Arts & CultureDubai

World-renowned contemporary artist Shepard Fairey is coming to Dubai for his first solo show in the region

Explore Shepard Fairey’s first show in the region titled ‘Future Mosaic’ at Opera Gallery in March 2021.

Titled ‘Future Mosaic’, the exhibition will feature new works on canvas, paper, wood, and metal, as well as examples of iconic images and repeated motifs from the breadth of his artistic history.

‘Future Mosaic’ is a reflection of Fairey’s multi-medium art practice that is more than just a collection of individual images, but an intentional, cumulative mosaic of unique but aesthetically and conceptually related pieces that go beyond mediums and contexts. 

As part of his Dubai tour this spring, Shepard Fairey will, additionally, be creating an exclusive mural at an undisclosed location in the heart of Dubai that is set to form one of the many landmarks that dot one of the world’s most visited destinations.

“I’m very excited to show in Dubai. I’m a big fan of the Middle East and its rich culture. The work I’ll be including for this exhibition is cross-cultural and breaks all superficial barriers and stands for the same values as Dubai: justice, peace and human rights,” commented Fairey, expressing his excitement at the exhibit.

From silk-screened stickers to museum surveys, the trajectory of Shepard Fairey’s art has progressed from imagery you might find on a skateboard deck to his iconic image of Former U.S. President Barack Obama that hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC. 

Fairey began his journey as an artist in 1989, while at Rhode Island School of Design studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, Shepard Fairey created the “Andre the Giant has a Posse” sticker that later evolved into the all-encompassing OBEY GIANT brand. In 2008, his portrait of then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama became an internationally recognized emblem of hope. Since then, Fairey has hand painted more than 105 public murals, becoming one of the most sought-after artists globally, helping change the way people converse about art and view the urban landscape.

The Opera Gallery exhibition in Dubai features many new works that point toward Fairey’s development and includes classic imagery that has been refreshed and reflects on his history of image-making. Fairey’s rich use of pattern along with motifs influenced by a variety of cultures throughout history, including ornamentation and references to Middle Eastern and Arab symbology, come together harmoniously. 

Like Shepard Fairey’s formative sticker campaign in 1989, the importance of exhibiting and installing public works around the world allows for greater communication and engagement with concepts important to the artist. And while the artist has addressed many important issues pertaining to the Middle East, exhibiting and installing a public work in Dubai furthers this initial idea that began as an art student when he first placed his artwork in the public square.  

“I hope that people will get an understanding of my belief that we are world citizens and that we all have a lot in common. The principles of respect, fairness, and equality should be global traits and that art has a role in shaping people’s attitudes about these principles,” Fairey further added.

GO: Visit www.operagallery.com for more information.

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David Tapley - Editor
Dubai-based editor for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications across Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Specialised in food, hospitality, arts, culture, and travel-related content.

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