Children Paint the Town Green

Published March 4th, 2010 - 10:31 GMT

A massive 36 x 7 metre mural created by over 500 budding young artists from across Dubai will be one of the major attractions to be unveiled in the first week of the Mirdif City Centre grand launch this month when the mall opens on March 16th.

Pupils from five GEMS Education schools are dedicating 3075 hours to painting the massive mural masterpiece, devoted to promoting awareness and protection of eco-systems and endangered animals.

The giant 252 sq metre piece of art is the largest example of its kind ever undertaken in the UAE and will involve the children working alongside a group of international artists, who designed the mural, over a 3 week period.

Mirdif City Centre is the latest super regional development by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, and Yousif Al Ali, Vice President of Mirdif City Centre, described the art project as perfectly in line with mall’s core ideals of engaging the community and making a commitment to the environment: “Sustainability and our community are two fundamentals of Mirdif City Centre, and this project embodies both these things.”

“Involving and educating the next generation on key issues such as the protection of the environment and endangered species is so important, and what better way to do that than through the medium of art? This expression created by the students will provide the perfect backdrop to celebrate Mirdif City Centre’s opening and we are pleased to provide a platform to showcase their talent and learning,” added Al Ali.

Mirdif City Centre is set to become the first shopping centre in the region to be ecologically friendly from the design phase through to the construction, and has been built according to the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards; a rating system for measuring and certifying ‘sustainability’.
This dedication to following LEED guidelines, combined with the mural project reflects Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ socially responsible approach to the development and operation of shopping malls and the communities that they serve.

The mural project involves primary to secondary school students from five GEMS Education Schools – GEMS Royal Dubai School, The Westminster School, Cambridge International School, The Millennium School, and Al Khaleej National School, in addition to participation by Mawaheb from Beautiful People, a charity that helps children with disabilities through art therapy.

Sue Vig, Principal of GEMS Royal Dubai School, said, “All of our students are so excited to be involved in such a unique initiative. The fact that they have the opportunity to be a part of a project of this scale is phenomenal and quite an achievement in itself, and all of our students are passionate about the environment, so the project was an ideal fit to the GEMS Education core values of World Citizenship, Universal Values, Leadership Qualities and Forward Thinking.”

The mural is endorsed by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Environment and Water, and the Emirates Wildlife Society in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF), and depicts six different ecosystems - Mountains, Oceans, Desert, Cold/Polar, Tropical Rainforest, Savannah/Grasslands. The schools will complete different sections of the painting that will then come together and be revealed during opening week at Mirdif City Centre, when the students will also perform a dance routine based around the themes depicted in the mural.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of EWS-WWF said, “We believe it is very important to involve children as ambassadors and active partners in community engagement. In this case- through the art they so creatively created, the children of the UAE have presented to the community a very genuine message about the environment on which we so dearly depend on. ”

The mural project has been sponsored by Jotun paints who donated over 300 litres of paint, Roll Roy who gifted the students 400 brushes and rollers, Giordano who have provided the outfits for the children to perform in during the opening week celebrations, Aquaplay who will reward the participating children with vouchers, Future World carpentry and wood, and Ibis Hotels.

Limited edition t-shirts and eco-shopping bags depicting the six different eco-systems of the mural will also be sold at Mirdif City Centre from March 16th, with proceeds going to the Emirates Wildlife Fund.

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