Robot helps Artist paint murals @ Khaleej Times
by Sijin Gopinathan on October 22, 2018

Dubai — Whoever said robots were too rigid to do anything artistic should have been at Gitex to watch a robot and a human create an entire mural together.

The live mural by a robot and an artist, a first of its kind in the region, sure made heads turn in the Dubai Internet City pavilion at the Gitex Technology Week on Monday. It marked a creative partnership between human and machine, both working together to produce compelling artworks.

Curated by Dubai-based art and social impact platform The Ajala Project, in partnership with Uber UAE and Dubai Internet City, the activation featured five UAE-based artists of different nationalities who created the murals that highlighted nine major locations across Dubai. Aside from being Uber hotspots, the places depict the idea of mobility, technology, and how Dubai is becoming a centre for creativity and innovation.

Explaining the procedure, Hassan Adebayo Bello, founder of The Ajala Project, said: “The artists create a digital illustration that reimagines nine major hotspots in Dubai. We then feed in the artwork by the artist into the self-drawing robot that then draws the outline of the artwork on the canvas, which takes approximately 30 mins or less.”

“The robot and the artist work in parallel to complete each artwork, so the robot acts as an assistant of the artist. It takes between 30 minutes to three hours to produce the collaborated artwork between the robot and the artist,” Bello said.

The artists who were chosen to draw alongside the robot are Rami Afifi from Palestine; Sijin Gopinathan from India; Nori Elhami from Pakistani; Ahd Hany from Egypt; and Dina Sami from Dubai/NYC.

Sharing his experience of drawing with the robot, artist Sijin, who recreated an artwork showing a demystified Dubai Downtown, said: “Working with a robot is something I had never imagined before. It was really an awesome and a challenging experience for me, as of course it is a machine and goes quite fast. The robot kept on sketching but I needed to change my positions in between or I took breaks to drink water or just look around a bit. It was the speed of the robot that I found a bit hard to cope up with at certain levels.”

The Ajala Project empowers communities through art. They crowdfund for artists, creatives and charities through their events, exhibitions, projects and partnerships.

(Working with a robot) was really an awesome and a challenging experience for me, as of course it is a machine and goes quite fast.”

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