Tongue-in-cheek art about Dubai that resonates with us all
What’s On previews a new exhibition of art in Dubai. Highlife Dubai is a fun look at Dubai, exhibited at The Scene, Pier 7, Dubai Marina.
A tongue-in-cheek collection of posters depicting a side of Dubai you won’t find in tourist brochures is on display this month.
UAE-based artist Clare Napper has taken vintage tourism posters as her inspiration for a collection of 18 pieces that poke fun at the Dubai lifestyle. The collection, Highlife Dubai, will be exhibited at new British restaurant The Scene at Pier 7 in Dubai Marina and are available to buy from size A4 to A1.
MEET THE ARTIST
Our pals at Hype Magazine managed to catch up with Clare at the recent exhibition opening…
What is Highlife Dubai?
It’s a collection of vintage style artworks inspired by old travel and tourism ads. They tell the story of the ‘good life’ we lead here in Dubai and aim to be tongue-in-cheek advertising of the places, services and situations that we all know and love around the city. Hopefully, they’ll appeal as more ‘real’ souvenirs with a deeper insight into life out here that expats can take away as fond memories; after all, many of us won’t be here forever.
How did Highlife Dubai come about?
After working in branding and advertising for 13 years, I quit last September to set up my own studio and pursue independent projects. I think doing a set of vintage travel posters about Dubai was actually an idea I had for a client – that wasn’t used – while I was at Saatchi & Saatchi. The collection has been a year in the making – each poster takes a couple of weeks to create, fitting around my other design jobs, so it’s been a steady burner!
How do you create your products?
I trace photos that I’ve found online or that I’ve photographed around town with a tablet and pen onto the computer. I then find old vintage type and give it that aged look in Photoshop. I’ve done so much tracing and drawing in the last year that I was starting to get a wrist bunion. I now wear a bandage every day for bunion prevention.
What’s your favourite piece?
My new favourite is Thank Goodness For Nanny where the child is crying and clinging on to nanny because two strangers have entered the room. The ‘strangers’ are her parents.
What’s the response been like to your Highlife Dubai images?
My first public outing with them was on my stall at the Hype Village at Party In The Park. I was absolutely thrilled by how many people came up and seemed to love them. I sold 37 pieces that day, which was a fantastic surprise. It was also great to get people’s thoughts on new pieces. I’m very keen to hear ideas or insights from anyone who lives here; my dream is for Highlife Dubai to become an expansive, well-loved and unique body of work from the collective brain of all of us.
What’s next for Highlife Dubai? In the New Year, I’ll be translating the pieces into Arabic and adding some Arab expat posters. I’m also launching a collection of vintage style Dubai product ads. And I’m looking forward to collaborating with other designer and artist friends out here and making Highlife Dubai a solid pop art label for the UAE.
Until December 24
The Scene, Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily noon to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4222328. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers. highlife-dubai.com