Poster art on road safety from India.
Through Their Eyes is an art event being hosted by OnStar, the in-vehicle safety and security technology from General Motors. It has set out to reframe the road safety conversation by working with six leading artists, who, across paint, digital design and more, will depict meaning across poignant experiences through visually arresting and thought-provoking pieces at Infinity des Lumieres, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, on September 29.
The launch of the Through Their Eyes collection will show how gifted artists expand the norms of road safety discussion through their personal perspective and style.
The artists are: Hamad Al Humaidhan; Kristel Bechara; Simon Kazanjian; Sumaiyyah Al Suwaidi; Galina Gorlova and Asma Al Remeithi.
Al Humaidhan paints his world with youthful emotions — some of his characters are real, some are legendary and others just imaginary; Bechara’s work is known for its innovative use of dynamic patterns and expressive colours; Kazanjian’s contemporary, bold style speaks to the heart rather than the head; Al Suwaidi is a multiple award winner Emirati artist based in Abu Dhabi; Gorlova is a British digital artist based in Dubai and Al Remeithi conceptualises, designs and illustrates concepts and ideas, and is a Manga Comics aficionado.
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Road traffic crashes have become one of the world’s largest public-health and injury-prevention problems. The issue is all the more acute because the victims are overwhelmingly healthy before their crashes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year. Information campaigns are one among the many advocacy measures designed to reduce road casualty levels.
For example, the Road Safety Community Park at East Coast Park in Singapore hosts traffic games for local public schools and institutions and it offers kids a valuable opportunity to learn about proper road safety at a young age.The second world youth assembly for road safety saw young leaders from across the world gathered in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2020, to take action on road traffic crashes. In the UAE, Public Prosecution has warned about a Dhs20,000 fine for those fleeing the scene of an accident, which has resulted in injuries.
Shereen Harris, Head of Marketing & Subscriptions, OnStar Middle East, answers Gulf Today’s questions safely
How do artists help the cause of road safety?
Through working with artists, a unique route of conversation was opened. The alternative medium of expression used invites the public to look at the end message of safety, through a fresh lens. Involving artists in this conversation is reflective of OnStar’s pioneering approach to introduce a human element into the road safety space.
Sumayyah Al Suwaidi (left), Asma Al Remeithi, Galina Garlova, Kristel Bechara and Hamad Al Humaidhan
What were the “collisions” (or briefings) that were provided to the artists to help them get a feel of the situation?
We understand that art is inspired by the human experience; therefore a vital aspect of the collaboration was to provide our partners with exposure to different real-life, sensory experiences. Given our close work with local authorities and first responders, we could share access to a combination of audio cues from 999 calls, accident footage as visual content, first responders’ thoughts, highlighting the harsh reality of collisions.
Why did you select these particular artists for the campaign?
The artists were carefully handpicked on the basis of their passion to make a difference through their art. There was also a need to explore different mediums, to successfully speak to a broader range of viewers, which also impacted our final artist cohort. As a group, they worked across traditional paint, contemporary design and engaging sequential art forms, that covered various audience interests.
How will the artworks be displayed?
We are eager to unveil the final stories and artwork in an impactful way that celebrates our artist efforts. So stay tuned for more updates on this, in the coming month.
According to you, how does Art lead to the betterment of society? Give some examples where it has done so.
We are surrounded by art every day, be it in the form of music, murals, performances and more. Irrespective of the form, art brings people together, overcoming differences in opinions and backgrounds. Examples of this include use of emotive visual art in spotlighting causes such as equality and sustainability.
Will you measure road user feedback, post-campaign?
We will be looking to hear from the viewers on how this can potentially change their perspective around road safety, and shift the sentiment around conversation from apprehension to open conversation.
Have you created similar advocacies before?
While this is our first artistic partnership in the region, we do work closely with the community, first responders and safety entities. Our most recent endeavour involved working with Road Safety UAE, on a study aimed at understanding the impact of major accidents, and the subsequent experience of victims, as well as requirements of emergency responders. This study brought to light key findings, such as when responders have a clear overview of the incident ahead of time, they can create the necessary assessments within the first ten seconds of reaching the site.
Will the experience be archived for future use?
Most definitely. The experience evoked by the artworks acts as a powerful pathway towards our goal to go above and beyond, in informing on the importance of road safety. Through exploring multiple avenues of engagement and experiential touch points such as this, we will continue to build on the spotlight we are placing on the subject.
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