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Wanderings in Old Dubai

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Siwd Mae!

In March, I had the great experience of going to Dubai with my partner, mid week we ventured to Old Dubai to the historic neighbourhood of Al Fahidi. We started off at the Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe, where you are transported into olden times, with white rattan chairs, lace curtains, embroidered linen cushions and garden flowers. It was so dreamy..

Once we had munched on enough bread, salad and hummus and of course downed enough tea! we headed out on the peach stone streets of Al Fahidi and wandered into the XVA Art Gallery. Inside they were holding and exhibition named History in the Making, an exhibition by Halim Al Karim, consisting of vintage style monochrome prints and vivid bright portraits which were made to look fuzzy. He wanted to create an almost dreamlike vision of the human psyche combined with historical fiction.

"In the process of remembering, a point is reached at which lost memory and history intersect, and it is this intersection that I’m trying to explore and present through my work and wondering if it is the appropriate passage to re-communicate with our first spiritual existence in the hidden worlds."

– Halim Al Karim

After getting past the charismatic blow up ducks, we got to the XVA gallery shop, I couldn't help myself and purchased a handmade white cotton frock which matched my bucket hat quite well. The fact it was so hot that day made the purchase that much easier as I couldn't be bothered to get my old outfit back on.

We came at a good time, as this March was the annual Sikka Art Fair which we stumbled on by chance, displayed throughout the neighbourhood, were pieces of artwork from the UAE and abroad.

This year, the theme of the fair was the Sidr Tree, a national symbol of the UAE. Throughout the space were graphical depictions of the tree with pastel tone leaves.

They purpose built a mesh shelter with the graphic displayed through the metalwork. When the sun shone through it created a beautiful shadow on the stone wall.

The more we wandered the more we found, hidden between two buildings were a tower of balloons.

A fibreglass sculpture created by Sara Ahli, "Stacked Balloons" Fiberglass, paint, and steel 230cm x 80cm.

"to act as a performative intervention between space and body.

There is a sense of interplay between freedom and control, movement, and stillness. The sculpture investigates how specific architecture affects our body’s inhabitancy" -- Sikka Tour Guide


I was completely amazed by the paintings on show, specifically this stunning vibrant yellow portrait by a collective; Evgenia Silvina and Grimm Van Gestel, named "I-Live"

"For this work, Grimm engaged in a collaboration with Evgenia to create an alternate dimension to I-Live. Energy flows between the mind, the soul and the body allowing us the choice of creation or destruction. The android character pulses its visions into the world by opening multiple perceptions and realities, illuminating a vibrant world full of creative possibilities.

The projection on the mural will consist of various images of nature, computer data running combined with visuals of Dubai life." --Sikka Guide

As we came in the day, we were completely unaware of the transformation of the painting in the night-time. As seen in this image here-- taken from the

Here the android character is transported to the desert with a lime green sky and a shadow.


Another of my favourites was the work of collective Anne Laure Romagny and Robin Chloe- Azaide named "Sisterhood". A mixed media piece combining notions of fashion, street style, tradition and popular culture.

"Painting and Digital Collage Azaide’s couture divas take a spin to Fahidi under Anne-Laure’s watchful eyes. Unapologetically feminine, the artwork is a melting pot of traditions, cultures, avant guarde fashion, street style and patterns in one huge explosion of colours. All of which qualify both Azaide and Anne-Laure’s work" --Sikka Guide

Thankyou for stopping by!

Hwyl Fawr


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