Amateur and professional artists bring light and colors to Abu Dhabi International Airport

Following the call for graphic design applications in June 2021, the Institut français in the UAE – the cultural department of the French Embassy, JCDecaux – the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide, Abu Dhabi Airports, and BB Media are pleased to congratulate the nine winners at Abu Dhabi International Airport.


Through this unique initiative, the partners wanted to emphasize and support cultural life in Abu Dhabi, by transforming Abu Dhabi International Airport into a first-of-its-kind open-air museum, using JCDecaux’s outdoor advertising billboards.


The public was asked to create state-of-the-art visuals answering the question: “How will we travel in the future?”.  The competition inspired many applicants from across the UAE. The nine laureates include three children (6-12 year old), three teenagers (12-18 year old) and three adults.


The nine winners are rewarded by the exhibition of their work of art on the 70 outdoor advertising billboards of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, one of the most iconic landmarks of the UAE’s capital, from 14 July until the end of August 2021. A ceremony was held today, 14 July, at the Abu Dhabi International Airport.


The selection board was composed of H.E Xavier Chatel, Ambassador of France to the UAE; Shareef Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports; Martin Sabbagh, Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux Middle East and Africa; and Abdun Najeeb, Managing Director of BB Media. The board also included three art experts: the Emirati artist Afra Al Dhaheri, the Dubai-based street-artist eL Seed; and Olivier Peyricot, designer at La Cité du Design (The City of Design) at Saint-Etienne, France.


Through this competition, the four partners encouraged the local creation and development of artistic skills. They also wanted to celebrate the UAE’s 50th anniversary and its longterm vision, by creating a major cultural event.


H.E Xavier Chatel, Ambassador of France to the UAE, declared: “I congratulate the winners, who have successfully managed to mobilize their artistic skills and use their imagination to create impressive artworks. As we celebrate France’s Bastille today, the beautiful ceremony has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the friendship between the UAE and France, and the importance that our two countries attach to culture, creation and innovation. I look forward to welcoming the artists this autumn for a second ceremony on the France Pavilion at Expo 2020, which will highlight these major themes.”


Francois Bourienne, Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented: “Abu Dhabi Airports has been delighted to enable this celebration of arts and culture inside the emirate’s foremost piece of aviation infrastructure: Abu Dhabi International Airport. At Abu Dhabi Airports, we consistently seek to provide a re-imagined airport experience, transforming travel for passengers using our facilities. We hope that the artistic installations both delight and inspire travelers using our airport facilities, continuing to demonstrate Abu Dhabi International Airport as one of the region’s leading airports.”


Martin Sabbagh, Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux Middle-East and Africa, declared: “JCDecaux is delighted to be part and initiator of the cultural initiative “Showcase your artwork at Abu Dhabi International Airportby making our advertising assets available for UAE artists and amateurs. This contest is perfectly in line with our mission as mobility and sustainability are two of the major themes of our innovation strategy. We are very excited to promote this world-premiere project with our partners, which transformed Abu Dhabi International Airport into an open-air museum for the local community.”  


The initiative will be launched on the occasion of the French National Day, which falls on 14 July, during which the 50th anniversary of the Emirati-French friendship will be celebrated. The winners will also exhibit their artwork on a specific event at the France Pavilion during Expo2020.


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