Five affordable urban art trends


Five affordable urban art trends

From attention-grabbing graffiti to large-scale sculptures, we round up five urban art trends that won’t break the bank



1 Street art

Can graffiti ever be considered art? Absolutely. Look at Rome, Berlin, Melbourne and almost any other global city and you will find entire neighbourhoods revitalised with emotive and highly expressive spray paintings. Dubai is no different. Whether on car parks or metro lines, apartment buildings or shop fronts, in the last five years the emirate has witnessed an explosion of bold graffiti and playful murals in areas including Satwa, Jumeirah Beach Road, City Walk and La Mer. Now, street art is skyrocketing in popularity, becoming a top urban art trend both globally and in the UAE.

At this year’s World Art Dubai, watch Dubai-based street artist Dina Saadi paint live. Dina, who has worked with brands such as Apple, Instagram, Nike and Audi, will be joined by 10 other urban artists in the Vandalist Art Gallery.​

2 Neo-pop art

Madonna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Mohammed Ali. These global icons have all been the subject of neo-pop art in some form over the last four decades with artists drawing inspiration from mass media and mainstream popular culture. Neo-pop art is an evolution of the original pop art movement of the 1950s and ’60s in which artists rejected the idea that art was only for the elite and began communicating to the masses through references to celebrities and everyday objects – think Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup series and Marylin Monroe 29, the famous screenprint of the late Hollywood actress. Today, neo-pop art is experiencing a resurgence with bold statement-making prints appearing in galleries across the Middle East.

Several exhibitors at World Art Dubai will be showcasing excellent examples of affordable neo-pop art. In particular, Gallery 27, one of Dubai’s newest art galleries, and Re D’Italia Art are worth checking out.​

3 Sculptures

As the emirate has grown, so too has the number of sculptures within it. Stroll around Downtown Dubai and discover a 1.5 tonne bronze horse, a collection of 10 basalt figures and a pair of seven-metre-high white wings, designed to capture the imagination and spark conversation. In The Dubai Mall, there is also a series of fibreglass divers affixed to a four-storey waterfall, complementing the flow of water and creating a peaceful ambience in an otherwise busy retail destination.

More recently, and testament to the popularity of sculptures as an urban art form in Dubai, Wings of Mexico was unveiled in Burj Plaza close to the base of Burj Khalifa. Celebrating victory, dreams and human potential, the giant wings capture the city's soaring ambition and its bridge between cultures. In addition, French Tunisian sculptor Idriss B has displayed several of his limited-edition animal sculptures in the emirate throughout 2020. Using 3D printing technology to create the mould, he crafts his sculptures with resin and fibreglass. Ranging from AED10,000 to AED50,000, don’t miss these incredible pieces at World Art Dubai.

4 Motorbike art

Years ago, artists used to paint horse owners with their trusted four-legged friend. Today, there is an increasing trend for bikers to immortalise themselves on their modern-day ‘steel horse’, be that a Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, BMW or Ducati. But motorbike art isn’t limited solely to canvas paintings. It extends to bike tanks, road signs, metal sheets and even mechanics’ tools. Hand painted helmets are also big business with everything from roses to cartoon characters adorning either side. So popular is the headwear as an artform that the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane will showcase 15 painted biker helmets in its wider five month-long ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition from November.

Here in the UAE, discover fine examples of motorbike art at Casa De Maquinas, a collective of bikers, artists and skateboarders exhibiting at this year’s World Art Dubai. With pieces ranging from AED250 to AED800, these affordable artworks will add a dynamic twist to any home or creative space.

5 Wearable art

Wearable art has been around for decades. Emerging in the late 1960s and blossoming in the ’70s, it enables artists to express themselves through knitting, weaving, dyeing, sewing, pleating, felting and many other diverse techniques. Today, wearable art continues to expand, with an increasing number of shops, boutiques and even adventurous department stores selling customised, one-off pieces. It’s not just retailers who are embracing this art form. Museums are also recognising wearable art with exhibitions at institutions such as the American Craft Museum in New York, and wearable art courses added to curricula at top art colleges and universities, including the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Why not customise your own wardrobe with Craftology by Ella Elenzano-Orencillo at World Art Dubai? Ella will apply her distinctive pop-surrealism and vivid colours to shoes, bags, clothes and accessories, completely free of charge.


  • Arts & Culture
  • Dubai
  • DWTC