What’s On teams up with Hype and columnist Steffi Bow to review Street Nights DXB, Al Quoz. See video other elements of street art in Dubai.

UAE street artists
JLT art project
– ‘Rehlatna’ (Our Journey)
– Street Nights preview

The recent Street Nights in Al Quoz was a fantastic and well organised event that provided a platform for many artists to show their work. It was particularly great to see a number of ladies hitting the walls and showing some soul with their beautiful artwork.

As an artist myself, I’m fully aware of the time and thought process that goes into working on large-scale pieces. As women, I think we definitely look at things in a different way to men and through art we tend to express our inner feelings. That’s not to say men don’t think like this but I do believe women are deeper, more complex thinkers. Without gender stereotyping, men tend to paint more laterally.

Street Nights DXB - Steffi Bow

This was really evident at Street Nights where most of the pieces done by men were either of the ‘graffiti writer’ letter style, which I love for what it is, or portraits of beautiful women, which were brilliantly done.

From the ladies participating at Street Nights, four pieces that I particularly loved and that embraced the deeper female consciousness were by artists Maddy Butcher, Noosh Like Sploush, Fathima Mohiuddin and Yara Hindawi.


Perhaps most striking was Maddy’s piece of the Nigerian schoolgirls (below, top right) who escaped Boko Haram militants a few weeks back and received relatively small amounts of media coverage. Maddy usually paints large portraits of people that she admires and respects. The three girls painted by her justifiably deserve much praise for their courage. By painting them at Street Nights, Maddy felt it would help us not to forget them and their fellow captives. In Maddy’s own words: “Art is always about celebrating or challenging conceptions or misconceptions. That’s the fun bit. But there’s more all of us can be doing as artists to represent women’s issues – not just female artists.”

Noosh’s gigantic ‘gigANT’ (below, bottom right) was intricate and stunning. She explained: “I’m exploring using insects as a visual metaphor for society because I think I can safely – and hopefully – navigate sensitive issues without alienating viewers, and use humour and absurdity to remark on issues of class, representation and belonging.”

Street Nights DXB

Fathima (above, bottom left), who works as Creative Director of The Domino, painted at last year’s event on the same street and told me: “I love being a part of anything that brings a community in closer contact with creativity.” Explaining the inspiration behind her striking black and white piece, she added: “I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzsche lately, about the human condition, individuality and freedom. That’s where I’m at at the moment. I’ve been painting these cynical birds that are somewhere between abstract and cubist, happy and skeptical, jaded but hopeful, and very much true to my personal style.”

And describing her Street Nights piece, Yara (above, top left) concluded: “It’s a playful, more childlike interpretation of my usual symmetrical, geometrical patterns. While it has no deeper meaning, it represents both sides of my artistic style.”

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