Dubai: It’s almost always the Guinness World Records season in Dubai and the whole of UAE every National Day, or at least that has been the case in recent years.
This 43rd UAE National Day is no exception with the record for the largest number of cars of different makes in a single motorcade, the most nationalities singing one national anthem at one time, and the longest graffiti scroll, among others.
The busy record-breaking-and-setting season has seen Guinness World Records officials calling in a third adjudicator to help out.
“I’m based in the UK, and I’ve come in especially to do quite a number of challenges here in the UAE because you guys are very keen on records. We have two people operating in the UAE permanently but there’s a lot of challenges going on so I’ve come in especially for this week,” Praveen Patel, a Guinness World Records adjudicator, told Gulf News.
Patel said it is unusual for cities and groups to be breaking records as part of the National Day celebrations, but it was an interesting sight in the UAE.
Patel was the one who measured and judged the Rehlatna or ‘Our Journey,’ the world’s longest graffiti scroll at 2,245.40m at Jumeirah Beach Park on Sunday night. Some 150 international artists were flown in to work on the project for one week using 7,000 spray paint cans to depict the country’s history and vision.
“They [record attempts] look easy, but they’re not and this [graffiti record] is one of them. This project is actually phenomenal. I have seen many paintings in my time, but there has been a lot of efforts put into this and there’s a variety of art forms [in this record]. I’m very impressed.”
To break the record in Argentina at 1,981m, a longer scroll isn’t enough. It has to be one continuous length. Segments in the scroll are allowed but they shouldn’t be obvious. The scribbles or drawings need to be done freehand with a spray paint without using any brushes. Every square inch of the scroll has to be spray painted.
This means each person has to cover at least 14m of the scroll, with a height of either 2m or 4m, to complete the task. Some artists Gulf News spoke with had a length of 20m to cover.
“It’s extremely difficult,” an artist known by his tag Jurne, from California, told Gulf News.
“The mechanics of using a spray paint can is pretty complex. You’re mediating how hard you’re pressing down the nozzle and how quickly you’re moving against the wall and how far away from the wall. You’re sort of balancing all these different variables to get a clean line or different strokes. So it takes a lot of practice,” he added.
One artist was overheard saying his index finger was already hurting by Sunday afternoon, although the artists worked in rotation according to the organising committee.
The task even became more challenging because of the venue. The graffiti scroll was designed to resemble the UAE map from an aerial view and was placed near the beach. The high winds proved it challenging for artists, Javad Khoramifar, from the organising committee, said.
But this didn’t dampen the artists’ spirit, it seemed. “The artists were saying, “We need more space, we need more space,” Khoramifar said.
This strong, positive attitude was what made the project a success, Khoramifar said.
“Everybody came together [reliving] the Spirit of the Union [that the founding fathers of the UAE displayed in 1971]. As one team, we made it happen.”