Dubai Culture and Waterfront Market announce iconic mural depicting UAE’s tradition & progress

Special For DXB24 Magazine….

Winning art piece successfully delivers an eloquent portrayal of country’s social, cultural, and economic journey towards modern day UAE

December 11, 2018
The Waterfront Market in partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts, heritage, and literature, announced today (Tuesday, December 11, 2018) the winning mural and artist of its Mural Painting Competition during an event held at the Waterfront Market in Deira. Judges have chosen the work of 36-year-old UAE resident Shahul Hameed from India from over 100 submissions and 10 shortlisted finalists. Hameed’s proposed mural was selected for its creativity, which accurately captured the theme of the competition, ‘Leave Your Mark’.

In addition to a cash prize of AED 30,000, Hameed won the privilege to paint his iconic art piece on one of the Waterfront Market’s main walls, representing the country’s rich culture, heritage and rapid progress. The Waterfront Market’s Mural Painting Competition is one of the initiatives aimed at celebrating art and contributing to the preservation of the country’s culture and heritage, held in partnership with the main sponsor, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. The Authority provided expertise and support to Waterfront Market in ensuring the success of the competition is in-line with its mission to continuously strengthen the local art community.

The panel of judges included Khalil Abdulwahid Hassan, Director of Fine Arts Department at Dubai Culture; Maitha Al-Marri, one of the UAE’s upcoming visual artists; and Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director for Retail, Residential, & Commercial at Ithra Dubai, the developer and operator of the Waterfront Market. The judges expressed their appreciation of Hameed’s work, which they hope will further grow the art scene and inspire established and upcoming artistic talents in the UAE. They noted that the selection was not an easy choice given the outstanding quality of entries, but decisions had to be made following the criteria, which focused on the technique, theme, visual impact and balance to eloquently portray the UAE’s social, cultural, and economic journey to today’s modernity.

The success of the competition has further highlighted the Waterfront Market as an ideal venue to enrich creativity and promote the heritage of Dubai and the UAE, as well as an open platform for artists to express themselves and their masterpieces.

Gyde emphasized: “We are delighted at how this competition turned out and we are honored to showcase the immense talent at the Waterfront Market. Judging the works was not an easy task but a task that was done to emphasize on the importance of culture and modernity together. We are proud to have been a catalyst for the event and are happy with the outcome. We congratulate the winner and to the Waterfront Market and DCAA teams for spearheading this great competition.”

Khalil Abdulwahid Hassan, who is considered one of the most prestigious award-winning artists and who has taken part in multiple judging committees locally and internationally, said: “I am honoured to have joined the judging panel in selecting the competition’s winner, promoting Dubai Culture’s role in supporting creative talents, especially as the artistic murals will undoubtedly be one of the Waterfront Market’s attractions. Though the choice of winner was no easy task, the victor is a distinguished artist who implicitly met the required standards by successfully reflecting the UAE’s culture, heritage and renaissance, thereby promoting cooperative relations between governmental and private institutions and enriching Dubai’s art scene.”

Al Marri added: “This unique mural painting competition brings artists together, and sheds light to the importance of the UAE heritage and modern twist that highlights the UAE as a strong, proud, talented and inclusive country filled with diversity and culture. It highlighted the UAE’s lively creative community and its interest and love for the UAE’s unique heritage and its portrayal through art.”

Hameed worked on painting the winning piece on the Waterfront’s main wall, measuring 8.5 meters in length and 4.5 meters in height, for 20 days. He said: “All my acts to date live upon the need to visualize my concerns. It is my curiosity about the subject that I try to transfer using my canvas. I believe art is already there and I become the agent who enables its disclosure. There is a secret pleasure that I cherish in doing this, which I enjoy, and is sometimes difficult to express in words.”

Hameed added: “I have been here in Dubai for over 14 years and I have witnessed how the city has progressed over the years. However, I have been inspired a lot of times to paint the tradition and customs that I have seen and felt so attached to it as a theme in my works. This gave me the confidence that I can win this competition. When I started doing the UAE’s heritage and cultural paintings in my early stages, I was inspired by the style and works of the respected Abdul Qader Al Rais, a multi-awarded Emirati painter. His works are awesome, and I personally love them. I have done many exhibitions and live painting sessions. However, this is the first time that I participated in a competition in Dubai and I’m so grateful for the opportunity and humbled by the fact that I won.

The winning artwork stood out from all other art pieces because of its representation of what makes the UAE unique in its traditions and culture, while creatively showcasing the modern and urban lifestyles. It has fully depicted the theme of the competition, while embodying simplicity and vibrancy with its bright colors.

Hameed’s painting is now a permanent fixture that adorns one of the Waterfront Market’s walls for all visitors to admire during their visits while providing additional color to the diverse Deira community.
About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority:
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) launched on 8th March 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority’s vision is to establish Dubai as a global, creative, and sustainable city for culture, arts, heritage, and literature, and to empower these sectors to bring happiness to Dubai’s society.
As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focussed on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season, the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative that kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week which features Art Dubai and SIKKA Art Fair, an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region; Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre, an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and celebrated its 12th anniversary in 2018; and Dubai Next, a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia (, the nation’s first government-empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation, providing a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in supporting the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026 by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Library’s branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative that complements the UAE National Reading Strategy with activities open to all age groups, revolving around four key themes: happiness, reading, family, and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 16 heritage sites across the Emirate and organises the ‘Live our Heritage Festival,’ a social initiative that promotes the practice and preservation of the UAE’s cultural heritage, old social practices and, UAE handicrafts.

Furthermore, as part of the Authority’s mandate to preserve national heritage, Dubai Heritage Development Centres at Dubai Government schools were established in 2011 as per the agreement inked between Dubai Culture and Dubai Educational Zone. In 2018, the first branch of a higher education institution was established as part of an agreement between Dubai Culture and Zayed University to serve as educational platforms for UAE heritage and raise cultural awareness among students.

Additionally, the first edition of the ‘Cultural Pottery Festival’ was launched in 2018 under the theme ‘Pottery: Legacy and History.’ The Authority aims to shed light and revive the pottery industry by giving it a distinctive cultural, touristic, and marketing character to sustain the components of the UAE’s heritage and handicrafts.

As the custodian of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture officially launched Etihad Museum in December 2016 that provides a platform to encourage cultural exchange and connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority’s mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange, regionally and globally, the museums will play a catalytic role in preserving Emirati Heritage

For more information on Dubai Culture, visit

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