Colourful murals bring Abu Dhabi's Marsa Mina to life

The artwork spans more than a kilometre near Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal

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Marsa Mina opened in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit, near the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal in Mina Zayed, welcoming families week after week.

The waterfront lifestyle destination has boutiques, restaurants and food trucks, as well as a children's play area and street art murals that stretch for 1,163 metres.

The artworks run for more than a kilometre, the longest mural in the capital. Victor Besa / The National

It's a popular stop for visitors to the capital arriving by cruise ship and gives them a vibrant pit stop and colourful first impression of Abu Dhabi.

"The project aims to beautify the Abu Dhabi tourist gate, considering the Mina is one of the important tourist gates in the United Arab Emirates," says artist Talal Shehab, referring to the mural project that stretches along the walls that line the roads, to which he contributed.

Talal Shehab's contribution to the Marsa Mina mural. Victor Besa / The National

Artists of several nationalities were involved in the project under the supervision of Emirati plastic artist Fatima Al Hammadi, Shehab says. It took many months for it to come to fruition.

"The work was done at night to avoid the heat of the sun," he tells The National. "Teamwork was so much fun. Weather-resistant phenomastic colours have been used to ensure a long life for the murals."

A painting of a falcon at Mars Mina. Victor Besa / The National

The themes and ideas of the paintings are inspired by different cultures, "to confirm that the UAE is the country of all humanity", Shehab says.

A mural by @UAE_Graffiti_Artist inspired by Piet Mondrian's work. Victor Besa / The National

Various techniques and schools of art can be seen along its length, from abstract to realism, impressionism to modern art and calligraphy to symbolism.

Tony Martin, known by his artist name Toons One, was also involved in the project.

A mural by @Toonsone44 and @UAE_Grafitti_Artist. Victor Besa / The National

He created four paintings in different styles. One is three portraits, a man, woman and child, representing the Sun, Moon and star in Islamic culture. "I did them in an abstract style using sacred geometry, elements of calligraphy and landscapes to show the infinite potential of humanity, which I feel is the spirit of the UAE and its vision now and for the future."

Local artist Huvil painted a girl with wings behind her, reflecting "the tradition and knowledge of the country", he says.

Mural by @huvil. Victor Besa / The National

Artist Maddy Butcher created a piece called Noodles, the subjects being two pupils on the autism spectrum.

"I wanted to show how creative and engaged they are — and that autism is something positive that does not hinder or hold back living a life in full colour."

A mural by Maddy Butcher. Victor Besa / The National

Butcher says she does a lot of work with children with disabilities and wants to see more women and girls use spray paint "as a medium to express themselves and their abilities".

A mural by @wesal1979. Victor Besa / The National
Updated: November 04, 2022, 6:01 PM