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Art explosion at Global Village

Meet the creatives from around the world at the city’s annual culture carnival

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    Fayyad Al HawamdeImage Credit: Supplied
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    Riyad Al Kaysi Image Credit: Supplied

Ever wanted to travel the world in three hours? Then global village is your answer to your travel plans.... as you walk into through the gates you are greeted by the seven wonders of the world, an explosion of sights, sounds and smell.

21 years since its inception, Global village is the region’s undisputed largest seasonal cultural extravaganza; a melting pot of cultures, history, food and crafts. This year, 75 countries are participating in this unique open-air theme park and over 5 million visitors are expected to walk through the gates and experience new cultures, sample their food and learn about their heritage, customs and traditions.

Whilst a lot is written about the stellar line-up of performing artists, the dare devil rides, the mouth-watering food and the cultural experience; did you know the Global Village is known as a hotbed for local and regional artists? We interviewed three talented artists from the region who have three very different and unique style of painting.

Defying the stereotype

Think Iran and you will think of nuclear power, oil production and intricately designed carpets. At the Global Village, the Iranian Pavilion offers UAE residents and travellers an authentic, homegrown and unique experience. The pavilion showcases a range of popular products including: pistachios, almonds, saffron, gemstones and a wide range of carpets.

As you wander around this pavilion you also get a glimpse of the thriving art community through Simin Dokht, an Iranian artist has lived in Dubai for the past 20 years and has exhibited at the Global Village for over 17 years. Her unique style of oil paintings use Persian carpets as an inspiration.

This self-taught artist started painting when she was very young; “I am very happy when I paint… nobody taught me how to paint… so painting is my language to express myself… it helps me bring my ideas to life,” shares Dokht as she manages a steady traffic of Iranians, Indians and Emirati customers who flock to her stand to buy her work.

“I like to draw and bring things to life and this is why my painting’s are unique. The people in my paintings seem life-like. It takes me about four months to complete one painting,” explains Dokht whose regular clientele include the members of the Al Ghurair and Al Rostamani families.

Her art is not elitist, instead it is accessible to all; the lowest price for her painting is Dh350 and the most expensive piece is Dh20,000, which was sold out in the first month of the opening of the global village.

Fusing music and art

The Republic of Iraq is home to one of the world’s oldest cultural histories and boasts a rich heritage. These are just a few reasons why Riyad Al Kaysi decided to pursue a career as an art teacher. This Iraqi artist whose work is quite popular in the GCC region is a show painter and knife palette specialist (painting with the knife instead of a brush). Kaysi travels regularly across Eastern Europe with the Russian Symphony Orchestra where he shares the stage with the musicians painting to the rhythm of their music.

48 year-old Kaysi, has settled in the UAE for the past 35 years and is a regular exhibitor at the Global Village for the past five years. “This year there is no Iraqi pavilion hence I am not able to showcase my work but next year I will be back with two shops and an exciting new collection of work that I want to display,” says Kaysi.

His unique style of knife painting has a steady demand with the European and Emirati customers who travel to his studio in Ajman to invest in his art. On an average, Kaysi used to sell 300 paintings in a year at the Global Village, this helped him take care of his expenses and offered him the freedom to pursue his passion for all things art. An oil paint canvas by Kaysi costs Dh300 (prices vary based on the number of hours taken to finish it).

Sand painting

As you walk through the Palestine pavilion you are greeted to vendors who sell delicious olive oil, homemade strawberry jam, sumac and zataar, pomegranate syrup, pickled eggplant, nuts and seeds – as well as jars of maftool, large couscous. But, if you think Palestine, the first thing that comes to your mind is war, fighting and strife but Fayyad Al Hawamde, a Palestinian artist at the Palestine pavilion in Global Village creates art that guarantees to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Hawamde has been a regular exhibitor at the Global Village for the past three years and enjoys making people smile, “My caricatures and sand art draws throngs of visitors and local resident alike who like the degree of personalisation I offer,” explains Hawande.

A proficient artist, Hawamde takes two minutes to finish one bottle of sand art which tends to mesmerize the European visitors and takes 20 minutes to finish a caricature of his Client focusing on their striking appearance to create a comic effect.

Hawamde’s art is for the masses and retails at Dh60 for a souvenir sand art in a bottle (prices vary on the size of the bottle) to Dh120 for a medium sized caricature on canvas. As you walk around the village exploring new pavilions you will be amazed at how the Global Village has these hidden facets that lives up to its theme ‘A new world everyday.’