IconiCity: new exhibition depicts Dubai’s most recognisable cityscapes

Collage artworks by British artist Tom Butler will go on view in December at Mestaria Gallery

'Moor to Life' by Tom Butler. Photo: Mestaria Gallery

In his collages, Tom Butler captures the light of the city – golden hues of the afternoon, blue reflections of the night sky in Dubai Marina and harsh bright lights bouncing off white and cream coloured buildings in Old Dubai.

Using a range of materials, from newspapers to snippets from crossword puzzles, British artist Butler builds layers on to his canvas to produce Dubai’s most famous cityscapes. These include Downtown Dubai, with Burj Khalifa, yachts docked along Dubai Marina and the old souqs and abras of Bur Dubai.

His works will be presented as part of the exhibition IconiCity, opening at Mestaria Gallery on December 11.

The works not only celebrate the city’s well-known architectural endeavours. They also reflect the life and language in Dubai through subtle clues, which are sometimes humorous, in the collages. Looking closely at the works, you begin to notice the words and phrases that Butler has intentionally left legible.

In Hide and Souk, for example, which depicts one of Dubai’s markets, a small sign on one building says “100% Genuine Fake Shop”, while a view of the Dubai waterfront in Luminocity bears the message “leading touch up paint”.

'Hide and Souk' by Tom Butler. Photo: Mestaria Gallery

The artist has been using his mixed-media techniques to produce cityscapes for places such as London, Havana, Paris and New York.

Recently, he has ventured into creating more abstract collages. Butler studied illustration at Swansea University, completing his studies in 2000 before venturing into work as an artist, creating designs for children’s picture books.

IconiCity will be on view at Mestaria Gallery, formerly Showcase, located in Alserkal Aenue, Al Quoz, from Saturday, December 11. It will feature Butler’s original works as well as prints.

More information is available at mestaria.art

Updated: November 27th 2021, 10:14 AM