The Art of racing kicks off live in Abu Dhabi

The Art of racing kicks off live in Abu Dhabi

Visitors at Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall were today treated to a sneak preview of the 2009 Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a special live art display on a full size replica F1™ car.

Today’s activity is one of five events where life-size F1™ replica cars will be painted by local artists as part of Yasalam’s series of exhibitions called The Art of Racing. Yasalam is the city’s dynamic programme of F1™-related events and entertainment, created to bring the entire community together celebrating the UAE’s biggest sporting event.


The Art of Racing creates a fusion between motorsport and art, showcasing the country’s finest artistic talent in public locations across Abu Dhabi in the lead up to the race on November 1, 2009. Further live Art of Racing painting performances are planned for Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi Airport, and Zayed University, which is for students only. Each artist will reflect ‘What the 2009 Etihad Airways Formula 1™ Abu Dhabi Grand Prix means to the UAE’.



Renowned local artist, Wasel Safwan, is painting the F1™ car body shell directly outside the Ferrari merchandise shop in Marina Mall between 4pm and 8pm from Friday October 2 to Monday October 5, 2009. The stunning finished car will remain in place for all to see until Monday, November 2, 2009, the day after the inaugural F1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The award-winning local artist has pioneered his unique style of ‘UAEism’, a contemporary art genre developed and inspired by the multi-cultural community of the UAE and the art the country has produced over time. Safwan’s bright and colourful UAE influenced artwork is the first of four impressive replica cars to be painted across the city as part of the build-up to the race on November 1, 2009.


Wasel believes modern art connects the past with the future. He says: “I have painted on many different shapes in my life, but this is my first time designing the body shell of an F1 car and I’m excited and happy to be doing this here in Abu Dhabi. I truly believe that hosting this spectacular event bodes well for Abu Dhabi’s future prospects.


“Spectators will definitely enjoy the action, as I move around the car to create different shapes and colors for everyone’s enjoyment. Abu Dhabi likes to be at the forefront of sport and cultural activity and now, thanks to the vision of His Highness Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we have the world’s top motorsport event.”


Katja Heim, CEO of KHP Consulting, the company responsible for organising The Art of Racing, said: “We specialise in capturing the spirit of the sport and bringing its very essence to the people who matter the most, the fans. We do this with community engagement activities such as The Art of Racing, an initiative designed as part of the Yasalam programme to entertain the people of Abu Dhabi and the region. It’s important for everyone to understand, embrace and be proud of hosting an F1 Grand Prix and that everyone shares in the excitement of this new event for the country. Talented artists, such as Wasel, who are transforming these body shells are a real highlight of the events planned in the build up to the race.”


John Lickrish, Flash Entertainment’s managing director, adds: “Flash is proud to be delivering this exciting initiative together with KHP Consulting. The customisation of Formula 1™ replica cars by renowned Emirati artists epitomises our motivation behind Yasalam- to bring the spirit of racing to the people of Abu Dhabi in celebration of our capital playing host to the 2009 Formula 1TM, Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”