City Walk adds ‘Aya’ by renowned Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej to its repertoire of art works

  • Calligraphic sculpture becomes 17th piece of art at the design-inspired open-air lifestyle destination
  • Eight-metre-tall art installation created using four tonnes of stainless steel inspired by a verse in the Holy Quran

City Walk, the design-inspired open-air lifestyle destination by Meraas, today unveiled the public art installation ‘Aya’ by renowned Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej.

Inspired by a verse in the Holy Quran, the magnificent sculpture stretches eight metres high and six metres wide alongside the mosque at City Walk. Bin Lahej has created symmetry through cleverly juxtaposing the mosque’s modern brown and rust-coloured panels with the traditional components of his work, such as the use of the classic Arabic font Thuluth to represent waves and suggest a sense of movement. The sculpture with its mirror finish conveys a contemporary look, complementing City Walk’s urban aesthetic. 

Using over four tonnes of stainless steel, the installation has been brought to life with the dedicated workmanship of more than 20 skilled artisans over 45 days. The steel sculpture is to become a permanent fixture among the destination’s low-rise pavilions. 

Speaking at the unveiling, Bin Lahej said: “My artwork is the outcome of several elements – my surrounding environment and the indelible impressions people, places, events and memories have on my mind. Through my work, I aim to fuel an interest in current and future generations to see beyond the now and the expected. Aya is another milestone in my quest to leave a mark in the world of Arabic art.”

He added: “Over the last few years, Dubai has witnessed a rising artistic and cultural movement. Meraas and its innovative destinations, particularly City Walk, explore every opportunity to integrate art and provide invaluable support to artists from the UAE and around the world. I am confident that City Walk’s visitors will embrace Aya as their own, just as they have done with the other art installations in this urban neighbourhood.”

Considered one of the most influential figures on the UAE art scene, Bin Lahej is a second-generation Emirati artist, an original thinker with a distinctive signature to his paintings, and a visionary and bold approach to his sculptures. Through his unparalleled ability to employ seven diverse art techniques, he has brought a new perspective to how people relate to nature’s elements.
Bin Lahej is the founder of Marsam Mattar, an institution that has contributed to enriching the art movement in the UAE through supporting established artists as well as emerging talent. He also regularly collaborates with entities such as Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Dubai Culture. 

City Walk has played a prominent role in Dubai’s efforts to promote an integrated art movement. For the aptly titled Dubai Walls, 16 of the world's best-loved urban artists were given a blank canvas to decorate the destination in 2016. The following year, 25 artists specialising in 3D art, including four Emirati women, adorned the walls around City Walk with their works for the annual Dubai Canvas 3D Art Festival. The destination has also played host to various other art showcases including Urban Pixels, the annual photography competition by Meraas, and, most recently, National Geographic’s ‘Local Geniuses’ exhibition held in June 2018.

Nestled between two of the city’s most prestigious neighbourhoods on Al Safa Street, in proximity to Sheikh Zayed Road and the busy Jumeirah Street, City Walk enjoys the strategic advantage of a prime location that offers an unobstructed view of Dubai’s mesmerising skyline. Through a conveniently connected street system with direct links to Dubai’s highway network, the masterplan establishes corridors to the city’s well-known landmarks.