Dubai artist pays tribute to city’s desert with sand art for Burberry campaign

Nathaniel Alapide turned Dubai’s desert into a giant monogram for the British luxury fashion house Burberry. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 August 2020

Dubai artist pays tribute to city’s desert with sand art for Burberry campaign

DUBAI: We have all – at some point in our lives – used sand to create art, whether it be sand castles or heartwarming messages to our loved ones. 

But, drawing a massive monogram in the middle of the desert is definitely a showstopper. 

Dubai multidisciplinary artist Nathaniel Alapide has taken the art of sand drawing a step further, wowing us with his talent.

Alapide, who is originally from the Philippines, turned Dubai’s desert into a giant monogram for the British luxury fashion house Burberry.

The clips, shared on the brand’s Instagram page on Wednesday, showed the artist’s velvet-like sand creation of the label’s distinctive TB monogram sandwiched between the city’s dunes. 



#ephemeralart ephemeral.

A post shared by Nathaniel A. Alapide (@alapide_creator) on

When speaking to Arab News, Alapide said it took him almost a week to create the massive artwork that is located in Al Faqa desert, a village on the border of Dubai and the eastern region of Abu Dhabi.

To prevent the wind from destroying his work, the artist said he used crushed stones. 

“Because we were doing it out in the desert where it is open, we had to use a different material to create the logo,” said Alapide, who has previously worked with Nike and Honda. “So, what I used is the crushed gravel or crushed stone. It is heavier than sand, so even if there is strong wind it won’t be blown away. It stays there.”

To avoid the summer heat and humidity, Alapide, who has been living in the UAE for 17 years, works on his sand creations in the morning. 

“If it is summer, I will do the sand art really early in the morning. I will start sometimes at 5 a.m. until 7 or 8 a.m.” he said.

Before pursuing art as a full-time job four years ago, Alapide was an aquarium specialist. “I was working in an aquarium in Atlantis, The Palm. We were feeding sharks,” he said. 

He then chose to pursue his art as his career. “It started when I made a tribute for my grandmother. I created a massive drawing of a tree on the beach and that’s how it started. From there I found that the process is very therapeutic,”  he said.

The artist drew a massive tree to pay tribute to his grandmother. (Supplied)

You can often find his unique art by the beach at Dubai’s Rixos Premium JBR.

The self-taught artist has previously created huge sand works of Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, using just his bare hands. 

His technique, sand drawing, was first developed as a means of communication that served to connect the central and northern islands of Vanuatu where over 80 different language groups exist.

In addition to Alapide’s UAE desert creation, Burberry has also taken its 2020 summer campaign to China and Inner Mongolia. 

The fashion house shared clips of Burberry-branded sailboats and hot air balloons, which were also part of the campaign that highlights the inspiration of the collection of the outdoors.

Italian designer and chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci has managed to revamp the 164-year-old label when he joined the fashion house in 2018. Tisci restyled the Burberry’s typeface, introducing the TB monogram and brought an edginess to its classic British style.

Gerard Butler talks family and high-octane action films

Updated 30 September 2020

Gerard Butler talks family and high-octane action films

LOS ANGELES: Hollywood’s latest disaster movie offering, “Greenland,” sees humanity threatened by a comet on a collision course with Earth — Arab News sat down with stars Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin to find out more about the high-octane film.

While many disaster movies focus on experts in big-picture attempts to stop the disaster, “Greenland” keeps the stakes personal by following the Garrity family as they journey to find shelter before it’s too late.

“This story is so relatable because this guy, he’s not a Secret Service agent. He’s not a superhero,” Butler said of his character, John Garrity. “He’s just a dad and he’s not even a perfect dad.”

“Greenland” follows the Garrity family as they journey to find shelter before it’s too late. Supplied

As meteorites decimate cities and people give in to panic, the estranged Garrity family grows closer, mirroring Butler’s real-life relationships with his parents, who despite having not seen him in months due to COVID-19 restrictions, are still just as doting as ever. 

“It’s very sweet that they still care and you’re still their little boy,” Butler said, adding that he mined his relationship with his parents for insight on how to play a caring father. “That definitely helped me in the role, to play that father who will do anything in these trying times to try and protect his family in the midst of this craziness.”

The film was directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Supplied

And while their characters were growing closer, the actors formed a tight knit group as well. Co-star Morena Baccarin told Arab News that she coached and comforted the actor playing the family’s young son — Roger Dale Flloyd — and that she and Butler became good friends on set.

“There are days where you’re just so tired and you’re not in the mood or you don’t want to put yourself through the ringer emotionally,” Baccarin — who plays estranged wife Allison Garrity — said, adding “we just could check in with each other and be there for each other and that was really nice.”

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, the film has faced repeated delays in the US, but has already hit the big screens in some international markets — including Saudi Arabia and the UAE — where COVID-19 regulations have been amended.