Emirati furniture designer Khalid Shafar is one of 55 creative professionals who have designed and decorated a PVC bear as part of a platform to promote Middle Eastern talent.The bears, on display for one day only in XVA Gallery in Al Fahidi Neighbourhood are as varied as the people asked to make them. Here we caught up with Shafar to ask him about his creation Hideaway.
Hideaway by Khalid Shafar
Can you tell us a few words about your bear?
‘HIDEAWAY’ is a new object that reflects humour interpretation of my earlier released ‘THE PALM’ coat stand. Although functionality was kept intact, the aesthetic was modified to integrate the bear in the object through a new story. In my design, I wanted to make the bear an integral part of the object than an addition or an added piece. This was obvious in the choice of the white colour dominating the whole object and making all parts as a whole than parts. The addition of the basic CMYK colours was reserved for the hangers to add some life to the object. The name HIDEAWAY comes from the story of a bear trying to hide in different ways; one way by becoming an integral part of the object by adapting to its colour like a chameleon changing colours on a surface it touches and another by hiding behind the elements hanged on the stand when in use.
What do you think of the PVC bears project in general?
I believe there is an honest message behind this project and a statement to deliver to the community through the use of bears as main unified element among all works on display. We have always associated teddy bears as soft toys for kids and kids always represent innocence and peace. Most creative projects have statements to deliver to their societies. The PVC bears project is no difference. The message I can read here is: Creative minds come in one nation to connect and communicate. This tallies very well with the theme of Dubai Expo 2020 bid 'Connecting minds, creating the future'.
Your creation is inspired by your The Palm series - is that correct?
Yes. With time this series is becoming a signature line for Khalid Shafar and well recognised. It was the best line to integrate the bear idea within.
Do you think the bear is a good medium of expression?
We have seen other projects using cows, horses, camels, and falcons where these mediums have more serious associations and representations for some. Yet, the bear has softer essence to it and more innocent; maybe because I do associate it with kids. At least I still have my teddy bear from when I was 10 years old.
What is your opinion of the other bears if you have seen them?
Personally, I believe some had used the bear as a white canvas to express their artistic emotions and concepts on it and the outcome is some great art pieces. While I appreciate the few who went beyond that and made their bears interactive pieces within their design concepts. These pieces become objects or 3D concepts that integrate the surrounding within the design.
* PVC Bear Tour Dubai is on in XVA Gallery, Al Fahidi Neighbourhood for today only.