Emirati artists set to shine at first Dhai Dubai Light Art Festival

Calligrapher behind Museum of the Future to join Expo City Dubai showcase

The first Dhai Dubai Light Art Festival will take place under the area's dome. Ruel Pableo / The National
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Seven Emirati artists will lead the line-up of a new light art festival set to illuminate Expo City Dubai.

Mattar Bin Lahej, known for his calligraphic design on the facade of the Museum of the Future, will showcase his latest piece at the first Dhai Dubai Light Art Festival. He will be joined by Najat Makki, renowned for her colourful abstract work of the region’s landscapes, as well as Mohamed Yousif, the multi-disciplinary artist and writer who often uses themes and symbols of the UAE in his work.

Abdalla Almulla, Khalid Shafar, Reem Al Ghaith and Maitha Hamdan will also join the event, which is set to run from January 26 to February 4 at Al Wasl Plaza.

“Announcing this remarkable line-up of Emirati artists brings us one step closer to the start of what promises to be an incredible festival, further strengthening Dubai’s position as a destination for global arts events,” said Amna Abulhoul, co-curator and Expo City Dubai's executive creative director.

“The participating artists each come with their own unique stories that beautifully complement one another, and together tell the story of Dubai, which visitors will see come to life at Dhai Dubai."

Almulla's geometrically inspired architectural designs explore the relationships between light and daily prayer times, while Shafar has made a name for himself blending Emirati culture and contemporary design elements.

Visual artist Al Ghaith is known for using mixed media to highlight urban transformation in the UAE and multi-disciplinary artist Hamdan often uses her work to explore social boundaries and religion.

Aside from the installations, the festival will offer workshops for children and adults centred on art and light. It will also host panel discussions featuring local and international artists, who are yet to be announced.

“Light is such a significant part of Emirati and Arab culture,” said Anthony Bastic, co-curator and creative director of AGB Creative, a cultural events company backing the festival in partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

“The art and architecture of this region are renowned for their exquisite use of light and shadow. This innate meaning and profound influence of light give deep resonance to this festival. It is a festival rooted in its place, Dubai, and in the work of its local artists who help shape the Emirate’s unique cultural identity.”

Dhai Dubai Light Art Festival will run from January 26 to February 4 at Al Wasl Plaza, Expo City Dubai. More information is available at www.dhaidubai.com

Updated: January 15, 2024, 6:16 AM