Abu Dhabi Art (under the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi) and Aldar Properties have teamed up to commission a series of public artworks for the newly-opened Reem Central Park in its on-going push to enhance Abu Dhabi’s urban landscape with public art at its properties across the UAE capital.
Local artists Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and the collective of Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian were commissioned to create site-specific artworks for the recently opened, 9,300m2 park, located on Reem Island. This latest artistic endeavour follows on from high-profile commissions such as a 600m mural at Al Raha Beach, and numerous other artworks within Aldar’s various properties.
The artists were inspired by the park’s multicultural visitors, as well as by pre-Islamic poetry, Arabic folklore, and motifs found on items from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Etihad Museum. The new artworks can be seen on 24 pillars surrounding the 2,400m2 skate park, staircases, four playgrounds, and four bollard walls, adding numerous additional elements of interest to the popular park, which also features sports facilities and a water and light show.
Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the artists, said: “The five walls that I created for Reem Park are conceived as pages in a book, which can be read in either direction. Art is an encounter that should expand beyond the museum or gallery to become part of everyday life and welcome different perspectives. It is this important point that Reem Park speaks to; families, friends, children all come and play in the park. They are able to read or interpret each wall in their own way. They can picnic near the walls and I hope, enjoy a story that has been created for them, the everyday public."
Dyala Nusseibeh, director, Abu Dhabi Art, added: “Aldar has a visionary approach in placing public art at the centre of their development plans from the outset, signaling a commitment to investing in culture and in creating unique public spaces. The commissioned artists are some of the most important living in the UAE today, and it is really very special that Aldar has provided the public with access to their work in Reem Park. Artists are the heart of any creative community and Aldar has brought the voice of that community into the public space, through these inspiring artworks.”
“Aldar has a longstanding commitment to supporting the public’s engagement with art, through the creation of conceptual landmarks and aesthetically pleasing master developments as well as through public murals and artworks,” commented Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief executive officer at Aldar. “We are delighted to partner with Abu Dhabi Art to commission public artworks in Reem Central Park, which supports young artists and our vision to deliver desirable destinations, enhance our urban landscape and make Abu Dhabi an even more attractive place to live and visit.”
The artist collective comprising Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian commented: “While working on our project at Reem Skate Park, we observed people picnicking or watching their children play and considered how repetitive acts, like the act of skating, shaped public interaction with the space. We also began viewing this public space as also being, in essence, an interior or domestic one and the concept of a majlis, which is effectively a public space in the home, consequently began to take on significance.
“With these thoughts in mind, we drew on motifs that belong to interiority, for example from porcelains. Some repetitive patterns came into play, such as those inspired by the act of skateboarding. And we looked to literature like Mu’llaqatt to elicit a mood of contemplation.
“We were given a space that is culturally active. And since the invitation for this project came with a lot of artistic freedom, we decided to take our studio into the public, observe and study the diversity of it and be responsive to people's interactions.”
Reem Central Park, located in the heart of Aldar’s master-planned community on Reem Island, is set against a beachfront, and also houses a mosque that can host 2,000 people, a retail centre, and food outlets.