Creating the Community Wall with Ruben Sanchez

In the run up to our second annual festival, it's great to look back at all the opportunities that have been realised here in the UAE thanks to the work of so many great minds and artists from all over the world. These stories are what -ING is all about; bringing people together, and facilitating creations that might otherwise never have been. 

It was last February that, after over a year of anxious planning, preparations, and applications, the first major piece of street art of its kind became a reality for the city of Dubai.

The wall chosen for this project was a vast canvas stretching over 30 metres in length, and more than 15 metres in height, on the lakeside of a building in Jumeirah Lake Towers. On his commute to the office, Ramy would pass by the wall, which back then was almost completely bare other than a few basic graffiti scribbles, and “dreamed of seeing that wall as a piece of art”. 

So we began to tirelessly send applications to the JLT authority, DMCC, to gain permission to utilize the wall as a piece of art that would bring together the creative community of Dubai. After over a year of occasional emailing with the DMCC, the authorities decided that they would love to have the wall painted. Of course, we could think of no better creative mind to collaborate with for the project than Spanish graffiti artist based in Dubai and Ramy’s close friend, Rubén Sanchez. 

With Rubén on board, we began to work out what we would use the space and opportunity for - we got equipped for the task, and Rubén set to work planning the theme, colours, and design of the piece. 

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The Creative Community Wall stands in a city where street art is still scarce and new, and where nothing of this magnitude had been done before. That's why Rubén believed it was important that the piece pay homage to its backdrop, and so the story it tells is a bright and joyful Arabian love story made using a Cubist motif which fits perfectly with the city’s edgy look. 

It took Rubén 7 days to create the mural with a little help from a cherry picker crane, and during the course of the week over a thousand local residents, workers, tourists, and visitors came to watch as the spectacle unfolded.

Despite the challenges, and the frustrating wait on approvals, inspiration for creating one of Dubai’s only permanent outdoor murals finally became a reality. What's more, this collaborative work, which now brightens up city life in JLT, might stand as something which will, ­as we hoped,­ make it easier for street artists all over Dubai to create creative projects like this in the future. 

Once the wall was completed, the community had a little fun with it.

Join us this April 1st at the wall for Art, Live Music, and Food. Learn more here