Using inscriptions from ancient Islamic civilisation, Muna Al Khaja’s artwork, painted upon a door acts as a metaphor for a celebration of the past. On the door, Al Khaja has painted symbols of Islamic architecture such as mashrabiya, the wooden latticework often used for privacy and ornamentation in traditional houses. By doing so, she is paying tribute to the past. Simultaneously however, she has used a modern and vibrant colour palette inspired by the natural environment of Hatta, the picturesque village in the Hajar Mountains that is currently home to the inaugural edition of Hatta Cultural Nights. With a particular focus on Emirati handicrafts and folklore, the cultural event seeks to uphold traditions and pass them on to future generations through a series of activities. Al Khaja is one of many artists selected to decorate five doors for the Gallery of Antique Doors exhibition at Hatta Cultural Nights. She was inspired by the rich heritage of the region to create her stunning designs.
Another artist in the exhibition is Mourhaf Abughegeh whose painting is inspired by a photo of his father in old Aleppo in Syria in the 1980s. It depicts another entrance, a stone window and is drawn with great detail on the traditional door of the UAE, which is where the artist grew up. In this way, it is a symbol for the bridge between the past and the present, which is what this exhibition embodies.
The painting by the artist Hassan Zeineddine is full of life and romance. In it, he mixes Arabic lettering with Islamic decorations in a contemporary form, evoking the spirit of the Islamic civilization yet the spirit of modern Dubai. The colour choice as well as the stylistic format reflects the artist’s inspiration and his passion, which fuses Emirati heritage with a modern approach.
Kateryna Tsebro has used a specialised drawing technique that gives the painting a transparent effect so that it appears that the viewer is looking through glass. In the Gallery of Antique Doors, the paintings are on both the front and back sides of the doors allowing the viewer to traverse around the object and engage in a feeling of passing through time and across decades to appreciate old and new.
Amalia haji Salmin sees the door as a symbol for enlightenment and self-discovery. She has painted images that represent new life and the journey of motherhood. In the same way that a door is a metaphor for a period of transition, this artist has chosen to talk about her personal experiences in light of the human condition, so that as many people as possible can connect with her work.
The programme of Hatta Cultural Nights features festive events and activities that are designed to introduce the community to the cultural fabric of Dubai and highlight the richness and values it embodies in all its towns and villages. Other artists taking place in the doors exhibition are Rashid Almulla, Abdulrahim Salem, Meera Abdulrahim Salem, and Deyaaeldin Allam. The entire exhibition is also a celebration of the multicultural nature of the UAE.