a home where they can thrive on a professional and personal level."

Lino Cattaruzzi, Google managing director in the Middle East and North Africa, said the company was excited about the collaboration with Dubai Culture, helping share the beauty of the city’s heritage with more people around the world.

“We believe this partnership is an important example of how technology can play a role in the long-term recovery of tourism in the region while amplifying the work of the cultural sector.”

Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture, said the project comes as a result of the collective efforts between art and culture experts and members of the local creative community.

“We are proud to be the first government entity in the world to provide content in Arabic and English on Google Arts & Culture,” she said.

Amit Sood, director and founder of Google Arts & Culture, said the project gives an opportunity to explore Dubai’s culture and heritage in a new and interactive way.

“I particularly enjoyed learning about Dubai’s vibrant art scene and traditional Emirati crafts like Al Khous and Talli that have been preserved for generations,” he said.

Updated: September 9th 2021, 10:38 AM