While some artists feel strongly against treating art as a commercial commodity, the fact that some of Dubai’s hospitality outlets have been commissioning mega artworks around the city has greatly contributed to the awareness and appreciation of art.
“In Dubai, I have seen a few sculptures but not as a form of art. I want to develop this bond with the UAE and make this country more beautiful with my unique sculptures,” Bellezza Art and Sculpture managing director Damian James told StepFeed.
Here are some of the sculptures that you may have crossed countless times without knowing much about them:
1. Giant Cube Sculpture
The chess-inspired, giant cube sculpture that is based in Dubai’s Zabeel Park was commissioned by Al-Khatib Cracknell and comprises of 384 panels of copper and mirror-polished stainless steel to form a Rubik-like cube.
Speaking to StepFeed, artist David Harber said, “I was inspired to take these classical geometric shapes to add to each an additional inspiration with subliminal meaning."
"The challenge was then to take these ideas forward and create each piece using durable and long-lasting materials that would withstand the harsh environment for years to come," he added.
2. Octo 2 & 3 Kinetic Sculptures
It was just last year when American artist Anthony Howe installed his kinetic sculptures in Dubai.
One of the sculptures, Octo 3, located at City Walk, is considered to be one of the largest stainless steel kinetic sculptures in the world with a height of 7.6 meters high and a weight of 3.2 tonnes.
3. Together Sculpture
When Downtown Dubai wanted to celebrate Arab dignity and grace back in 2011, the best option was to resort to the elegant art of sculptures.
The sculptures Together, commissioned to Syrian artist Lutfi Romhein by Courtyard Gallery owner Samia Saleh, stand at 4.25 meters high near the entrance of Burj Khalifa.
Resting on a granite base, the male figure was sculpted in Carrara marble from Italy and the female sculpture was made of black granite from Sweden.
4. Sidra Sculpture
The free-shaped bronze sculpture Al Sidra located at Emaar Boulevard next to Al Manzil Hotel was created by Kuwaiti sculptor Sami Mohamed Al Saleh in 2009.
The sculpture was inspired by the Sidra tree, which is native to the region, representing its endurance and resistance to harsh climatic conditions. Erected on a marble and concrete base, Al Sidra pays tribute to the Arab woman and the society as a whole.
5. Horse 2007 Sculpture
Horse 2007 is a 1.5-tonne-bronze sculpture, celebrating the equestrian heritage of Dubai and the Arab World. No wonder it was commissioned to Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero who is famous for making horse sculptures.
Measured at 310x192x156cm, the sculpture is located in Downtown Dubai near Dubai Mall and The Address Downtown where it is strategically positioned with uninterrupted views of Burj Khalifa.
The work was also commissioned by Samia Saleh, who was involved throughout, from the design to shipment, storage, and final placement.
6. Arabian Camel Sculptures
The three life-size bronze camel sculptures were unveiled in 2014 by Downtown Dubai next to Souk Al Bahar. The artwork took artist Donald Greig eight months to finalize.
The camels have varying heights with the adult camel standing at 3m, the calf at 1.9m, and the laying camel at 1.3m high.
In total, the three sculptures weigh 800 kilograms. Initially, the sculptures were created in clay and polystyrene armature before being molded into silicon, cast into wax, dipped in ceramic, and topped with molten bronze.
7. Human Waterfall Sculptures
Unlike most of the artworks on this list, the Human Waterfall sculptures are positioned quite prominently in Dubai Mall with the aim to grab the attention and admiration of the visitors.
The waterfall along with the artwork, which was installed in 2009, runs through the entire height of the mall and can be viewed from all four levels.
It was Singapore-based DPA Architects who designed the fiberglass sculptures of human divers, a texture that creates a dynamic visual spectrum with the rhythmic flow of the water.
8. Life Size Andalucian Sculpture
9. Gathering Sculpture
The Gathering consists of a collection of sculptures made of basalt by Spanish sculptor Xavier Corbero. In total, the 10 structures weigh over 20 tonnes. The project, another commission by Samia Saleh, was unveiled in 2011.
Perched against the scenic background of Burj Kalifa, Cornero feels that the proximity between the tower and his artwork creates a special connection.
“I see a beautiful relationship between Burj Khalifa and the Gathering. I looked around the building and found this spot that was perfect for the sculptures. I want to evoke the feeling of nature, imagination, and reality,” he once said.
10. Chorus Sculpture
The 15-meter-high sculpture Chorus was unveiled just last year by Emaar and Korean sculptor Jaehyo Lee.
The magnificent artwork was sculpted using 3.4 tonnes of steel and 7.6 tonnes of wood. Inspired by the flow and movement of a gathering in Gwanghwamun Square in South Korea, Lee assembled the structure over the course of five months.
With over 22 years of experience in visual arts, Lee created Chorus primarily using wood, nails, steel, stone as well as natural materials like branches and leaves.
11. Wings Sculpture
Intuitively working with clay or wax in his hands, British Sculptor Ben Barrell is heavily influenced by his love of sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean’s influence on the curves and forms can clearly be seen in his artwork Wings.
Like much of his work, the innate elegance and beauty of a bird’s wing or a sea creature's fin can be seen in his 7-meter white sculpture in The Address Boulevard Dubai.
“I am attracted to elegant, organic forms and I felt that the evolution, optimism and inspirational vision for Dubai seemed to be reflected in the pairing of two wings looking towards the future together,” he once said in an interview.