Art attack: Rehlatna Open Museum, Dubai

As is typical of one well into their forties (or so I’ve heard), the UAE has been taking small breathers to do a bit of life reassessment – y’know, focussing on finer details. For the UAE, that means a renewed focus on conservation, with the likes of Sir Bani Yas Island stepping further into the spotlight, and promoting what is a thriving local arts scene.

People may be surprised to learn that within the UAE’s creative collective is a burgeoning street art scene. But, where to see it if graffiti is *technically* illegal? Rehlatna Open Museum my friend.


You’ll find it along Jumeirah Beach Road, an open-air gallery comprising a continuous 2.245 km-long canvas with every inch covered by pictorial and calligraphic designs from some 150 artists who clearly know their way around a spray can – 0r 7,000, to be exact. Rehlatna (which translates to ‘our journey’ for those playing at home) was created for this year’s National Day and as such, depicts the history of the UAE from sand to skyscrapers, with a few badass-looking camels in between. A leaf seems to have also been taken from Neil Buchanan’s ’90s Art Attack instruction booklet, specifically the chapter (probably) titled ‘Making Larger-Than-Life Art’ – the wall is fashioned into the shape of the UAE itself. And before you ask, yes it did break the world record for longest graffiti scroll. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Also, you only have a few days left to see it – the exhibition ends December 31, 2014. Yalla, bro.