With a rich cultural history, and now home to major cultural institutions including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the emirate is bustling with local creativity and artistic expression. Creating everything from miniature scenes and handcrafted jewellery to crochet figures and three-dimensional paintings, here are the Abu Dhabi-based artists enriching the city’s flourishing scene.
Woominiature brings your favourite memories to life. A childhood bedroom, a scene from your favourite book, a Christmas shop with twinkling fairy lights, a beloved grandmother’s kitchen; all these scenes and more, are recreated in miniature display. Each scene is lovingly handmade to the finest detail, from the chairs and the cushions to the lights and the frames, demonstrating a dedication to an intricate and complex craft as well as incredible artistry and a wealth of talent.
Artist Sadv’s love for ‘little things’ dates back to her childhood. Denied an expensive doll house as a child, she developed the philosophy that “every child deserves a doll house.” But her work is not appreciated only by children. Friends and family are gifted custom-made, personalised ‘room boxes’ that reflect their personal interests. From a nursery for an expectant couple to a music teacher’s classroom, these thoughtful gifts each contain little mementoes that are personal to the receiver, such as miniature copies of music books complete with their handwritten notes, or framed photographs of their families.
Through her craft, Sadv is not only leaving her mark on the local art scene in Abu Dhabi, but creating cherished memories for anyone lucky enough to display her work.
Svi Loza learnt to crochet at her grandmother’s knee from the tender age of six. Years of nurturing her talent followed, before multiple requests from her friends for scarves, toys and other crocheted items led her to start Svi Loza Crochet. As busy mother of three, and a piano teacher and volunteer at the Bulgarian school among many other responsibilities, crocheting provides a well-deserved retreat from her busy schedule. According to Svi, balancing her crocheting business with her other roles is “the greatest pleasure.” Crocheting in the car and at school while waiting for her children, Svi always makes time for her craft and finds that it is a “relaxing, anti-stress therapy.” This mode of ‘clearing her brain’ is highly productive, as it manifests itself in a range of unique, hand-crafted goods. From bags and children’s toys to clothes and other accessories, Svi’s work is perfect for any occasion and depicts commitment and dedication in every stitch.
Landing in the UAE‘s capital around a year and a half ago, Passant Youssry was instantly enamoured by the multicultural society present in the Emirate. Inspiring her inner creativity, this led to her unique hobby: hand painting delicate scenes on fabric. Drawing influence from traditional themes, such as Bedouin women and shepherdesses, market scenes and Sufi dancers, Passant depicts these images on cushion covers. Some exclusive covers are even embellished with silver and gold coins and jewels, adding intricate details that bring the images to life. Passant now intends to expand her range of designs, incorporating some of the symbols the UAE is best known for, such as towering skyscrapers and innovative architectural designs.
Andy Anderson, the genius behind PhotoArt, has been capturing snapshots of the world through his eyes for over 35 years, first on film and later digitally. Andy lived in Hong Kong prior to coming to Abu Dhabi and, now semi-retired, he explores the Far East, taking his camera along to “shoot a wide variety of subject matter in pursuit of photographic art.” Practising “photographic impressionism,” Andy sets out to reflect his own interpretations through his work and experiments with “composition, light, colour, creativity and a certain style” to add depth and character to his images. Believing that “few nice photos are truly frame worthy in artistic quality,” Andy’s extensive photography experience has developed an eye for the “special kind of image” that works well in a frame.
Andy has published two books centred around his photography in the UAE: The United Arab Emirates Through My Eyes and Impressionistic Abu Dhabi, A Pictorial, which are available at various markets throughout Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well as Louvre Abu Dhabi.
With over 27 years in the UAE under her belt, Emily Gordon “has documented the city’s meteoric rise” through her work. Each painting is unique and carries a “memento of time spent in the capital” by depicting the beautiful skylines and landscapes, as well as Arabian imagery and patterns. Bright and quirky, Emily’s work captures the attention with its bold colours and individual interpretation of iconic buildings such as Louvre Abu Dhabi and Emirates Palace. Crafted with hundreds of layers of acrylic paint and resin, her paintings are given a third dimension with the inclusion of objects such as jewellery pieces, patterned fabrics and badges. This distinct multimedia process has been honed over several years, and can take up to six months to produce a single painting. Brightening up the walls of hotels, offices and homes throughout the city, the work of Emily Gordon Art is key to Abu Dhabi’s art scene.
While studying for her PhD, on top of various other responsibilities as a mother and teacher, Sadv started pursuing jewellery making. This allows her to “escape reality” and de-stress, while also creating stunning earrings, necklaces and bracelets to suit her individual style. She created Very Beadsly, intending to spread the joy and allow others to “enjoy her craft” while also allowing her to continue her hobby. Featured at various artisan markets around the capital, Very Beadsly has expanded over the last few years and Sadv’s jewellery is now appreciated by women around the world. Elegant, distinctive and and demonstrating excellent craftsmanship, Sadv’s work reflects attention to the tiniest detail and a style that is very much unique to its creator.
Sourcing beads, pendants and other materials from all four corners of the world, from Thailand and America to Turkey and Russia, Sadv (a name chosen by the artist after the Celtic of Goddess of creativity and forests) draws influence from nature, creating statement pieces using earthy tones and symbols that reflect natural elements such as leaves, shells, trees, dragonflies and peacocks.
You can find Very Beadsly on Facebook.
French national Luc Marin is sweeping the nation with his use of sand to craft and share thought-provoking stories. Practising this unique art form for over ten years, Luc began his journey in the UAE‘s capital, taking inspiration from the cultural significance of sand in the Emirates. According to Luc, sand is the sustainer of Bedouin life and, similarly, brings his stories to life. The “ephemeral” nature of sand art creates “an extraordinary effect” on audiences as they are lost in the story and are “shocked” when Luc finishes and cleans his light box. Crafting a series of eloquent and expressive tales, Luc navigates the rapid development of the UAE from a desert to a metropolitan hub, offering a crash course in Emirati history and a glimpse into the UAE’s culture and heritage. Iconic buildings and tourist hotspots feature prominently in his work, highlighting the things that the UAE is best known for.