Hareth Al Bustani
Unesco is set to open the doors to this year’s European Heritage Days, with a series of exhibits by painter Sacha Jafri.
British artist Jafri, who lives in Dubai, made headlines in March when his travelling exhibition The Art Maze was inaugurated on top of the Burj Al Arab. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Unesco’s World Heritage Site programme, the collection included 30 oil and acrylic artworks, depicting 30 of the world’s most celebrated cultural landmarks.
He also previously produced the world’s largest painting in the ballroom of Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. Measuring at 1,800 square metres, it was sold for $62 million, with the proceeds handed to Dubai Cares, Unicef, Unesco and Global Gift Foundation.
And, between September 17 to 18, he brings an installation inspired by World Heritage Sites to Unesco’s main hall, encouraging visitors to explore, reflect and discuss the world’s cultural history.
Guests can also explore the famous garden designed in 1958 by Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi, which was donated to Unesco by the Japanese government. Considered a milestone in Noguchi’s career, the Garden of Peace and its courtyard feature a curious blend of modernist and traditional Japanese elements.
An art collection is also on hand, featuring works by great 20th century masters, including Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder among others. An augmented reality app has been developed specifically for the occasion, which also allows guests to view rarely seen works.
Meanwhile, photographer Yan Bighetti de Flogny will showcase a series of 100 works, spanning a panorama of World Heritage Sites — retracing his project, Al Safar, In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, produced with Unesco and National Geographic.
European Heritage Days will also screen the documentary series The Wonders of Unesco and host panels on the issues of endangered natural heritage, sustainable tourism and safeguarding heritage in war zones or after disasters. Children, meanwhile, can explore heritage in their own way; with a treasure hunt and construction workshop.
Unesco is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Established in 1945, it seeks to establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture.