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A watercolour painting festival in the UAE

The event, to be held from February 22 to 25, will feature free live demonstrations, and plein air painting sessions at various locations

Image Credit: Supplied
A painting by Ali Sajid, the international winner of a competition organised by IWS UAE
Gulf News

The first Watercolor Festival in the UAE, titled Happiness in Watercolor, will be held from February 22 to 25 at the Al Zahra Hospital in Al Barsha and Cartoon Art Gallery in Al Quoz. The event has been organised by the UAE branch of the International Watercolor Society (IWS UAE) in collaboration with Cartoon Art Gallery.

The festival is the region’s first and largest event dedicated to watercolour painting, and will feature free live demonstrations, and plein air painting sessions at various locations in the UAE conducted by well-known contemporary watercolorists, including Alvaro Castagnet, the most famous master of this medium.

Other international celebrity artists slated to participate in the festival include IWS president Atanur Dogan, Amit Kapoor, Lafe, Helidon, Jansen Chow, Galina Gomzina, Alexandrya Bryksa, Mohammed A. Wahab, Faisal Abdul Qader Al Bastaki, Fatma Al Hamadi and Anna Galea. Besides sharing their skills through workshops and demonstrations, these artists will also participate in creating a 50-metre long painting depicting various facets of the UAE.

UAE winner Bonny Mathew A painting by Bonny Mathew, the UAE winne of a competition organised by IWS UAE

The festival will also present an exhibition of over 300 paintings by artists from across the globe based on the themes of happiness and the UAE. These have been selected from entries submitted for a worldwide competition organised by IWS UAE, and include works by Ali Sajid, international winner of the competition, and Bonny Mathew, the winner in the UAE.

The festival will be followed by a painting tour from February 26 to March 1, which will take international participants to various sites across the UAE to learn about the history, heritage and culture of the country and capture its beauty during plein air sessions.

“We are excited that Castagnet, the world’s number one watercolorist, and many other celebrity artists are participating in the festival. This is a great opportunity for artists and art lovers in the region to watch the masters at work, to learn from them, and to paint alongside them. Over 600 artists from 50 countries participated in our competition and we are proud to present the best of these works during the festival. Considering the growing popularity of plein air painting we have planned several such sessions at various picturesque locations so that participants can enjoy painting the beauty of the UAE’s natural landscape and impressive architecture,” Mrinmay Sebastian, country head of IWS UAE and manager of Cartoon Art Gallery says.

The IWS was founded in 2012 in Teos, Turkey, by Dogan, with the goal of promoting peace through the universal language of art. It already has branches in 90 countries and connects over four million watercolour artists and art lovers across the globe through social media. It organises various events such as exhibitions, art competitions and festivals to promote and popularise watercolour painting around the globe and encourage cross cultural exchange and innovation.

“We are thankful for the worldwide support we have received in fulfilling our mission of promoting peace, harmony, love and understanding through our events, and we are happy to have the Watercolor Festival in the UAE for the first time,” Dogan says.

The festival will open on February 22 at the Al Zahra Hospital in Al Barsha with live painting demonstrations by well-known artists and masters, including Castagnet from 2pm to 5.30 pm, followed by the inauguration ceremony and the opening of the exhibition at AUD. The exhibition at Cartoon Art Gallery will open at 8pm the same day.

All artists and art lovers are invited to join the free plein air sessions from 9am to 12noon at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood on February 23 and the Spice souq and Deira creek side on February 24.  

On February 25 the plein air will be at Dubai Marina followed by live demonstrations by masters from 3pm to 5pm at Cartoon Art Gallery and the closing ceremony. The exhibition at both venues will continue until March 1.

For more details, write to iwsuae2015@gmail.com or visit http://www.iwsuae.org

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