Middleeast

Dubai's Banksy-set

Updated 9:32 PM ET, Wed January 8, 2014
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Ruben Sanchez Dubai graffiti artistRuben Sanchez Dubai graffiti artist
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Graffiti art in Dubai is experiencing a kind of explosion. Spanish street artist Ruben Sanchez came to they city as part of Tashkeel's artist residency program. He has striven to add color to the city with his Cubist-style murals. Courtesy Ruben Sanchez
While street artists rarely ask for permission in other cities, in Dubai, it's par for the course. Sanchez has been getting approval from the local government and property owners before crafting his murals. Courtesy Ruben Sanchez
Sanchez's works in Dubai mix the Cubist influences of his home land, and icons of the local landscape (here, for instance, he mimics the tiled mosaics popular in Arabian architecture). Courtesy Ruben Sanchez
In this tag, he depicts a coconut, a popular beverage in the city. Courtesy Ruben Sanchez
Spurred on by local artists, some of the world's most prominent graffiti writers have made guest appearances. American artist David Choe -- best known perhaps for painting the Facebook offices -- collaborated with Sanchez on one of his murals. Courtesy of Ruben Sanchez.
Many businesses in Dubai are incorporating graffiti art into their design. Sanchez painted the ceiling of local cafe, Urban Bistro. Courtesy Ruben Sanchez
Husband-and-wife duo Steffi Bow and Sya One have become staples in the city's commercial graffiti scene. Recently, the couple were commissioned to paint the car park of Dubai's Media One Hotel, where there is a quarterly club night. Couresy Steffi Bow and Sya One
The duo are known as the Graffiti Lovers, and often work in tandem. Couresy Steffi Bow
They are also part of a larger crew called Deep Crates Cartel. One of the members, Melan Choly, was commissioned to do a piece on the Marina Walk for UAE National Day. Courtesy Steffi Bow and Sya One
Bow and One have set up a graffiti wall in their garden. It has become a bit of a tourist attraction -- especially for visiting graffiti artists. Courtesy Steffi Bow and Sya One
Street artist Arcadia Blank is one of the city's few 'unsanctioned' writers. His work often examines the city's social and cultural landscape. Here, he scrawled "We are the dream makers" on a scaffolding in a neighborhood dominated by Dubai's migrant workers. Courtesy Arcadia Blank
Blank tends to target temporary architecture in the city, which he tags with social commentary and philosophical missives. Courtesy Arcadia Blan
Though unsanctioned, Blank draws mainly positive feedback from the community, and other street artists. Courtesy Arcadia Blank
Like Blank, Dubai graffiti artist 8, aka Queen Sheba, prefers to keep his/her identity a secret. "I do not try or want to make any big statements with my work," says Sheba. Courtesy 8, aka Queen Sheba
"I like the idea of little discoveries which makes one wonder or smile," says Sheba. In this stencil, Sheba has quoted the Persian poet Rumi. Courtesy of 8, aka Queen Sheba
Sheba works quickly with stencils to avoid getting caught. "Doing things in a short time is very important here, so keeping things simple and fast is the key." Courtesy 8, aka Queen Sheba