A friend put me on the spot once and asked me what it was that I liked so much about living in Dubai. They were shocked by the positive vibes I speak of so often, and how I feel like Dubai offers me the lifestyle of a megalopolis.
My initial reaction was to justify my statements by all the talent Dubai attracts. She looked puzzled but I was ready to elaborate. I am surrounded by entrepreneurs, artists, media people, writers, gallerists, marketing wizards and designers.
There is always an event in Dubai. These events have often been sponsored by the Dubai Duty Free in which my aunt, Anita Mehra, has been very active, eventually as a senior executive at the Dubai Civil Aviation. In doing so, she has paved the way for many charismatic career woman down the road. The Dubai Tennis Championships which she vanguarded have received such acclaim that Roger Federer has now made Dubai his residence.
Christies' two auctions a year aren't merely commercial events but true cultural ones for the UAE. They are incredibly well curated by a talented team that I am fortunate to be acquainted with. Sotheby's, which has events in London and Doha, often also showcases in Dubai, bringing the art and the expertise in healthy competition with Christie's.
I have a dear friend and former classmate that has created an art magazine which specializes in the Middle East. It has propulsed Middle Eastern Art as a dynamic phenomenon worldwide. His effort to bring masters, patrons, artists, galleries and educators together is evident and elegantly laid out in Canvas magazine.
Working in tandem are the Third Line Team, gallerists that have discovered cutting edge artists and have introduced us to them. I always enjoy their shows: Hayv Kehraman, Youssef Nabil and Hadjithomas were memorable ones! I believe that their Emirati artist, photographer Lamia Gargash has the signature perspective and style that offers an intimate view of the region. Her cousin and very close family friend, Maha Gargash is a novelist who has made the literary effort to convey the same intimate image of her region, in words.
I know two talented fashion designers that live in Dubai. One of them has skillfully cut the rich fabrics of Afghanistan and Central Asia into wearable, stylized, modern and most important personalized hand-made items for women and the house. Another design-artist I met in Dubai is very well versed in photography, installation, jewelery and clothing. With design at the base of everything she creates, she produces calligraphied jewellery or very psychadelic art.
In parallel are the entrepreneurs who have very successful businesses, either in cupcake bakeries or in the grooming industry. All across Dubai, they each offer a superior product and service and they never cease to impress me.
I think I have the talent to recognize this.