Have you been walking the streets of Abu Dhabi recently, and noticing things getting a little brighter, or a little more colourful?
Well, that's because it is. And it's all down to a select group of famed street artists who have been unleashed on the city and charged with brightening up its public spaces.
The For Abu Dhabi initiative is overseen by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, which provides about Dh8 billion in grants for improvements such as park and waterfront restorations, public art commissions and other improvements in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.
The initiative is part of the Ghadan 21 programme that aims to increase investment and tourism in Abu Dhabi by 2021.
But there seems to be so many murals cropping up, it's hard to keep track of them all. So below, we've listed all the well-known muralists who have contributed to the capital-wide facelift, and where you can find their pieces.
You'll know a Kobra mural when you see one. Kaleidoscopic, larger-than-life with harlequin patterns often woven in with portraits of people, some famous, others less so – this is the Brazilian artist's signature style.
His latest, and one of his largest works to date, bears all these elements. Titled Tolerance (Tolerancia), the near-2,000-square-metre work stands out in Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, where it envelops one of the district's buildings.
A self-described “street art soldier”, Eduardo Kobra is one of the most well-known graffiti artists in the world. His murals, of which there are thousands, have been showcased in more than 40 countries across five continents. He has a huge online fan base, too, with nearly a million followers on Instagram.
Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim
Ibrahim is one of the UAE’s greatest artists, and has lent his talents to giving Madinat Zayed a facelift. Until now, the market has been unabashedly old-school Abu Dhabi, featuring concrete pillars that branch out to provide shade to the street and offers within an array of goods, from gold sold by weight to fruit and vegetables.
Ibrahim has covered the exterior of the market with a mural, in bright yellows, reds and greens, with his famous totemic forms in which lines and circles come together to create insect-like beings, or representations of lichens, growing across the building.
Elian Chali is an Argentinian artist, born and raised in Cordoba. His work is known for its minimalism and abstraction, which he has now brought to Abu Dhabi.
His mural, titled Sharp Liquid, now covers a building on Al Falah Street in Abu Dhabi.
Using a palette of primary colours, the artist uses overlapping layers and opacity to create geometric compositions.
This isn't the first time Ernest Zacharevic has come to the UAE to transform a building into a colourful artwork; he was here in 2017 alongside 11 other artists from across the world who were involved in transforming some of the buildings along 2nd December Street in Satwa into giant canvasses as part of the Dubai Street Museum project.
The 12 artists painted 16 murals on themes drawn from the country’s history and heritage.
This time around, the artist, who was born in Lithuania but now lives in Malaysia, has created murals for the capital, titled Kids of Abu Dhabi. They can be found around Madinat Zayed.
It's a pertinent scene for Zacharevic, as he's known to animate public spaces with interactive murals depicting children at play.
The light-hearted pieces are extremely popular around the world, and they're intended to fuse the physical world with his imagination.
Schubert is a Brazilian artist who currently lives in Dubai. She blends the many different layers of her every day sensory world, in apparently chaotic, yet balanced, artworks.
Schubert's colourful mural can be found covering the Delma Street Underpass.
A series of simple figures, when combined, create a complex and multi-faceted scenario; surrealistically mirroring her own reality. As for what inspires her art, Tarsila is motivated by the intrinsic value of culture and how it influences one’s personality.
MadC, otherwise known as Claudia Walde, is a famous graffiti writer and muralist. Born in Bautzen, Germany, she is well-known for her large-scale, outdoor paintings – which is probably why she is right home here in Abu Dhabi.
MadC started out as a graffiti writer as a teenager, and has since branched out into other areas including graphic design, writing, and fine art). She painted her first graffiti piece in 1996, at just 16.
MadC’s mural can be found on a high-rise building on Al Ruwaysi Street, near Fathima Supermarket.