The UAE's art culture is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts as galleries spring up across the country and areas like Saadiyat Island dedicate vast spaces to aesthetics.
It could be said the entire country is a canvas with various expatriate architects painting their visions across its landscape. Yet, it cannot be denied that Emirati talent is also emerging even if some in the local society are still not ready for it.
Suqrat Al Tenaiji, 23, is an undergraduate media student at Dubai Women's College. He is also the founder of the art club at Dubai Men's College (DMC) but his love affair with art began as a secondary school student in Ras Al Khaimah.
"I discovered I liked art in year 10; I always used to draw but my teacher encouraged me to take it seriously and choose it as an AS level subject," he said. "I thought she was joking but soon realised I cared about painting and mixing colours so I started sketching free hand."
Article continues below
However, it was not easy for Al Tenaiji to publicly acknowledge his pursuit of what was regarded by society, especially for boys, as a frivolous pastime.
"It wasn't a serious problem for my family or friends but it was weird for them," he said. "They thought it was strange to see an Emirati student coming home from school with his canvas; they'd say are we sending you to school to learn or do art."
However, he believes these views are changing slowly.
"I think I have the right to talk as an Emirati and an artist and remember in the past people used to say songs are forbidden but now we have Arab Idol; the same goes for the Dubai Film Festival now in its eighth year," he said.