The Collectors exhibition, a signature event of Dubai Summer Surprises, has attracted its fair share of Emarati collectors this year with a range of diverse yet unique collectibles. Well known hobbyists like Suhail Zarooni have put Emarati collectors on the world map and more such collectors are following his lead to success.
Ahmed Mohamed Saleh Al Aqeeli took up his hobby of collecting vintage sunglasses two to three years ago. Inspired by the late His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ahmed's collection might seem unattractive at first but gets attention when he mentions he has glasses worn by none other than Saddam Hussein.
Azza Al Marri took her hobby of collecting old items to a new level when she began meeting people of various nationalities and started collecting miscellaneous household items from them. Her collection now includes collecting authentic radios, bowls, precious antiques, daggers, and precious stones.
"Some of the items I have are from my family, and some of them are gifts from my dad as he likes to collect antiques as well. The beautiful thing about my hobby is that I didn't buy these antiques, but I got them from my family as a family treasure and heritage through generations and I intend to keep this for generations that come after me," said Azza.
Fathya Al Qassab has a collection that can only be called unique. While everyone has relished the egg-shaped Kinder Surprises chocolate, Fathya went on to collect the toys inside it. Today, she proudly owns more than 1500 pieces.
Visitors to BurJuman are also sure to be awed by a whole collection of modified cars. Salem Al Shaqsi, who began modifying cars in the 1990s, is well known throughout UAE for his unique craft. So far, he has customised around 190 cars across the GCC. Salem's cars have also featured in Hollywood hits such as Fast and the Furious.
Wafa Khalid began collecting as a child and today has a collection that includes stamps, coins, post cards, phone cards, entrance tickets, mugs, hotel keys, sugar sachets, and toys. "My hobbies made me learn a lot about countries I have items from, made me read and search more about them. It's great to know that there are others who share the same passion. It doesn't matter what your hobby is as long as it makes you happy and gives you a break from life's busy schedule," said Wafa.
Suhail Zarooni needs no mention in the list of collectors in the UAE. Suhail's collection at The Collectors this year includes Cartier limited edition pens, miniature car collection – for which he holds a Guinness World Record, stamps, 24K gold plated bank notes, coins, crushed bank notes, antiques, princess Diana doll collection (collected by his wife), Harry Potter (collection by Suhail Al Zarooni's sons, Mubarak & Saif Suhail Al Zarooni), British Royal Family collection, Thai Royal Family collection, newspapers, Starbucks mugs, antique crockery, rare crockery, and trinkets from Wedgwood.
The Collectors exhibition goes on in BurJuman till July 24. Other collections include old manuscripts from the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage, unique collection of Christain Lacroix Evian bottles, DSS branded telephone cards, stamps, coins, paper money, and classic cars. Also of special interest is a collection of garments worn by the prolific Lebanese singer Sabah, known across the Arab world as the 'singing bird'.
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