The Metamorphosis of DIFC?

Nesma Moharam’s winning piece for the ARTFIVEO open call has been unveiled at DIFC.

Under the title Metamorphosis of Dubai, it’s a monumental mural 53 by 11m on the wall outside the nearly-completed ICD Brookfield Place tower, essentially a new entrance to DIFC on Al Sa’ada Street.

The Dubai-based Egyptian-born artist has produced a piece that aims to celebrates Dubai’s past, present and future – “Dubai’s cultural traditions inherit their characteristics from the Bedouin generosity, a passion for knowledge, and an openness to other nations and cultures’” according to the press release. “The artist sought to capture these aspects along with the spectacular growth and evolution of Dubai from a small trading port to a flourishing metropolis”.

ARTFIVEO itself was created and sponsored by ICD Brookfield. The property developer obviously understands the value both of branding itself as a sensitive presence and of art in general as a valuable contribution to public space. Ben McGregor, Investment director of ICD Brookfield, described the 1.1m2 53-floor Foster-designed ICD Brookfield Place development as “a new destination in the DIFC” and said “we expect to enrich and activate our public realm through our cultural programming beginning with this incredible mural … Our goal was to cultivate and encourage artists throughout the UAE and GCC to participate in this competition which provided a unique artistic platform and exceptional opportunity to bring together the wider community in an innovative and imaginative way.”

Dubai Culture was involved in the project and the selection of Nesma Moharam’s work. Khalil Abdulwahid Hassan, Dubai Culture’s Director of Fine Arts sees it as helping to position Dubai as “a hub of innovation and artistic creativity” and hopes it will “encourage more entities (government or private) to partake in the wider cultural movement”. You can’t argue with those aspirations.

Incidentally, it might be worth keeping an eye on happenings at ICD Brookfield Place. Scheduled for completion later this year, the development includes a 31m high ‘summer garden’ half an acre in size for which we’re promised “a year-round programme of arts and cultural events”.

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