Artificial islands, elegant sky-scrapers, bountiful parks – this is what Jurgita Gerlikaite finds inspiring. When the Lithuanian artist first visited Dubai one-and-a-half years ago, she immediately decided to stay.
“Dubai is a city of ideas,” she says. During the past few months, Ms. Gerlikaite created a series of fine art images and texts reflecting her perception of the city.
“Dubai started with the vision of building a contemporary, modern city in a desert, prosperous and beautiful,” Ms. Gerlikaite says. “It is a city that attracts people from all over the world, willing to create their future.” This is what fascinates the artist.
Having spent most of her life in Europe, Ms. Gerlikaite wanted to explore something new – something she had never experienced before: a city like Dubai, where cultures, traditions and lifestyles mix and merge into something completely different.
Reflecting on the differences to the cities of Vilnius, Reykjavik and Copenhagen, where she studied Art History and Theory as well as Printmaking and Graphic art, Ms. Gerlikaite says: “In Europe, it is easy to trace the different yet coherent styles of Christian and European architecture. Just walking around any city in Europe, you discover art that is mainly figurative and personal.”
In Dubai, the artist feels inspired by “brave ideas that can come to life and people’s efforts to create an enjoyable, beautiful environment in a desert.”
Looking back, she says: “I came here because I was curious and interested to see what Dubai was really about. I was seeking new ideas and inspiration here.” In her images of the series “36 views of Dubai” Ms. Gerlikaite incorporates aesthetic experiences from both Europe and the Middle East.
If she is not working in her studio in Jumeirah, Ms. Gerlikaite seeks inspiration in the city. “I enjoy visiting the musical fountain at the foot of Burj Khalifa, and recently, I went cycling in the Arabian Ranches community,” she says. “I have always loved architecture, the desert, sea shores – and I love sitting in the park, admiring Emirates Towers or walking along the passages in order to see the exhibitions at the art galleries there.”
The member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society describes Dubai’s art scene as “vibrant and interesting to observe.” But working as an artist in a city like Dubai is not always easy, she admits. Asked about her greatest success in Dubai, she replies: “Not giving up or running away whenever I felt lonely being all by myself in a foreign country.”
Ms. Gerlikaite’s works bears traces of her Dubai experience. “Dubai is reflected in my art in every aspect,” she says. At the same time, it gave her ideas for future projects. After “36 views of Dubai” Ms. Gerlikaite is planning to create “36 views of Vilnius,” her home city in Lithuania.
(Anne Allmeling, a contributor to Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)