The inaugural event takes place at Expo City Dubai from January 26 to February 4
The first Emirati-led light art festival features works by seven of the country’s top talents
It features an immersive programme of interactive experiences, talks, workshops and activities
Event is partnered with Liter of Light to provide high-quality solar lighting to disadvantaged communities
DUBAI-— Dhai Dubai, the first-ever Emirati-led light art festival, has revealed an enlightening line-up of cultural activities, set to immerse visitors at Expo City Dubai and Al Wasl Plaza later this month.
Created and produced by Expo City Dubai in partnership with AGB Creative, and supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dhai Dubai invites visitors to engage with seven magnificent light art installations, reflecting the city’s rich tapestry of narratives and creative expressions. Participating artists and designers include Mattar Bin Lahej, Dr Najat Makki, Dr Mohamed Yousif, Abdalla Almulla, Maitha Hamdan, Khalid Al Shafar and Reem Al Ghaith.
Running from January 26 to February 4, 2024, Dhai Dubai welcomes guests of all ages with an engaging programme that includes an illuminating series of talks, educational workshops, stunning projections and immersive experiences.
Sisters of the Desert Projections
Staying true to its core objectives, Dhai Dubai celebrates Emirati women who have left a lasting impact on the art scene in Dubai and the UAE. The late Dhabia Juma Lamlah is an artist who embodied the resilient soul of Dubai. She is one of the many hidden gems that the city preserves for future generations to be inspired by her remarkable journey. Dhabia Juma Lamlah defied her inability to use her right hand and communicate through speech, choosing art as her way of expressing herself. Thus, she recounted her story and memories of the city’s sea and the desert landscapes through more than 200 remarkable artworks. Sisters of The Desert is a series of projections that pays tribute to Dhabia and her creative sisters from across the globe – sisters who share her resilience and her passion for art.
Al Wasl Plaza will transform its iconic dome into a larger-than-life canvas with a series of special projection shows of Lamlah art pieces, in addition to the works of international guest artists; who are women from other desert regions across the world, including Rene Kulitja from Australia and Dr Esther Mahlangu from South Africa. Together, their works showcase the rich, universal resilience that unites us all and the power of art to bridge individuals and cultures separated by seemingly immense distances.
Liter of Light: A Joint Mission
Building on Expo 2020 legacy of creating a better tomorrow for humanity, and Reflecting Dubai’s spirit of humanitarianism and global philanthropy, Dhai Dubai has partnered with the Liter of Light initiative, an Expo Live award-winning global movement that uses affordable and accessible materials to provide high-quality solar lighting to people with limited or no access to electricity. Lights will be crafted during workshops and distributed the Manobo Floating Villages of the Agusan Marsh, The Philippines, lighting up the communities. During the festival, visitors will also have an opportunity to pledge a contribution to other locations across the Philippines, Kenya, Cameroon and India. This collaboration underpins the festival’s belief in the power of light to influence not only artistic expression but daily life, uplifting communities and building a brighter, more inclusive future for all.
Beyond the central artworks, across Expo City Dubai, a series of dynamic and responsive light art experiences will come to life before your eyes.
Solar Canopy, an interactive visual spectacle, is fuelled by the movements of guests cycling on stationary bikes – creating a unique experience where visitors’ presence and energy literally illuminate the space.
Elysian Arcs presents a serene and seamless blend of immersive curved structures, traversing the delicate line between colour, light and our own human emotions and perceptions.
Solar Dance is an installation that comes to life with every move, creating a captivating dance of light that mirrors visitors’ actions. A playful yet magical reminder of our intrinsic connection to art and our surroundings.
Speed of Light is where skateboarding transcends into an art form. This installation epitomises the spirit of Dubai’s urban culture and youthful energy, offering an electrifying experience for both skaters and spectators. Speed of Light features designs and illustrations by the renowned Emirati artist, Aysha Al Hamrani,
Educational talks and workshops:
Dhai Dubai also offers a Knowledge Programme, where visitors can engage in deep discussions around art and culture, gain professional insights and enjoy interactive workshops.
The event features nightly talks from cultural leaders and artists, providing a deeper understanding of the artistry and cultural significance behind each illuminated creation.
The Lens and Light masterclass, hosted by Nikon, invites participants to learn how to create exquisite light paintings by combining motion blur techniques with lights using a DLSR camera. Cameras will be provided for participants to practice with, though guests are also welcome to bring their own.
The festival also features more than 20 activities and workshops, encouraging children to unleash their creativity and curiosity through light and colour.
Children aged 3 to 5 years old can enjoy exploring light, reflection and shadow with a set of safe, interactive boxes through Light Exploration Boxes. For hands-on creativity, they can indulge in fingerpainting with non-toxic glow-in-the-dark paints or create their own simple lanterns. For dress-up fun, they can relish the Glow Wear activity, where they’ll be invited to craft their own wearable art pieces, including eyeglasses, bunny ears, bracelets and flowers, using vibrant light sticks.
Children aged 6 to 12 years old will have a chance to create solar-powered lanterns using recycled materials (in collaboration with the Liter of Light project), and craft their own kaleidoscopes filled with geometric wonders. They will also produce mesmerising artworks featuring seascapes inspired by Dr Najat Makki’s creations, using bioluminescent paint.
Dhai Dubai is free to attend and welcomes visitors of all ages to explore, learn and engage with light in a way that is both profound and playful.