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Retro poster collection showcases life in Abu Dhabi



ShortList favourite Clare Napper returns with a retro poster collection dedicated to the capital.

We always look forward to new posters from Clare Napper. Her previous collection – yacht parties, salon time, Burj Khalifa et al – graced our cover way back in October and, for her third batch, she has turned her attention to Abu Dhabi. Focusing on the city’s iconic places, it is again an homage to travel posters from the 1920s and 30s – only this time with Ferraris and go-karts. They are being debuted at The Club, Mina Zayed, from June 7.

Why did you decide to focus on Abu Dhabi this time? Was there a clamour from the capital?
It was in response to numerous requests and ideas from Abu Dhabi residents, yes. I hope I’m not alone in saying this, but I was rather ashamed of knowing very little about the capital, which is just an hour down the road from where I’ve been living for the last nine years. Now that I don’t have a “proper” job, I thought it was about time I went exploring!

They seem a touch restrained. Have you gone respectful?
I’m always very respectful… of the fine line I tread doing this, at least! My first impression of the capital is that it is a lot more chilled and more reserved in character. Saying that, I was getting requests for “places” posters, which will always be a little less reflective than ones about the expat lifestyle. I’ll test the water with this first collection and then maybe next year start digging deeper.

What were your inspirations this time around? The same old scouring though travel poster collections and postcards?
Absolutely! There is such a wealth of material from that era and I still see daily gems that jump out at me, begging for their colours, compositions or sentiments to be a given a new, Middle Eastern life.

Are these all completely new pieces or have some of them been seen before?
I actually launched four of the new posters at The Mother of the Nation Festival on the Corniche back in April, and so far these have had a good response, especially “Grand Prix” and “Emirates Palace”. The rest I’ll be unveiling this week.

A lot of people might not know the “Volcano Fountain”… was that prompted by a friend?
It was indeed! The idea came from someone who had grown up here. After I started to investigate, I thought it would be a charming souvenir for those who had fond memories of the popular meeting spot. I also consulted with a man who is passionately campaigning to bring it back. It was lovely to see the reaction from locals at the Mother of the Nation Festival.

High Life Abu Dhabi
When: Between June 7-20
Where: The Club Gallery, The Club, Mina Zayed

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