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Karama, old Dubai’s bustling neighbourhood, where people live, work and shop, is not a place one readily associates with art. Its busy streets, lined on both sides with shops overflowing with souvenirs, fashion and sportswear, are definitely vibrant but not arty. Traffic is maddening and you’d rather get on with your journey and out of the place as quickly as you can. This is certainly not a place to stop and stare, well at least not until recently when wasl properties decided to transform the façades of the Karama Shopping Complex into an open street art gallery. It was an initiative to provide colourful and creative additions to the buildings, ensuring that Karama’s residents and tourists were positively impacted by the presence of art in their lives.
The idea, as Zainab Mohammed, Chief Property Management and Marketing Officer at wasl properties, explains, was to have a beautified Karama, a neighbourhood that was then able to transform itself and bridge the gap with other modern areas in Dubai. Wasl properties partnered with street art specialist, Graffiti, in the creation of artworks on 24 walls across all 12 buildings of the Karama Shopping Complex.
Contributing artists Muhriz Murad, Mohammad Fakhri and Abdul Rashid, well-known for street art, realism and illustration, weren’t provided with parameters through any particular outlined brief or theme, ensuring that they were free to express their creativity. “The result is a series of artworks, which comprises a mix of contemporary and traditional styles, infused with some elements from nature,” says Zainab. Wasl also worked with a contractor to execute tiling work and provide exterior lighting and planters across the complex.
“The rejuvenation of Karama, with this artistic programme, is in line with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021 that aims to provide a rich cultural experience with a diverse set of artistic and recreational options, including increasing the number of creatively edifying experiences to make the emirate an attractive and entertaining city for residents and a popular destination for tourists,” says Zainab.
The art has obviously infused Karama with a lot of colour and beauty, making it more pleasant for its residents. And the creativity, according to Zainab, has provided a stimulation and inspiration to both established and budding artists. “The vibrant artworks have attracted visitors from all over Dubai. The additional footfall in the area will provide a boost not only to retailers in the Karama Shopping Complex, but also to nearby small businesses,” she says.
Source: Esha Nag, Property Weekly