Dubai: Explore France's way of living

A chance to explore France’s rich, engaging culture and interact with the artists at Sofitel Dubai Downtown's month-long exhibition

Viktoria Awana Ebode’s Mother and Son, with her artist of choice as Jord Hammond

Not all art’s in the galleries, much of it has now made its way to the hotel’s in the city, and one can savour varied forms of arts (performing arts included) over a cup of coffee, a bowl of spaghetti and more; as we did recently at the ongoing Regards de France, a multidimensional exhibition in collaboration with E.M.A. Agency, at Sofitel Dubai Downtown. As we walked into the hotel lobby, we were greeted by well paint brushes — the larger-than-life (if one may call them so!) installation by artist Quentin Desmit, a UAE-based plastic artist and sculptor, Quentin was raised between France, Belgium and England in the ’80s, where his interest in art bloomed. Speaking of the art installation at the lobby he mentioned how for this Fantasia Collection (sculpture in resin) he was keen to highlight the oil barrel as an element speaking of UAE’s history, richness, contributions and more when it comes to oil reserves. Not to miss is also his ‘Dancing Blue Brush’ another sculpture in resin in the lobby.


Virginie Ellis' L'Evanescente (acrylic print)

At the same level at the coffee shop, one comes face-to-face with the works of 11 female artists, collectively called Feminin Pluriel; their work is a blend of paintings, photographs, et al; each exploring and embodying the different facets of femininity in myriad fascinating ways. “This exhibition is the fruit of a wonderful encounter between artists, which gave birth to a desire to tell a story together — a story of women,” said the artists. Bianca Dolman’s Revelateur (acrylic print) with the bold words, Keep It Feminine, is a fun, bold graffiti-inspired work. Viktoria Awana Ebode’s striking work titled Mother and Son is one that caught our eyes foremost. She likes to travel and do digital photography and her artist of choice is Jord Hammond. Ceramicist Alison Ladegaillerie’s work, Dance in the Desert, a photograph of the sculpture, is inspired by nature; she is observant of movement and is keen to capture the curves in her work. This and more are on display at the La Patisserie Lounge. “To say a little, or say a lot. To express ourselves as women. In our intimacy or beyond, to bear witness to how we see and interpret feminity, taking into consideration our diversity,” is how the artists summed up their collaboration.

Quentin Desmit’s sculpture in resin

Meanwhile, at L’Apero restaurant at the hotel, one is invited to admire and absorb the works of Cathy Deniset — aptly titled, My Dubai Feelings, they depict her respect and appreciation for all simple kinds of life as palm trees, pets and cars; as the artists describe, “Dubai’s energy is so real, strong, crazy that it pushed me to get involved in a higher, quieter level of thinking. In the beginning, many projects were just pipes, stones and plastics; no later as incredible icons.” At the end of the month (October 24), families will get a chance to customise sneakers whilst enjoying a delectable afternoon tea during a special workshop with Julié Custom Art, the artists take inspiration from narrative and memory, embedding the nostalgic element of stories and memory in her work. The exhibition will draw to a close with an ‘Art de France’ presentation by the artists, live entertainment for the evening and more; thereby truly giving art enthusiasts a chance to explore the ‘art of living’ the French way i.e. ‘l’art de vivre’!

At Sofitel Dubai Downtown, until October 15


This piece was first published in Khaleej Times


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