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‘Dubai Art Season’ to exhibit artwork by Damien Hirst and 20 UAE-based artists at Middle East Film & Comic Con

‘Dubai Art Season,’ the city’s umbrella arts initiative launched by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage, will mark the second global appearance of the ‘Art Wars’ exhibit, exclusively at the Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) 2014.

Part of MEFCC, a pillar event under ‘Dubai Art Season,’ ‘Art Wars’ will involve 20 UAE based artists applying their creative flair and individual styles to customise the classic ‘Storm Trooper’ helmet made famous in the Star Wars films, while serving as a timeless pop culture icon.

The original exhibit was the brainchild of Andrew Ainsworth of Sheperton Design Studios, who has worked on over 70 feature films and was the original prop designer from the first film ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ in 1977.

“The original concept of Art Wars was to see how contemporary artists would treat such an iconic pop culture image such as the Storm Trooper helmet that I created almost 40 years ago,” commented Mr. Ainsworth. “With communication and entertainment now mixing world cultures I can’t wait to see the results of Art Wars Dubai.”

The exhibit will be curated by well-known Emirati Urban Artist and Toy designer Mohammed Abedin, and will feature artists with various styles and levels of experience, including some of the more established names in the UAE art scene such as Mohammed Al Mubarak, Jalal Luqman, Matar bin Lahej, Mohammed Kanoo, Ruben Sanchez, and El Seed alongside up-and-coming artists and creative talent.

Khalil Abdulwahid, Manager of Visual Arts, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “’Dubai Art Season’ has been designed to integrate the community into the city’s burgeoning art scene, where residents and visitors to Dubai can truly appreciate the emerging talent that resides here. ‘Art Wars’ will serve as the platform to watch old artistic styles blend seamlessly with newer trends that are being embraced by our artists.”

Having featured previously only at the Saatchi Gallery in London in October of 2013, the exhibit was a huge success and one of the best attended exhibits in recent times and Ben Caddy, Managing Director of the MEFCC said.

“It’s an honour to be only the second venue in the world to feature the exhibit and to have the Damien Hirst piece for display and auction alongside our regional artists definitely makes it extra special,” added Caddy. “We’re really excited to be a part of Dubai Art Season and this kind of initiative fits perfectly with what we’re trying to achieve in giving regional talent a strong platform and raising the profile of Dubai as a cultural hub.”

Sheperton Design Studio’s in the UK has been in the prop design business for over 40 years and has worked on more than 70 features films and specifically the Storm Trooper helmets being used are distributed exclusively in the Middle East by The Toy Store.

The Art Wars Exhibit will be on display in the Bloomingdale Atrium in The Dubai Mall from March 20th to 30th then again during the MEFCC before being put up for auction on April 5th. Mr. Ainsworth will also be present as a guest at the Con and will not only have some fantastic replica props on sale but will be giving workshops to share his experiences.

The MEFCC, a pillar event under Dubai Art Season, is the region’s largest popular culture festival and will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, April 3 to 5, 2014.

‘Dubai Art Season,’ unites five of the city’s premier arts events including Art Week, the Middle East Film & Comic Con and Gulf Film Festival. Art Week celebrates three flagship events, SIKKA Art Fair, Design Days Dubai, and Art Dubai. Several panel discussions, workshops, performances, outdoor art projects and exhibitions will be held as part of the initiative.

The activities under ‘Dubai Art Season’ will play an integral role in highlighting the growth of its creative industries within the regional and international circuit.

For more information people can visit www.mefcc.com or www.dubaiculture.ae

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