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Want to attract shoppers? Try virtual Van Gogh

Tourists and residents in Dubai will soon be able to step into his masterpieces projected on to walls and floors in an immersive experience

Visitors look at projected paintings and drawings at the Van Gogh exhibit produced by Culturespaces and directed by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, (AFP)

Shoppers and art lovers will soon be able to step into Van Gogh masterpieces projected on to walls and floors in an immersive experience in a Dubai shopping centre.

The installation by French firm Culturespaces is reminiscent of "Loving Vincent", the 2017 drama chronicling the life of the Dutch post-impressionist, in which moving images were created using frames painted on canvas.

The exhibition, which will showcase digital displays of works from the Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Remy collection and others including Irises, opens on 1 July and will run until mid next year.

Also read: A new popular luxury travel mode: yacht

"Our mission is to make art accessible to all and to be able to share this new way of discovering art with as many people as possible," Catherine Oriol, director of Infinity Des Lumieres at Dubai Mall, told AFP as a pianist played nearby.

The exhibition is in the mould of the Atelier des Lumieres in Paris, where classic works are shown alongside complementary sound and visual displays.

The Dubai Mall exhibition seeks to "connect visitors directly to the art", Oriol said.

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One of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has in recent years become a global hub for tourism and luxury services.

It has sought to remain open to overseas visitors even as the coronavirus pandemic has hammered international travel.

"We hope in the future that we will be able to create new exhibitions related to the region, (such as) calligraphy and poetry," said Oriol.

After an initially strict lockdown, life in the Gulf emirate, one of the first destinations to once again welcome visitors in July last year, has largely returned to normality, with restaurants, hotels and beaches open to the public.

It is set to host the six-month World Expo opening in October, after it was delayed by a year owing to the pandemic.

Culturespaces has opened a number of digital art exhibitions around the world, including in France and South Korea, and is scheduled to launch another in New York next year.

Dubai, meanwhile, has made a new mode of travel popular amid the pandemic, yachts. Charter companies in Dubai are seeing an increased interest in yachting among tourists and residents.

Dozens of white yachts are seen every day zipping through the emirate's bays, canals and islands, while others are docked along the coast in Gulf waters overlooking the skyline of high-rise towers.

Some residents and tourists are fearful of overseas travel, and wary of crowded places where the risk of catching covid-19 is higher.

For those who can afford the price tag, yachts are seen as a safer bet.

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