This article was first published by our friends at MIDDLE EAST NEWS 24/7
Dubai, UAE. Dubai Opera and British theatrical production company, Sisters Grimm present, ’50 FOR 50’, an immersive, multisensory exhibition featuring music and 50 landscape paintings of the UAE to commemorate its Golden Jubilee celebration, by Grammy-nominated composer and painter Ella Spira MBE, from the 29th November till 14th December.
50 For 50 stages an emotional, audiovisual journey and every painting has a unique bespoke score composed by Spira, in collaboration with Db Gad and Emirati singers, Shamma Hamdan and Don Abdullah. Their music was blended together with sounds from the natural world of creatures which are unique to the region including the calls of Arabian Collared Kingfisher and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Peacock, the soaring chorus of cicadas in the mountains in Kalba and the sounds of Arab horses in the sand and seas of Saadiyat Beach.
“This unique exhibitionis the culmination of Sisters Grimm’s experiences and discoveries across the UAE, with my paintings created in situ over the past 18 months and my music featuring sounds of Emirati life, which I was privileged to be invited to share with them” Ella Spira revealed. “The artworks are intended to draw awareness to the fragile environment and to inspire protection of the natural landscape. The series depicts the story of a land which has not only inspired unity and collaboration within its community but has also been dramatically transformed by industry,” she added.
50 For 50 hopes to leave a legacyhonouring the United Arab Emirates’ 50 years of formation, rich history, natural beauty and unique achievements. With the aim of showcasing a hidden side of the UAE, the exhibition will tour internationally following its premiere in Dubai, including to London and New York.
The 50 For 50 experience culminates with the world premiere screening of the Sisters Grimm film, ‘Daughters of the Wind Overture’, which features all 50 paintings sharing Dubai Opera’s Main Stage alongside former Royal Ballet ballerina Pietra De Mello-Pittman, co-founder of Sisters Grimm, and singers DB Gad (50 FOR 50 co-composer) and Madyan Hamza, singing in Arabic and English.
“We saw the global pandemic as an opportunity to pivot our production and since then we have been developing new and innovative ways to present our projects, which promote understanding and dialogue between cultures and communities,” Pietra De Mello-Pittman commented, recalling the early stages of the exhibition. “We came to the UAE in 2019 to develop a new Arab world show and ultimately curated 50 For 50 this year, which embodies all our aspirations. Our intention is to use our creativity to embrace different cultures and highlight the social issues we are all faced with through feel good experiences,” she added.
Sisters Grimm was founded by Ella Spira and Pietra De Mello-Pittman MBE in 2009, with the mission to produce work that is relevant, driven by equality and diversity and with social impact at its core. In 2019, the award-winning artists decided to reside between the UK and the UAE and set up their first international office in Dubai to immerse themselves in the Emirate’s culture.
Sisters Grimm has become renowned for shows which offer a unique and vibrant immersive experience, powered by an explosive fusion of live music, song, and dance. They have travelled the world working with collaborators from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in South Africa, world-renowned percussionists Olodumin in Brazil to Samurai warriors in Japan to tell new culturally themed and socially relevant stories.
Recognized as internationalists, the pair was recently awarded an MBE by HRH Prince Charles at Windsor Castle, for Services to International Trade and the Creative Industries. Spira and Mello-Pittman were honoured for a lifetime dedication to spotlighting and celebrating different cultures through art of the highest calibre and fostering cross-cultural understanding.
Ella Spira’s work includes award-winning, world-touring live musical theatre productions that have been featured at London’s Royal Variety Performance, Hampton Court Palace and Royal Albert Hall and performed in front of the Royal Family, as well as shows which have been acclaimed across the globe. She has also co-composed and produced world music videos with millions of YouTube hits as well as NFTs. Spira has already captured landscapes of countries including China, France, Indonesia, Brazil, Lapland, Albania, the UK, Russia and Portugal. Her Albania landscapes were recently presented to Prime Minister Edi Rama and included in Prof. Ferid Hudhri‘s Albanians in World Art Encyclopedia.