As Abu Dhabi Art Fair showcases the Emirates’ artistic flair and creativity, IMKAN Properties is connecting community members through the power of art at Sheikha Fatima Park – a brand new vibrant and accessible public recreation and leisure destination in Abu Dhabi.
Set in the midst of the key community of Khalidiya Abu Dhabi, the former park that historically catered solely to women and children, has been repurposed into the Emirate’s first urban lifestyle park reimagined with one-of-a-kind offerings under an overarching theme of active wellness.
Designed to reflect the developer’s philosophy of ‘placemaking’ by adopting an innovative approach to revitalization, restoration and sustainability to the inner-city community, the space integrates park elements with new components and community-led activities to breathe new life into the neighbourhood.
A main feature of Sheikha Fatima Park, is its art murals around the five themes of ‘Spirit,’ ‘Journey,’ ‘Innovation, ‘Together’ and ‘Memory.’ Local artists collaborated with students at schools and universities in the vicinity to develop their pieces under these themes, with each artist and group of students designing to a theme based on IMKAN’s art strategy for the park.
The students involved in the collaboration process for the artworks include students of the American Community School, students of determination from Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education, operated by the New England Center for Children and undergraduates from New York University Abu Dhabi, New York Institute of Technology Abu Dhabi and Zayed University.
Sheikha Fatima Park’s Public Art Strategy and IMKAN’s criteria of the artworks aim to enhance the park’s array of zones and sections through the adoption of both conventional and unconventional art. By reframing and reflecting notions of what a park should be and how it should relate to visitors, the art murals are instrumental in creating a new environmental and cultural landscape in the heart of Abu Dhabi.
This direction aspires to recognise and enhance local identity and diverse cultures, support and increase engagement with local artistic and student communities and cultivate a creative aptitude amongst the members of the public.
Under the murals’ ‘Spirit’ theme, the students and artists took into consideration the vitality and character of the park as well as the distinctive spirit of the community and its people. On the theme ‘Journey’, they developed ideas of progression along a path that builds a new sense of community for a brighter future.
For the ‘Innovation’ theme, a new perspective of the traditional and conventional was to be considered, challenging the way a park should be constructed and interpreted, while under ‘Togetherness’, they were encouraged to create work that brings different members of the community together.
Finally, under the theme ‘Memory’, the students and artists contemplated the history behind the site, its importance to the community, and how the present and future are closely intertwined with the past.
“Sheikha Fatima Park is the latest development from IMKAN and has been conceived to create a vibrant community space that uses the power of art to connect residents and visitors,” said Luann Parker, Director of Investment & Strategy at IMKAN.
“It builds on what was originally the Khalidiya Ladies Park to envision a new urban green space that has creativity at its core and is accessible to all. With its public art murals now complete, visitors to the park can explore, engage and interact with a verdant recreation and meeting place that fashions a new urban lifestyle space through its myriad of art displays.
“Sheikha Fatima Park reflects the IMKAN ethos of ‘placemaking,’ which imbues all our developments and creates holistic living environments to stimulate the mind, body and soul. Its diverse landscape will be home to spaces that range from an urban edge providing retail and F&B offerings to events plazas, green activity areas and tranquil open lawns.
“Its family purposed areas will promote healthy lifestyle and leisure activities, with all the park’s individual elements designed blending together to provide a relaxing antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life,” she added.
In addition to the art murals, Sheikha Fatima Park has curated 10,000m2 of food and retail spaces with a variety of concepts, both new and popular, that visitors can experience across the park. Ten such outlets will open at the Sheikha Fatima Park this year with the balance to follow in early 2022.
Sheikha Fatima Park is located at the corner of Al Bateen Street and Zayed the First Street in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi. As the park is now open to public, the now complete art murals will add vibrancy to local identity and establish a cultural foundation for residents and visitors, thereby enhancing community cohesion.