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The U.S. Mission to the UAE and American University of Sharjah to collaborate with artists to create a mural at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai
American University of Sharjah (AUS), with the support of the U.S. Mission to the UAE, has launched a major mural project at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in collaboration with UAE- and US-based emerging artists and designers. The mural, entitled Lettering Large, will explore traditional and new technologies represented in both English and Arabic modular typography.
With input from content creators and artists, the collaborative mural will draw inspiration from the USA Pavilion’s theme, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Future." The pavilion will showcase the freedoms and opportunities that built a dynamic and open society, paving the way for American innovation and prosperity. Building on that theme, artists and creators will develop a visually innovative mural that will delight visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Philip Frayne, U.S. Consul General and Acting Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion, said, “The U.S. Mission to the UAE is proud to support American University of Sharjah’s mural project at Expo 2020 Dubai. The mural will showcase the creativity of U.S. and UAE-based designers to promote our theme of ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Future.’ The mural partnership will deepen cultural and economic ties between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”
AUS Chancellor Professor Kevin Mitchell said, “American University of Sharjah is pleased to collaborate with the U.S. Mission to the UAE on an initiative that supports creative work. In addition to providing an opportunity to explore the role of typography in creating meaning within specific cultural contexts, this mural has the potential to demonstrate how works of art and design can be enriched by the exchange of ideas across cultures.”
Assistant Professor Riem Ibrahim, from the College of Architecture, Art and Design and the lead faculty member on the project, describes it as a celebration of diversity.
“The idea of combining both English and Arabic typographies speaks to the celebration of international diversity and Dubai as a host of Expo 2020. The designers will be invited to create a lenticular design, which means the appearance of the mural will change depending on your position, making it both visually appealing and interactive,” she said.
“Our team of faculty, staff, and students have considered every aspect of how this mural can address the themes of the USA Pavilion and continue to hold its meaning, even after the event is over. In order to ensure its legacy, the mural will be fabricated so it can be dismantled and divided into seven pieces, with one going to each of the UAE’s seven emirates,” said Ibrahim.
The mural will be assembled locally, and AUS faculty and staff will serve as creative consultants throughout the design process.
Once the mural has been constructed and unveiled at Expo 2020 Dubai, AUS will coordinate a series of workshops between artists and students to share their process and design. A publication will also be developed by AUS design students to document the process, selection, and fabrication of the mural.
The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the first global mega-event since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai will be a six-month celebration of culture, creativity, innovation and human progress. It will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
To follow the progress of the Lettering Large collaboration, follow @public-type on Instagram. For more information on the USA Pavilion, please visit www.usapavilion.org.