Meet the Wild Arab West (WAW); a concept created by two Emiratis, Hessa Alechla and Iman Al Midfa, to highlight the fusion between Eastern and Western cultures. The idea started off on the Social Media platform, Instagram, where it showcased posts that touched upon terms, situations, and artistic expressions that combined both Khaleeji and Western elements. These posts focused on the importance of highlighting historical events that took place within the Arab world and rare vintage photos to further gauge the interest of their followers. In addition, their content, which used an array of relatable comedic devices, increased their shareability and follower count on.
Over the course of only 4 months, the account gained massive popularity within the region and currently has over 13,000 followers. One of their signature and crowd favorite posts is their WAW Dictionary Series that highlights various Khaleeji words and is defined in English with an Arab pop culture flair. As a result of this popularity, the duo used this as an opportunity to showcase the infamous WAW Dictionary Series in Dubai’s iconic Dubai Design District (D3). The English pronunciation of these words is also included as part of this showcase to allow non-Arabic speaking visitors to also enjoy the art as well as provide a cultural learning experience for all nationalities.
The WAW team also used the exhibition as an opportunity to collaborate with and showcase the artwork of celebrated Emirati artist and designer, Ahmed Almahri. Ahmed is a graphic designer who specializes in collage, pop art, street art (particularly Arabic calligraffiti), and stencil art. In addition to participating in many exhibitions in the UAE and abroad, he was also part of a team of artists that helped design the UAE Nation Brand, a logo that will be used to represent the country’s developmental journey for the next 50 years.
A selection of his designs are displayed at the exhibition, and shares with the conceptual backdrop of WAW, an element of merging Eastern and Western cultures through the combination of iconic figures, celebrities, and characters from both cultures into a single aesthetic art piece.
The Dubai Design District exhibition will be running until September 30th between buildings 6 and 7. To learn more about the exhibition, visit Wild Arab West's Instagram account here and Ahmed Almahri's Instagram account here.
Words: Wild Arab West (Hessa Alechla and Iman Al Midfa)
Images: Courtesy of Wild Arab West Team