Learning to Make Art in a City That Paints the Future

Art in DubaiDubai. A city that has gained international attention due to its mercurial growth. Tourists, investors, and everyone in between has flocked to Dubai to experience what life in the ultra-modern city can bring. The need for rich, smart, and talented people to occupy the city has risen, and the only way for the local culture to catch up, or even re-invent itself is through aggressive education.

Artistry Without Artists

Aggressive in the sense of competency. Institutions from the world over have quickly adopted the goal of becoming one of the most outstanding schools in Dubai. Education shoots high from all levels — equipping students with a sense of accomplishment that they can demonstrate at an international level, whatever their age or chosen discipline may be.

One of the fields Dubai is honing its students to excel in is art. Ambitious is the nature of the city, and the importance of instilling this value into the profession of creative expression is more crucial than ever.

A Local Blend

“Everything is international in Dubai, the brands, the cars, the architecture… Dubai is like a museum of architecture with all the architects from everywhere in the world. The only thing that they don’t have here are international artists coming from all over the world,” says Stéphane Custot, the owner of a recently opened art gallery along Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue.

In his interview with the Khaleej Times, Custot referred to the city’s current lack of local artists, not necessarily due to a shortage of talent, but rather the sudden rush of stimuli citizens has yet to learn to draw upon. “I would say it’s a pleasure to do that but it’s not our responsibility. It’s more a Museum and University’s job,” he says, noting how the task of teaching the locals the value of self-expression within a city heavily influenced by foreign sensibilities now lies in its talented educators.

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Dubai has spent the past the decade or so pushing the boundaries of aggressive urbanization. The sprawling seaside city is racing to become one the world’s greatest cities. Of course, much of this newfound glory rests on a foundation of ambitious architecture and deep coffers. Dubai now needs to nurture its citizens, inspiring them to breathe distinct life into the megacity, learning to create art from what they have now built.