The Mina Al Arab neighbourhood in Ras Al Khaimah is about to get more colourful, thanks to a newly launched mural project.
As part of a drive to bring in tourists and enhance the community, RAK Properties, the area’s developer, has commissioned art service provider Art Painting Lab to create 11 murals that paint a cohesive narrative across 18 building facades.
Themed 'Sky Meets Sea', the project's designs bear elements drawn from its waterfront surroundings, including marine life, sun and sea. Three out of the 11 murals have been finished so far, with the project due to be fully completed in February.
“A surrealistic theme was chosen to capture the many beautiful natural elements that can be experienced in Ras Al Khaimah. By placing objects found in the sky into the ocean, and vice versa, we envisioned whimsical, interesting narratives that were both visually exciting and enchanting,” says Sam Saliba, founder of Art Painting Lab.
In terms of visual style, the murals are playful and cartoon-like, such as Max Lawrence's The Pearl Huntress, which shows a young girl carrying a basket of fruits containing what the artist says is "magical surprise". Homar Tamares's Rainbow Puppets fuses local henna designs with a vibrant colour palette, showing hands playing across a building facade.
There's also Melvin San Miguel's Cannonball, depicting a young man jumping into a neon lake below. "When I started drawing it, I just let creativity take the lead and it took on an interesting air of mystery," he says. A strange creature can also be seen 'parachuting' into the water with an umbrella.
Other murals in the project include Amna Basheer's A Big Catch, which will depict an Emirati woman reining in a fantastical fish creature. "This narrative recalls a precious childhood memory," says Basheer. "I wanted to illustrate that sense of freedom … when I fished with my uncles and my grandma used to cook it up."
According to Saliba, these fun designs were developed with the intention of appealing to a broad range of visitors, including the young Emirati community that often visit the lagoon corniche area.