(Saju Nair - Dubai) The dark clouds of uncertainty that were once created due to the pandemic have slowly begun to fade in The United Arab Emirates. Because of the timely decisions implemented by the authorities, we have managed to achieve recovery in a very limited time frame and the vaccination drive continues to progress rapidly with an aim to vaccinate the entire population of UAE. Stringent measures that were implemented to counter the massive spread of the biggest health crisis of the century are now being gradually relaxed as the society has successfully joined hands to bring down the curve substantially. We, TV2 congratulate and applaud the great efforts by the government and the residents of UAE for utilizing the benefits of modern technology effectively to counter and resist the spread of the virus. By maintaining transparency and adhering to the set protocols, society has started recovering from the damage left by the pandemic and business are back with a new definition of normalcy. The restrictions that were implemented has helped in creating a safe and healthy environment for the citizens of the nation. 

Artworks exhibited @ 'BABA'

The art industry in UAE has always been innovative in dealing with obstacles and challenges that come along the way. Before the pandemic, the galleries in the UAE were continually engaged in organizing regular events related to art. Galleries, Hotels, Public places, corporate offices, indoor stadiums etc. were the venues chosen by many to host art-related events and they were always greeted with increasing enthusiasm and energy. Unfortunately, due to the intrusion of COVID, all of these physical events had to be put on hold or even cancelled to avoid large gatherings to ensure a safer environment. These unfortunate scenarios were successfully dealt with by the galleries by introducing the concept of virtual events. Just as with any other obstacle, the art community started searching for possible paths to keep the art life alive and they successfully achieved this by utilizing modern technology. Exhibitions, Art Talks, Workshops, Live Paintings and many such art-related activities overtook the cyberspace gifting an amazing experience to the community from all across the globe. The increasing number of professionally curated virtual events witnessed a massive acceptance globally, consequently attracting artists from various parts of the world to participate in these exhibitions. These events quickly grabbed local and international media attention due to the sheer creativity and togetherness displayed by the community in The United Arab Emirates.

Artworks exhibited @ 'BABA'

Now the scenario is changing once again and the art industry is slowly returning to normal. Even though virtual events continue to be popular, we are witnessing the start of onsite gatherings which is a huge step forward. Funun Arts, one of the leading galleries in UAE has joined hands with Novotel, Trade Center to organize an event to commemorate Father's Day. 13 artists have responded to the call by Funun to express their love and affection towards the assigned theme. I believe that we all agree to the fact that a single day is not enough to thank our fathers. They are less expressive but we all know that deep down, their emotions are incredibly strong. When we move on to the next phase of our lives, we begin to think about how our fathers molded us into who we are today. Every step we take, every action we make, every word we speak, every laugh, every smile is cherished by our fathers. He held our hands when we took our first steps, he wiped our tears and made us laugh, countless memories that will forever be appreciated by us. Each moment of our life is filled with blissful moments and we always take pride in saying 'My Dad is the Strongest'. Hence the announcement by Funun Arts for an event to celebrate fatherhood was well received by the art fraternity. Due to the cautious approach of the organizers to limit the participation and to limit the gathering as per the set guidelines the curators were forced to select only a very few from the entry requests they received.

Artworks exhibited @ 'BABA'

The official opening of this art exhibition titled 'BABA' ('BABA' is a Hindi word which translates to 'Father' in English) took place on 17th June 2021 at Novotel World Trade Centre, Dubai, and the exhibition will be open to the public until 30th June 2021. The event was scheduled to be inaugurated by Mr. Khalil Abdul Wahid, Director of Fine Arts Department, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai, unfortunately, due to some personal reasons, Mr. Khalil could not attend the event however he conveyed his best wishes to all the participating artists and the curators. The evening at Novotel was inaugurated by Mr. Faisal Abdulqader - Eminent Emirati artist in the presence of Ms. Sonia Majeed - Celebrity Artist, Global peace ambassador and Global Good Will Ambassador, Mr. Peter Gressmann - Art critic, Art dealer, Curator and founder of artforumuae, Ms. Purva Grover - Author and renowned journalist, Mr. Ahmed Al Awadhi - Eminent Emirati artist and Entrepreneur, Mr. Anjini Prakash Laithu - Veteran Indian Artist and other invited guests, visitors and artists.

26 astonishing artworks created by 13 amazingly talented artists on the theme of Father's Day occupied the sumptuous exhibition venue at Novotel. Each participating artist had an elaborate story to tell about their works and listening to them speak with so much passion and appreciation was indeed incredible. The artworks displayed were representations of the artists' emotions, they expressed love, compassion, respect and appreciation towards the motivating force that leads their life by example - 'Father'. The gathering was touched by the way the artists narrated certain special moments in their lives, it created a sense of togetherness amongst all those who were present. Eminent Emirati artist Mr. Ahmed Al Awadhi expressed his love and affection for the theme by exhibiting his latest portraiture of Mahatma Gandhi - Father of Nation (India) and Dalai Lama - Father of Humanity. These beautiful artworks were created in the signature style of the artist which is Pop art and it received immense appreciation from the art community.

Ahmed Al Awadhi, Amal Mirajkar, Anjini Prakash Laitu, Antara Saha, Avanthi Biju Panicker, Canan Nilsson, Deepika Devan, Farah Khan, Huda Kidwai, Nahla Bou Ajram, Noor Haidri Nazar, Sherine Elsabban and Shiba Khan presented their artworks in the grand ambiance of Novotel.

Ms. Shiba Khan - Artist, Art Activist and Founder of Funun Arts and curator of this show shared memories about her father during the opening address who had passed on 19 years back. "The motive behind this exhibition is to express our gratitude and love towards the man who taught us to walk into this beautiful world. A father is the most important member of the family and his love for his children is like oxygen, necessary for our survival. There's nothing too big that he could not do for his family and there's no sacrifice that he would not give. Every little thing he does makes him great!! Every day is Father's Day and our father passed away 19 years back but his teachings and his voice still echoes in our heart and soul." says Ms. Shiba Khan.

Ms. Farah khan, a photographer, food blogger and creative designer of Funun arts said "A father has that unfathomable energy and unconditional love in his heart that compels every child to keep following him in the hope of learning a new thing every time. The patience and perseverance he has to make everything possible in his children's life is quite a thing that makes him a superhero in his children's eyes. It's sometimes perplexing to understand from where he draws such energy to make his children look at the positive aspect of every situation they may be in."

An art talk was also conducted by the curators before the formal opening of the exhibition. Ms. Purva Grover, renowned journalist took the center stage to share her views in an interactive session on the subject 'How to describe your art Journey'. This interesting session was rich with participation and it was required to shed some light on some of the most relevant questions that an artist will face in their art career. "I thoroughly enjoyed hosting a writing workshop/talk with the artists. It not only served as a window for me to understand their work, but also a platform for them to be able to share their journey as an artist. We played games and learnt about the tools of writing. Funun Arts did a great job at bringing all of us together and gave us a chance to celebrate all that our Dads do for us. You are never too old to tell your dad how much you love him!" Says Ms. Purva Grover

Amal Mirajkar, a 16-year student surprised the art world with her stunning creation at this exhibition. Even though she is an emerging artist, her artworks show great maturity and takes the viewers in a series of emotions of love, care and compassion. The beauty of the artworks proliferated manifold when the artist herself described the story behind her creation. "My work resonates with my thoughts on life, its wins and challenges. My paintings brings out my passion for nature and positive thinking to motivate people into looking at the future more positively and admiring the beauty that lies within and around each one of us. My father's name is Mr. Nasir Mirajkar, Owner of Mirajkar Trading Co LLC, Dubai. He has always believed in me, encouraged my dreams and gave me wings to fly. Through the artwork BTS, I have shown father's hands as an Avenger, his unexpressed love, his care and protection. Our father is our key to Jannah. The most potent moral force in a child's life is the life of a father who stood behind the child is shown through the hands of the child. All his hardship, love and blessings turn out as gold. Through the painting 'Riding the Waves', I have shown Allah has given us a Father who is like the ocean protecting us as the ocean protects its creatures. Never give up, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn this is a surrealism art that has both eagle and wave. The ocean is a symbol of power, strength, life, hope and truth. Eagle signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride. A smile on my face brings a smile on his face." Says Ms. Amal

It only seems fitting to conclude this report with a memorable quote by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam - Former President of India "If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the Father, the Mother and the Teacher." These meaningful words articulated by one of the most acceptable statesman perfectly summarizes the love, strength and resilience of a Father.

I, Saju Nair along with the founder of TV2, Ms. Alessandra Giorda congratulate Ms. Shiba Khan, Ms. Farah Khan and all participating artists for conducting such a beautiful art gathering and we tender all our best wishes for all their future events.

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