All that glitters is Art: curates show at Dubai Gold Souk - GulfToday

All that glitters is Art: curates show at Dubai Gold Souk

glitter art 1

An artwork displays itself in full glory at the event.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Does Art belong only in a museum or a gallery? Not if it depends on artist And as a response to the pioneering vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into an open air museum, she feels empowered to take action on this idea.

Alongside her exhibitions in several museums, the Belgian (real name Francoise Palsterman) has often shown her work in non-conventional places, because she firmly believes that Art is supposed to relate to everyone, not least because it embellishes our environment.


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“Art has the capacity to be noticed by our subconscious even when we didn’t notice it consciously!” she says. “It opens our minds to new possibilities and makes us dream away. So we start to make connections where we would not have done so before.” After having painted “The Transformation Wall,” a 120 x 4 metre work in Al Warqaa, Dubai, was contacted by Major Ahmed from Dubai Police, to bring her light and vision to Gold Souk, Dubai.

This historical part of Dubai, also the bustling trading core of gold, jewellery, diamonds and much more, is one of the most important gold and diamond centres in the world.

glitter art 2  The artists raise a cheer. Pictures: Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today’s exhibition titled Sky Art (till April 25 physically and then virtually at, is the first exhibition of its kind in the epic heritage centre. It is curated by her, and she selected other fellow artists to showcase their work. Thirty artworks of seven artists based in the UAE, from different nationalities — Mariam Ketait (UAE), Fatima Nadia Rehman (Pakistan), Shaikha Salem Al Khayal (UAE), Eric Van der Schaft (The Netherlands), Jose Toledo Carbello (Mexico), Sylvain Tremblay (Canada) and from — are on view.

The event has been organised by Dubai City of Gold; Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group; D2D Art, Dubai Police and Art.

American poet Robert Frost wrote that “Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold.” The works, which perhaps affirm the poet’s words, are currently floating above the heads of pedestrians and customers in the souk, encouraging them to spend time in aesthetic dreams and pause for a while from the intensities of their working worlds. floats her answers to Gulf Today’s questions here How did you conceive of the plan to take art to the sky?

Since my childhood, I have had a huge fascination for the sky. I looked at the sky for hours, because I was convinced that you can know how the weather will turn out by observing clouds.

I love to paint skies in my artworks, because it makes people dream of endless possibilities. Besides, to reach other universes, you need first to pass by the sky.

glitter art 3 A composition from the exhibition.

What attracts you to Dubai’s art — and its sky?

From the first time I arrived in Dubai, I fell in love with the UAE and its traditions. Also, the artworks that I generally see in the UAE are usually filled with positivity, harmony and happiness.

Almost every day I spend time photographing the Dubai sky in all its configurations - sunrise, sunset, clouds, the moon, in ever changing colours.

What is the link between gold and art?

The message of happiness and love is often expressed with gold. The famous Sufi poet Rumi invited readers in one of his poems to “Let us fall in love again/And scatter gold dust all over the world…” When we think of gold, we visualise the Egyptian Pharaoh, Aztec coins, Inca sculptures and antique jewellery. The use of gold in Western art proliferated in Christian altar pieces and iconic paintings in the late Middle Ages. Through time to the present day, gold has been a popular medium to use in Art.

Do you use gold (leaves, flakes, sprinkles) in your art?

Yes, I have always loved to experiment with gold. I have used gold regularly in my artworks, also influenced by Gustav Klimt.

What is the ‘Transformation Wall’?

It is a work of art of 120 m by 4 m that I painted after the first lockdown, related to the urge I felt to express the need to spread our wings and give everyone the opportunity to be photographed with butterflies from all over the world.

The path of the viewer becomes a holistic discovery of the transformation, with its symbolic figure, the Butterfly. The journey of Transformation Wall will lead you to encounter twenty five butterflies and widen your vision, till you reach a peregrine falcon hovering above the Alps.

The beauty of this colourful, monumental painting, where giants dance on a flow of abstraction, geometric patterns and realistic landscapes, induces vibrations of radiant happiness.

On the edges of the Wall, the viewer is surrounded by two dreamlike representations (mountains on one side and sea on the other), where butterflies become suns.

On the mall entrance, a blue butterfly enters in a forest of purple flowers, connecting us to our secret garden of our subconscious and allowing us to gain perspective, till we reach a misty panorama where a falcon enjoying absolute freedom, uplifts us to a higher level still…

Don’t you think when people are looking up and admiring the art, they could be robbed of their gold?

In my experience, Gold Souk is and feels, very safe. The security is well organised, though discreet, but is spread everywhere.

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