From afar, the red hot glow on the dunes deep in the desert made it look as if a fire was raging.

However, the illusion was just that, an illusion, created by the brilliant hand of Emirati artist, Shadi Almatroushy, as part of the Emirates Festival of Litrature.

The art piece, which was commissioned by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), formed the backdrop to the second edition of ‘Desert Stanzas’ and is said to be inspired by the poetry of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Carved into dunes behind the performance area, the works looked incredibly like a steam of lava cascading down a volcanic hillside.

According to information provided by Dubai Culture, Shadi’s work, which is entitled ‘The Sands Narrate UAE’s Achievements’, was created using water and sand over three hours’. The night itself is described as ‘a dazzling evening that bought world-class poetry, atmospheric music, and unprecedented Emirati hospitality together, under the arching desert sky’.

Performing in front of the piece were the likes of Khalid Al Budoor, Frank Klötgen, Andrew Motion, Khulood Al Mu’alla, Lan Yi, and Lemn Sissay, while camel riding, falconry, and live cooking stations serving traditional bread, lamb, rice, and Arabic sweets also kept guests entertained.

Now in its sixth year, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Middle East, and last year won Best Festival at the Middle East Event Awards. This year’s installment, which finished on March, has been hailed yet again as a huge success.