A pop-up Ramadan-themed exhibition is now on show on the top floor of Times Square Centre to encourage shoppers to get into the spirit of the Holy Month.
Calligraphic works, which bear verses from the Quran and phrases of religious praise, have been curated into a path that snakes its way alongside the stores. In addition to the calligraphy, works depicting camels are also on show, as are Arabesque-themed prints. All pieces are on stretched canvas.
"Colours and shapes are important to this exhibition," explains Sherin Al Alami, the co-founder of Muse Artz, the host of the exhibition. "We have worked with our in-house designers and artists to collate this show specifically for Ramadan."
"People haven't really tapped into Islamic or calligraphy art in the digital format and there is a real demand for it," says Al Alami. "We work with digital artists on a regular basis, so we have managed to address that need."
The designers Salah Shaheen and Dia Allam are behind most of the creations on show in Times Square. Charlie Villagracia, who designed the camels, completes the line-up.
Al Alami says that Ramadan is an ideal time to promote art with this subject matter. "Now is a quiet time," she says. "Many of the galleries are closed but there is still lots of events going on and many of the Ramadan tents or other venues are missing art, so we are bringing art to Ramadan in an Islamic and colourful way."
What is Muse Artz?
A retail outlet in Times Square, Muse Artz sells original or limited-edition prints at affordable prices. According to Al Alami and her sister Yasmine, a former banker, who founded the store in January, it gives a platform for artists who don't have the confidence or means to exhibit their art in the galleries.
"Muse Artz provides a vast collection from locally based artists and opens up a platform for them. We sell accessible, affordable and easy art and it is a fun, light experience that is not supposed to be daunting in any way," she says.
"Both me and Yasmine are artistically inclined, but we found that all our walls were empty for five years after we moved to Dubai. There was a lack of simple, enjoyable and accessible art unless you went to Ikea, so we wanted to find a balance between the two."
Expanding their reach
Muse Artz has just launched an online site to make purchases easier and they are also in talks with several malls and Ramadan tents about extending the exhibition across the three days of Eid. "Everyone is thirsty for art," says Al Alami, who used to work as the art week manager for Art Dubai and was a senior booking manager for The Fridge. "From what I see in Dubai, people are out there and they need this platform."