Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is celebrating history in the making as the UAE launches the ‘Hope Probe’ Mission to Mars, a milestone of pride for the nation, the region and the Arab and Islamic world.
A contemporary mural produced by the UAE’s creative community takes centre stage in the city’s historical Al Fahidi Neighborhood, with the artistic masterpiece depicting a bridge between the authenticity of the past, achievements of the present and aspirations of humanity for a promising future.
Dubai Culture has chosen designer Amna Basheer and rising Emirati artist Reem Al Mazroui to collaborate for the mural creation marking the ‘Hope Probe’ mission. The UAE’s first space rocket exploration of its kind in the Arab world launched from Japan's remote Tanegashima spaceport.
The 500-million-km journey should see the spacecraft reach Mars in February 2021 - in time for the 50th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
The Al Fahidi mural developed in cooperation with Art Painting Lab, is further testament to Dubai Culture’s ‘Create Together’ campaign launched by the authority in March via its digital platforms to motivate all members of society to share their creativity while in lockdown in their homes.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, said: "The launch of Hope Probe, the first Arab mission to Mars to study its weather and atmosphere, is a source of pride for all of us showing what creative minds and talent of our Emirati brothers and sisters have accomplished over six years of perseverance and hard work. This is a historic moment that we have all looked forward to and will cherish forever.
“It’s a moment that demonstrates a significant achievement in scientific endeavours, culminating in decades of wisdom and dreams under the inspiring leadership and ambition of the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The mission would not have been possible without the support of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”
Badri added: "With this achievement, the United Arab Emirates continues the path of prosperity and development with steady steps towards achieving prominence and being in the esteemed ranks of the world’s most scientifically and technologically advanced countries in space exploration.
“This achievement serves all humanity, restores the glory of Arab and Islamic civilizations that successfully exported science and culture to the world, and instils the spirit of hope and confidence among Arabs to excel. Dubai Culture is seeking, through the mural in Al Fahidi's historical neighborhood, to celebrate Hope Probe as a wonderful achievement in UAE history that promises to inspire future generations.”
Al Fahidi was chosen because of the importance of the district, which represents Dubai’s heritage, the nation’s rooted history, and its role in developing a prosperous Dubai, while the space probe represents the bright future that highlights endeavours, distinction and leadership. The area also embodies the strong relationship between the past and contemporary Emirati identity, and a tribute to forefathers of many generations.
The Contemporary Mural
Looking to the future, while standing on a foundation built centuries ago is the central theme of the mural in which isometric art theories have been applied to highlight features of science and technology in an understated manner. To the right of the mural, the ‘Hope Probe’ sets out to explore the future of research and knowledge, while to the left, historical Arab astronomer Ibn Yunis looks towards the red planet Mars. A silhouette representing and honors the scientific community dedicated to the cause. Eyes curiously look at the secrets of the newly-discovered planet.
The contemporary and inspiring mural curated by Sam Saliba, founder of Art Painting Lab, captures space in the eyes of Arabs, where artist Reem Al Mazrouei depicts the probe’s relationship to society personified by an Emirati girl floating in space wearing celebratory jewelry to celebrate the milestone space mission. Opening her arms as an expression of freedom, her roots are on the ground and close to earth’s moon. Her long wavy hair in zero-gravity depicts the UAE’s long tradition of sailing, except this time through space. Leading the composition, is the very talented Amna Basheer who combines isometric art theories that evoke science and technology sentiments. The Hope Probe, which represents the future, is launched on a mission to discover Mars, while Arab Astronomer Ibn Yunus gazes out towards the red planet. The fragmented tiles are falling apart and falling together to signify that the past and the future are eternally connected, and Mars is showcased gloriously at the centre of the artwork with its mysterious atmosphere about to be discovered.
Through this initiative, Dubai Culture is propagating the importance of creativity as a human value that enhances an individual’s development process and reflects the cultural achievement and diversity that characterises Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. It also falls within the authority’s vision to enhance Dubai’s cultural and creative scene by converting walls of heritage and historical sites into artistic murals in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into an open museum.