What the new sculpture park at DIFC is all about

Open to the public until June 30, it features 65 artworks by local and international artists who have contributed to the growth of the UAE

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A sculpture park has been unveiled in the Dubai International Financial Centre, transforming the area around the landmark Gate Building into an open-air gallery.

The park, open to the public until June 30, is a tribute to the UAE’s Golden Jubilee and features 50 sculptures as well as several paintings by established local and international artists. The artworks are presented by galleries in Dubai, including Leila Heller Gallery, Firetti Contemporary and AWC Dubai, as well as by independent artists.

Scroll through the gallery above for more pictures from the DIFC's sculpture park.

'Irene' by Ana D'Castro at the DIFC sculpture park. Ruel Pableo for The National

Works on display include Unwind, a reflective and serpentine installation by British sculptor Richard Hudson. Alphabet of Life by Emirati artist Azza Al Qubaisi features tapered bronze forms that are closely clustered together, representing, at once, palm oases as well as social solidarity. Turkish artist Mert Ege Kose’s Sculpture II renders, in metal, tightly woven and repeating patterns that merge together as arcs.

Other works include Tower of Rabbits by Turkish cartoonist Erdil Yasaroglu, a sculpture comprising four stacked anthropomorphic rabbits with slicked-back ears, and Forms by Mia Fonssagrives Solow, which features abstract shapes in the colours of the UAE flag in the fountain by Gate Building. Paintings including Sacha Jafri’s Lyricism Entwined and Ana D’Castro’s Irene are also being exhibited on the premises.

The disparate works are being curated under the theme Harmony of Different Voices: a celebration of UAE’s 50th year anniversary. According to the organisers, the park is designed to support artists who have contributed to the past, present and future of the nation. The exhibition is in line with the vision of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, chairwoman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, to encourage public art and open-air art galleries across Dubai.

'Alphabet of Life' by Azza Al Qubaisi at the park. Ruel Pableo for The National

“Today is very special,” Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority, said during the park’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. “We are celebrating our open-air sculpture park. Within this park, we have over 50 art and sculpture pieces, and this is important because we are celebrating our Golden Jubilee.”

“Over the years, DIFC has been developed into a vibrant urban destination promoting innovation, harmonious living and sustainability,” he said. “As a part of our commitment to support Dubai’s art and culture vision, we are transforming DIFC into a unique sculpture park that will continue to shape the emirate’s open-air movement whilst attracting international artists to the centre.”

The park is free-to-enter and spans from Gate Building to Gate Avenue. Information labels featuring QR codes have been placed beside each artwork, allowing visitors to learn more about the exhibited pieces as well as discover other works by the artists.

This is not the first time the area around the DIFC’s Gate Building has accommodated artworks. A sculpture park was one of the highlights of last year’s iteration of Art Dubai, the city’s leading annual art fair, and featured large-scale installations by 10 regional artists including Dia Azzawi, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Rashed Al Shashai, as well as international figures such as Mozambican artist Goncalo Mabunda, Greek conceptual sculptor and Costas Varotsos, and Indian architect Tarik Currimbhoy.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 11:21 AM