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‘My heart beats for the UAE’: Artist in Belarus

Yuliya Kravets, who is yet to visit the Emirates, does sketches of its Rulers and treasures with a rare passion

Image Credit: Supplied
Kravets’ sketch of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan against the backdrop of the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque
XPRESS

DUBAI: A 27-year-old artist from Belarus in Europe, who has never been to the UAE, has made nearly 400 sketches of the Emirates, covering its Rulers, landscape and historic sites.

Country of dreams

Yuliya Kravets told XPRESS from her homecountry that the sketches are available on her Instagram page, where she has 90,000 followers. Although she comes across as someone who has lived in the UAE and is familiar with its culture and people, Kravets said she has never been to the country of her imagination and dreams and she started sketching the UAE only three years ago.

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Kravets' sketch of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Supplied
 

An architect by profession, her penchant for the Emirates began with an assignment in 2014. “I sketched the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque for one of my first assignments as an architecture student,” she said, recollecting how its majestic image had caught her fancy.

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Kravets' sketch of a UAE woman with the national bird. Supplied
 

She said she initially did not know where the mosque was located, but when she found out it was in the UAE she began to research more about the Emirates. Around the same time she converted to Islam, she added.

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Kravets’ sketch of HH Shaikh Mohammad with Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad and Shaikha Jalila Bint Mohammad. Supplied
 

Fascinated

Fascinated by what the UAE has to offer, Kravets said the country and its leadership became the subject of her sketches. “I did a dozen sketches of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council), at the races. I’ve also drawn inspiration from some pictures of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s childhood with the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, among others. My favourite is a sketch of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai) which I did a couple of months ago.”

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Kravets’ sketch of the textile souq. Supplied
 

Kravets said her works were a tribute to “one of the finest countries in the world”.

Remarkable growth

“The rapid growth and development of the UAE has been remarkable. I have never come across anyone from here who has anything negative to say about the country.

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Kravets’ sketch of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council. Supplied
 

“This shows how happy the people are with the place and its Rulers. My heart beats for the UAE. I love the UAE,” she said.

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Yuliya Kravets at work on one of her cherished sketches of UAE Rulers. Supplied
 

Kravets said her drawings were based on pictures she sourced from the internet. Recently, her Instagram followers from the UAE had started sending her some images. “I am looking for old, interesting pictures.”

But when will Kravets make a visit to the country of her dreams?

“I have no idea,” she said.

But when she does, Bastakiya in old Dubai will be her first stop. “I want to sketch it live,” she added.

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