A visitor poses for a photograph on 3D illusion street art on the opening day of Dubai Canvas at The Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), in Dubai. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai Canvas, an annual festival celebrating art and culture which opened on Sunday, is a step in the right direction in introducing relatively new forms of art to the general public, participating artists said.

The inaugural Dubai Canvas this year features 11 international artists who have come to the emirate to showcase three-dimensional (3D) pavement art. This type of art form uses the street or any flat surface as the canvas where an image is drawn to appear as if rising from or falling into the ground.

A certain technique allows the image to be seen as three-dimensional from a specific angle.

The event, which runs until Saturday, is outdoors, allowing the public to see artists at work. It moves away from the traditional confines of an art gallery, which conforms with the thrust of its organisers, Brand Dubai, of transforming Dubai into an open-air museum.

Peruvian artist and participant Cesar Paredes Pacora lauded the organisers for bringing art closer to the people.

“This technique invites people to interact with the artwork, which is really necessary. In the art gallery, most times, the artwork is cordoned off and you can’t even come close to it. There are so many restrictions,” Pacora, who will be painting an abra and a falcon, told Gulf News.

Public interaction with the artwork is important for art appreciation. And with Dubai Canvas this year, those who are into selfies will mostly benefit, Kurt Wenner, inventor of 3D pavement art, said.

“The part that makes it really fun for the public is they can sit where I’m sitting and have their photos taken and they can put it on their Facebook and show them around to people. That’s been the most popular part of this artform in the last 10 years,” Wenner told Gulf News referring to his painting that features pearl divers in action.

Wenner said the good thing is that the restrictions in using imagery for expression in some countries due to various reasons are slowly blurring now, even in this part of the world.

“So, as cultures change and as images become an important currency of communication, every culture needs to find out what makes them happy, what makes them comfortable and to then perhaps create a tradition for themselves, which is an ongoing process for every culture. And I think right now, it’s especially exciting in this part of the world because there are a lot of opportunities [in art] that have not been explored yet,” Wenner said.

Leon Keer, an artist from Holland, said the opportunity given to one artist to share his artwork and culture with a new audience is vast with the Dubai Canvas.

“I think this is a very good initiative. I think it’s also good for every country, especially when you invite international artists, then you have a mixture of different cultures coming together, and also for artists to know other cultures, which will give a kind of synergy for them.”