Global 3-D artists in Dubai to test your perceptions

A festival of colour and many dimensions, Dubai Canvas Festival opens on Jumeriah Beach Residence.

If you walk along Jumeirah Beach Residence this week, you will see people surfing down a waterfall, sledding down a mountain – you might even discover giraffes hiding out in the jungle.

This is Dubai Canvas Festival, a gathering for 3-D street artists, which has tripled in size since its inception last year.

This year, 30 artists from 14 countries will pick up their tools and paint on the streets in the open-air gallery, on JBR, until March 14.

Most of the artwork takes the form of temporary paintings on the street. They play with the viewer’s perception, giving the semblance that the picture is emerging from or sinking into the pavement.

There are also murals painted on the walls lining the walkway. Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office, there are more than 60 artworks on display along the two-kilometre stretch – and they all offer the public the opportunity to get acquainted with this highly interactive artform and the chance to get the ultimate selfie shot.

“There is nowhere else in the world where so many artists in this field gather,” says Kurt Wenner, an internationally acclaimed 3-D artist who is returning to the festival after being the guest of honour during last year’s edition.

Also contributing to the festival is Neil Harbisson, the world’s first “cyborg artist” – a title given to him on account of the antenna implanted in his skull.

He was born with a rare form of colour blindness called achromatopsia, so he had the antenna developed to pick up the frequencies of each colour, which in turn play a note in his head. He creates musical compositions, or sound art, based on the colours of his chosen subject.

For this festival, he has produced a piece of music based on the colours of Dubai. Colour Dubai Symphony will be sung by schoolchildren during three performances on JBR over the weekend.

At the opening, Brand Dubai also announced that it would launch a new prize for 3-D artists from around the world. The first edition will be held next year and the total prize fund for the award is US$650,000 (Dh2.3 million).

• Dubai Canvas Festival runs until March 14, from 4pm to 10pm on weekdays and from 10am to 10pm on weekends. Entrance is free