Dubai: Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori’s trip to the International Space Station (ISS) this week made it to history books. It also made it to Dubai’s beaches after a Filipino artist paid his tribute with a sand painting.
Sand artist Nathaniel Alapide made a sand art of Hazzaa on the beachside of Rixos Premium Dubai on Thursday morning after the Emirati entered the ISS, becoming the first Emirati in space and first Arab on the ISS.
The 4 by 6 metre artwork depicts Hazzaa in his Sokol spacesuit with the victory sign popularised by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It also showed the Soyuz spacecraft lifting off, the Earth and Hazzaa’s name on the side.
“I made the sand art of Hazzaa because I wanted to congratulate and wish him well on his journey to space,” Alapide told Gulf News.
“And this is also for all those who dreamed of becoming an astronaut and of going to space. Hazzaa carries a part of my dream with him and seeing him reach space gives me unbelievable bliss,” he added.
Like Hazzaa, Alapide dreamed of becoming an astronaut at a young age. He was nine when his dreams of space adventures began.
“When I was a kid, I would climb up on the roof of our house on a full moon and would dream of becoming an astronaut,” he said.
He went on to become an artist and painted portraits of astronauts on canvases, and now on sand.
“The mission makes the people in Dubai and around the UAE proud. I do believe that this mission will definitely inspire the nation and its citizens,” Alapide said.
Alapide has been known to create incredible beach murals in Dubai. He has ‘painted’ using a metal rake as his paint brush a number of Dubai’s iconic landmarks, floral and geometric designs and even marine patterns.
On Sunday, he plans to paint another image of Hazzaa on sand.