An amazing display of shadow art is running at a Deira hotel.
Jordanian couple Maysoon Masalha and Bassam Al Selawi use calligraphy, an ancient form of beautifully ornate handwriting, to create stunning three-dimensional sculptures.
Spelling out proverbs, poetry and verses from the Qur’an, they’re striking their own right, but once spotlights are shone upon them, the shadows cast reveal unexpected shapes, from animals to architecture, lone figures and even intimate family scenes, reflecting the words’ meaning to create a visual narrative.
“Shadow art is not just the assortment of perfectly placed objects to create incredible shadow silhouettes and artwork on walls; it is the reinterpretation of one’s style and infusion with local elements,” the couple said.
“We are very happy that Abu Dhabi Art Hub and Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre has given us the opportunity to showcase our pieces at the Shadow Art exhibition taking place at the hotel.”
Maysoon and Bassam’s work has to be seen to be believed, so make sure you catch the display, which is on show in the lobby of Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre through the hotel’s resident artists programme, with which it’s collaborated with Abu Dhabi art hub to showcase Middle Eastern creativity.
Each piece on display is for sale, so you could snap up an original artwork for less than the price of your next party dress, and the hotel’s General Manager, Laurent Chaudet, said a percentage of the profits from the sale of each piece will be donated to the Majid Al Futtaim Charity Foundation.
Bassam Al Selawi studied fine art in his native Jordan and spent many years teaching the subject while also producing artworks on commission and experimenting with different mediums, materials and techniques.
Years spent teaching Palestinian refugee children was an important educational experience, he says, as there were terribly few material resources for creating art projects, making innovation and creativity vital.
Al Selawi strongly believes that visual art is a particularly beautiful way in which each person can express himself or herself, and that each human being has the right to practise art regardless of the level of talent.
Maysoon Masalha’s life has been spent in the pursuit of increasing the appreciation of the visual arts. After seven years spent working in private schools, she began to teach art at UN-run schools for Palestinian refugees. She considers this experience as being one of the most rewarding of her career in education as she was able to realise in a profound manner how art can have a positive influence on both her students and the community.
Masalha then became an art supervisor in the UN Education Development Centre, where she managed a team of art teachers, staged workshops and organised public arts projects that included music as well as visual art.
She experiments with various materials but focuses on ceramics and various forms of sculpture, developing innovative techniques. An accomplished shadow sculpture artist, she’s also called upon to design commissioned art pieces and installations.
INFO: Until mid-September, hotel lobby, Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre, next to City Centre Deira mall, Baniyas Rd, Dubai, www.pullmanhotels.com/Dubai, 04 294 1222. To enquire about buying one of the artworks, call 055 872 2385 or 055 166 7929. To see more examples of Bassam and Maysoon’s work, visit the dedicated page on the website of Abu Dhabi Art Hub, www.adah.ae/#!shadow-art/c1cw9