An equestrian-themed art exhibition in BurJuman is celebrating the sheer beauty and grace of the Arabian horse through a myriad of colours and brush strokes.
Running concurrently with the BurJuman International Millinery Exhibition 2013, the art exhibition, which started on March 21 and culminates on March 30 coinciding with the Dubai World Cup, ensures that visitors to the mall get an immersive experience of Dubai’s equestrian culture through the work of a group of painters whose themes brings alive the emirate’s heritage and its fascination with the thoroughbreds.
To stage this novel celebration of equestrianism, BurJuman partnered with ArtFans, a Dubai-based group of artists and art lovers. Founded by veteran artist Mona Al Assaad, the group’s stated aim is to bring the community together around the arts while supporting artists in the city and acting as a link between people who appreciate the finer things in life. Al Assaad herself is among the artists featured in the exhibition. One of her pieces, a striking acrylic on canvas, depicts Dubai’s modern cityscape in a dreamy, surrealistic style in the middle of which is a herd of beautifully rendered Arabian horses captured in full gallop.
“Horses are at the heart of Arab heritage and tradition,” Al Assaad said. “I wanted my painting to show how that past and the present merge in Dubai; that a city on the cutting edge of modernity is also in touch with its heritage and roots and is a beacon for the best of Arab culture. In fact, that is an overriding theme in this exhibition, not just in my work but in those of the other artists participating through ArtFans.”
One of those artists is Prashant Sankhe, Creative Director of advertising agency Percept Gulf. An ad-man by day, Sankhe has been moonlighting as a painter for many years. Although advertising was now his bread and butter, Sankhe said he has been a painter since adolescence, had even contemplated a career as an artist and had never stopped painting despite joining another profession. Speaking about his oils on canvas, he said: “Horses have always been symbolic of vigor and virility all over the world. In the Middle East they are even more a central element of Arab culture and tradition than anywhere else. My works for this exhibition depict the importance of these beautiful animals in the region’s imagination.”
The crowd milling around the exhibition area was ample demonstration that the collection of paintings had struck a chord with visitors. One of the visitors, Alena Xu, who publishes a Chinese art magazine, said: “The works here are all of a high standard. I would love to feature some of the artists in my magazine. This exhibition is also a beautiful initiative of the mall to bring the community together through art as well as set the stage for the Dubai World Cup. I thank BurJuman for their efforts.”
Sabina Khandwani, Head of PR and Marketing at BurJuman, said: “BurJuman has always strongly encouraged and supported both fashion and art talent and we are known for presenting a variety of events covering both genres. The Dubai World Cup is the biggest event on the annual social calendar and race attire and accessories are a big part of the experience. Each year, the BurJuman International Millinery Exhibition is a focal point of visit to pick up the best millinery in the city. This year, the spirit of the event is being further enhanced by the equestrian-themed works of art on display, which brings together talented residents of Dubai as part of BurJuman’s commitment to supporting community activities.”