Dubai, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, has a new claim to fame. A mural depicting a mental map of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, known as the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, has received recognition from the Guinness World Records, which has declared it the largest artwork of its kind in the world.
A project of the Ministry of Interior’s Innovation Center, the mural maps the late ruler’s outsize legacy in the region, beginning in 1971, when the U.A.E. gained independence from Britain. Commemoration of Sheikh Zayed’s role in the formation of the federation has been a centerpiece of its ongoing golden jubilee.
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“The Guinness committee delivered the certificate to the MoI Undersecretary Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, last Tuesday evening, at the Police Academy square, where the extraordinary mural stands,” the U.A.E. Ministry of Interior wrote on Instagram.
With a tourist-based economy and a growing expatriate population, Dubai can now lay claim to 339 world records, including the world’s largest airport terminal, shopping mall, indoor ski resort, and greatest number of diamonds on a perfume bottle. Like the capital Abu Dhabi, Dubai has experienced quick globalization over the last 20 years and has increasingly worked to position itself as an international arts hub.
Art Dubai, which opened in 2006, is now complimented by a gallery ecosystem spread between the glitzy International Financial Center and the hip industrial district Al Quoz. Several local galleries, including Green Art Gallery and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, have made debuts at global showcases like Art Basel, while regional venues seeking refuge from political instability, such as the Damascus-based Ayyam Gallery, have opened outposts around Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz.