Students from Horizon International School Dubai taking part in the making of the world‘s longest graffiti scroll at Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Students from Horizon International School Dubai taking part in the making of the world‘s longest graffiti scroll at Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Artists set new graffiti wall record



DUBAI // Giant falcons, Arabic calligraphy and the UAE’s most impressive landmarks featured prominently in the artwork made for the world’s longest graffiti wall.

The Rehlatna, or Our Journey, mural covers more than two kilometres in the shape of the UAE and brings together the talents of national and international graffiti artists. It is located near Jumeirah Beach Park and was open to the public on Saturday and yesterday.

Organisers confirmed on Sunday they had broken the Guinness World Record for the longest graffiti scroll at 2.2454km.

Visitors to the open-air event took the chance to try their hand at graffiti while also enjoying displays of traditional Emirati dancing, music and food.

“The wall is in the shape of the UAE and we are going to aim for the world record for the longest graffiti wall,” said Sami Mohammed, from the Crown Prince’s Office, which organised the event.

“To do this, we have brought together 150 artists both locally and from around the world to design and create artwork that reflects the achievements of the UAE.”

All the artwork associated with the wall represents the UAE’s rich culture.

As school groups toured the venue, taking photographs in front of huge cityscapes and desert landscape designs, artists were busy on their work. They had worked on their sections of the wall since Thursday last week.

Khawla Darwish, an Emirati artist from Dubai, headed a team of 33 Emirati artists and helped to curate a selection of images that have been turned into graffiti art.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of something like this because not only does it give local artists an opportunity to showcase their work but it’s being done in a way that is helping to promote the image of the UAE,” she said.

The artists sent in their proposed designs and Darwish selected the most appropriate that would reflect the UAE’s achievements.

“We then used spray cans to do the artwork and it’s been a wonderful experience for all of us,” she said.

Much of her artwork focuses on the heart and her addition to the graffiti wall is a heart with an Arabic phrase that translates to “the UAE is in my heart”.

The wide range of graphic styles impressed visitors.

“This is an absolutely amazing event,” said Dubai resident Ivona Rizen, who was with two of her friends. “I’ve grown up in a city and graffiti is a very urban way for people to express themselves,” the Croatian said.

“Dubai has such a mix of nationalities that when you come to something like this it highlights what a diverse place it is with the art that is produced. I really like the way they have included the community in this project.”

Andrew Bourke, alias Sirum1, from Melbourne in Australia, is one member of a 20-strong collective called the Ironlak Family, which is made up of artists from around the world invited to take part in the mural.

He was putting the finishing touches to an artwork depicting a giant falcon. “I do a lot of artwork with wildlife so I did some research and found out what an important role falcons play in Emirati society so decided to do that,” he said.

Not only is it an opportunity for Bourke to visit Dubai for the first time, but a chance to meet other artists, he said.

nhanif@thenational.ae

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