Sculpture spotting: striking public artworks around the UAE

From 'Together' by Lutfi Romhein to 'Love Me' by sculptor Richard Hudson, these works are proof that fine art can be found out and about

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While art and galleries go hand in hand, some of the UAE's most striking pieces of creative expression are not found behind four walls, but in the great outdoors.

Around the Emirates there are several stunning sculptures and art works, which are open and free to be viewed by the public.

Works including The Scroll in Sharjah, Together by Lutfi Romhein and Win, Victory, Love by Tim Bravington, below, attract regular crowds, admiring their imposing street-side stature.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - November 29, 2020: A sculpture in Burj Park called Win, Victory, Love. Sunday, November 28th, 2020 in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Dandelions by Mirek Struzik, below, has become a tourist attraction in its own right. The Polish artist designed the trip of metal structures, which stand tall, framing Burj Khalifa when viewed from a certain angle. The robust metal frames juxtapose their delicate, floral inspiration.

"The project was inspired by dandelions which are present in nature. The idea of Dandelions is to capture floral delicacy using 'heavy material', metal. The delicate nature of Dandelions contrasts [with] the monumental architecture of the city," reads the description of the piece on Struzik's website.

"[The] dandelions are made of high quality acid resistant stainless electropolished steel. It does not require special maintenance. It is totally water, storm and winter-proof."

Another artwork that frames the world's tallest tower is Syrian artist Romhein's Together, below, a pair of sculptures depicting an Emirati man and woman, both looking up at Burj Khalifa. The white marble and black granite figures of a man in a kanduraand a woman in an abaya have been on display in Downtown Dubai since 2011.

"Man and woman — they stand for the origin of life, as well as the door of life," the artist said. "They stand for strength and tenderness. They are different, yet so similar."

Away from Downtown Dubai, you'll find Mojo by French-Tunisian artist Idriss B, below, an imposing blue gorilla polygonal sculpture, located on a roundabout at the Four Seasons resort at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai.

On the other end of the creative spectrum is Front Liners, below, created by the Kart Group for Dubai Science Park. The life-sized sculpture is an ode to Dubai's heroes.

The 17-panel artwork employs perspective to create an eye-catching tableau of a police officer, first aider, nurse, doctor, volunteer and cleaner.

As symbolic is Scales of Justice, below, found on a roundabout in Ras Al Khaimah and serves as a visual ode to egalitarianism in the emirate.

There are, of course, several sculptures and statues around the UAE that have dedicated social media followings, Wings of Mexico by Jorge Marin, below, and Love Me by British sculptor Richard Hudson, in particular.

It's not unusual to see a queue of people waiting to pose with Marin's wings behind them in Burj Plaza. The shot was made globally famous by members of K-pop supergroup SuperM, who posed in front of the sculpture in 2019.

Hudson's two-metre tall mirrored heart sculpture Love Me, below, created with smooth polished mirrored steel, is outside The Dubai Mall and visually echoes Chicago's Cloud Gate, by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor.

Khalvat by Sahand Hesamiyan, below, is a hollow shell-like structure, made from steel, stainless steel, gold leaf and electrostatic paint, with an intricate golden design inside. The natural form of the sculpture contrasts with the towering buildings of the Downtown Dubai area that surround it.

Updated: July 15, 2022, 6:01 PM
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