Artist imagines Dubai set to the alien world of Pandora in 'Avatar'

Jyo John Mulloor says his latest series is a tribute to the vision of filmmaker James Cameron

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Dubai resident Jyo John Mulloor is fast building a reputation as an artist who takes UAE landmarks to weird and wonderful places. The digital artist first made news in March, when he released a series of works that showed the city of Dubai blanketed in snow. He's since reimagined the city covered with lush greenery and worked his magic on Abu Dhabi.

Now, ahead of the release of the highly anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water in December, Mulloor has reimagined Dubai landmarks within the alien world of Pandora, the fictional moon where the film is set.

Through a series of eight striking images, Mulloor intersperses Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Frame, Museum of the Future and Ain Dubai with the lush universe of Pandora. In some images, the Na'vi people, the humanoid inhabitants of Pandora, can be seen flying across the frame on their dragon-like pets.

Created by James Cameron, Avatar was a cinematic milestone, as well as a box office blockbuster when it was released in 2009. In the film, Pandora is portrayed as a beautiful place, rich with minerals — so abundant that humans would find a way to exploit it, eventually leading to a confrontation with the Na'vi.

The film is still today one of the highest-grossing in history and has spawned books, video games, stage shows and theme park rides.

Cameron's follow-up, Avatar: The Way of Water, has been many years in the making, with filming having begun in 2017. The story, which will bring back many of the original cast members, will be set a decade after the events of Avatar.

"I was just a teenager when Avatar was released and I remember being mesmerised by it at the cinema," Mulloor, who is from Kerala in India, tells The National. "Each scene was breathtaking ... I had never seen anything like it, even in my dreams."

He says he's dedicating this series to all Avatar fans, which includes himself.

"I came to Dubai in 2006 and I have seen so much development and advancements in technology and I wanted to see what the city would look like had James Cameron chosen it as a reference point while imagining the world of Pandora," he says.

"So this is my tribute to the master as a huge fan from Dubai."

Meet the man who made it snow in the UAE and turned the desert green

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Updated: March 10, 2023, 7:42 AM