Picasso and his grandson star in Dubai hotel exhibition

Sofitel Jumeirah Beach will host the photography exhibit which turns the lens on the art world's most famous names.

Neil Churchill October 17, 2016

Long gone are the days when an official art gallery in the snooty part of town was the only place to find a good exhibition. Hotels, restaurants, even corporate offices are now homes to art collections, sculptures and photographs.

Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach is the latest UAE hotel to embrace the idea with the hospitality chain’s global exhibit ‘REVEALED’ arriving in Dubai next week.

To be shown in the Middle East for the first time, from 27th October to 26th December, the international photography exhibit will feature some of the art world's greatest names – but not as you know them.

Rather than showcasing iconic pieces by the acclaimed artists themselves, the exhibit turns the lens around and captures the famous faces in their moments of work and quiet reflection. 

Among the prized names to be displayed include Salvador Dali, sitting in an animal exhibit in a Paris zoo; Jeff Koons, styling a BMW for the 24 Hours of Le Mans; Joan Miró, in his studio; Pierre Soulages, crouching over an on-going job; and Pablo Picasso, embracing his Dalmatian. 

Speaking of Picasso, the exhibit’s curator is in fact his grandson Olivier Widmaier Picasso, who hand-selected the photographs. “The exhibition features thirty photographs, thirty unique testimonies from Paris Match’s [a French magazine] extraordinary archives,” says Picasso junior, who will be in Dubai next week for the exhibit’s opening.

“I was given the opportunity to make the selection and to assist in the presentation, affording me another chance to try to understand the creative process, what happens between the hand and the canvas, the spirit and the place, the proof and the final print, the human and the divine”.

But REVEALED is not the only cause for artwork to have graced the Dubai hotel recently. Just last week, local street artist Fathima Mohiuddin – also known as Fats – finished her Red Bull Curates residency at the Sofitel, and unveiled the large-scale mural at its entrance. 

The Indian-Canadian artist used her signature style – bold, angular and abstract – to combine both traditional and modern elements of Dubai for the 10m x 10m artwork. Deira’s iconic clock, Emirates Towers, Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa are all blended into the frame, complemented by the desert and the sea.

'Fats' said the artwork is a “homage to Dubai, the place where I was born and raised.” She said that there’s a “certain kind of magic to painting on the street,” and being surrounded by a city’s people and noise “tells you about the soul of the place – about what really matters to the people there”. 

Two very good reasons to give the Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach a visit over the coming weeks. 

Main image, Cannes Festival 1956: J.GAROFALO/M.SIMON/PARISMATCH/SCOOP 
Pablo Picasso with his model Sylvette David: 
Salvador Dali prepares the staging for Venus: Tony SAULNIER/PARISMATCH/SCOOP