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Discover modern Emirati heritage at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Homegrown artists Amalie Beljafla and Amrita Sethi are set to highlight the UAE’s rich cultural history by using diverse art techniques that will turn all areas of the souk into a living canvas

Souk Madinat Jumeirah is all set to debut new artworks by homegrown artists, Amalie Beljafla and Amrita Sethi, as part of an ongoing legacy project designed to narrate the rich heritage of the Emirates.

The authentic Arabian bazaar by Dubai Retail recreates a traditional Middle Eastern marketplace through distinctive architecture, commercial exchange and lively cultural entertainment. Phase one of the ‘Souk Seven’ immersive art project, designed to feature artwork around the souk from seven of the country’s most acclaimed artists, was announced in November 2019 and phase two aims to continue efforts to evolve one of the city’s most celebrated attractions.

Amalie Beljafla is using oil and acrylic paint to create a surreal, vibrant, and powerful 25-metre-long mural titled Al Noor, which translates as ‘The Light’, on the dome of the souk. Drawing on her Bedouin heritage and Emirati culture, Beljafla’s octagonal dome piece takes its inspiration from the stars that the Bedouins would follow across the desert, and is a centrally positioned calligraphic creation set against a fuchsia aurora light with the words ‘Al Noor’ repeated through it.

The surrounding layers to the central artwork include four dynamically positioned large, white falcons reflecting strength, power, and visionary leadership of the UAE and its ancestors.

Award-winning artist Amrita Sethi has been commissioned to design two more murals that will be displayed at the refurbished main entrance of Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Sethi will be using her signature voice note art, employing acrylic paints to capture soundwave patterns. Her first mural, titled Halla Walla, translated as ‘hi there’, is located at the entrance of the souk as a welcome invitation to guests.

Sethi’s second mural Khashmak refers to the famous nose kiss, which is a form of greeting in the UAE used to show respect and is also located at the main entrance.

Both murals are interpreted in a colourful and contemporary style while embedding the core traditional values of the UAE. Additionally, QR codes will be placed under each mural allowing visitors to scan and play an audio clipping of the artist explaining the artwork.

The art project has been a core component of wider enhancement works at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. The expanded artworks will offer residents and tourists a modern glimpse of Arabian traditions and culture at the iconic cultural and entertainment destination.

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