Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Racing of the Dhows
|Title||Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Racing of the Dhows|
Atelier WOCS, Robert Topulos
145 by 100cm.,57 by 39 in.
Signed and dated
The traditional dhow dates back to the days of pearl diving, with the vessels playing an integral part in the development of Dubai as an international trading port. Seeing the large 60ft dhows sailing majestically across the waters in the sunshine as part of the race is an unforgettable sight.
A highlight of Dubai's event calendar, the Al Gaffal Dhow Race is a long-distance sailing competitions that takes place in the spring in Dubai. Held since 1991, the race was established to honour the nation's maritime heritage. Many Emirati families trace their roots to the pearl trade with ancestors who were divers, dhow captains or pearl merchants, and the event celebrates their history.
In a city that is home to over 200 nationalities, it is rare to find an event reserved almost exclusively for locals. The fact that every crew member in the Al Gaffal Dhow Race must be an Emirati makes it a truly special event. This celebration of culture is also supported by royalty: His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Finance Minister and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, is the race's patron.
The dhows follow a historical route, showing off some of the most impressive parts of the Dubai coastline. Starting at Sir Bu Nair Island, the race heads east for 23 nautical miles to a mandatory checkpoint at Moon Island, before turning southeast to the finish line at the Burj Al Arab hotel. This happens to be the same route taken by pearl divers returning from long trips at sea.
The term Al Gaffal translates from Arabic as 'the return'. The artwork's harmonious blend of blue, white, and brown tones evokes the vastness of the ocean, the purity of the sails, and the warmth of the wooden hulls. Each brushstroke captures the subtle variations of blue, infusing the waves with movement and vitality.