UAE artist to create portrait of Sheikh Zayed in sand

Sylvain Tremblay will drop sand out of a hot air balloon onto a huge canvass laid out in the desert to create an image of Sheikh Zayed.
Sylvain Tremblay practising for his portrait of Sheikh Zayed created in sand. Courtesy Canadian University of Dubai
Sylvain Tremblay practising for his portrait of Sheikh Zayed created in sand. Courtesy Canadian University of Dubai

DUBAI // An artist will drop sand out of a hot air balloon on to a huge canvas laid out in the desert to create an image of Sheikh Zayed.

“This is the most inspiring thing I have done and definitely the most technically difficult,” said Sylvain Tremblay, a lecturer at the Canadian University of Dubai.

“We are dealing with the elements of the desert and I will be floating between 10 and 20 metres above the ground, so there is plenty of opportunity for things to work against us.”

Mr Tremblay has been perfecting his technique on the roof of the university, with a smaller canvas. The one he will use on Monday will measure 10m by 10m.

“It’s a great honour for me to be able to produce the biggest painted portrait of the great Sheikh Zayed,” he said.

“It was important to me when planning the performance that everything was natural and paid tribute to the UAE’s natural elements. The desert was the natural place to do this and using sand from the desert made the perfect choice.”

Mr Tremblay is staging a trial run, and says the attempt is probably the most challenging thing he has done so far in his career.

He says he “specialises in creating artworks that celebrate culture and traditions around the world”.

He developed the technique of throwing sand on canvas while at an inventors’ convention in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Tremblay works between Dubai, Quebec and Beijing, and has had his work displayed in the United States and Canada.

His art on canvas is usually abstract, using materials such as resin and lacquer to build up layers of texture, with human figures looking elongated and distorted.

According to his website, Mr Tremblay’s work attests “to the enormous richness of the artist’s imagination and seemingly endless creative energy”.

It is not known whether the Sheikh Zayed portrait will also be an abstract representation or an accurate likeness.

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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