Meet the Dubai artist inviting you to iftar at Tiffany's

Dubai-based illustrator Tulip Hazbar has conjured up a universe that combines the upbeat energy of New York with the meaningful spirit of the Holy Month in the Middle East for Ramadan
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Meet the Dubai artist inviting you to iftar at Tiffany's

“ For me, Ramadan is a point of recalibration,” Syria-born, Dubai-based graphic designer and illustrator Tulip Hazbar tells Grazia. “Observing the different routines and rituals among family members and friends is always wonderful. I think it’s beautiful how Ramadan is a time to reflect and connect both within oneself and one’s community.”

 It’s the depth of Tulip’s understanding of the meaning of and the importance attributed to these very rituals and reflections – as well as her distinctive signature style – that made her the perfect choice to bring Tiffany & Co’s Ramadan vision to life in these three unique, lantern-strewn illustrations.

Tulip – and yes, that is her real name – reveals, “The series celebrates these moments and the sense of community in a similar manner to how Tiffany & Co. as a brand celebrates special moments in our lives. The main notion of these illustrations was to portray a Ramadan day in a dream landscape where New York and the Middle East meet in the spirit of Tiffany & Co. and the Holy Month.”

On the nuances we may have missed, Tulip reveals, “There was an emphasis on number three, as the month is broken down into three sets of 10 days that are considered stages; they signify mercy, forgiveness and safety.”

Explaining how this came into play in these illustrations, she continues, “I worked on a set of visuals that celebrates the three main points during a typical Ramadan day: suhoor; Maghrib [sunset prayer]; and iftar time.”

For the first illustration, Tulip dreamt up an “imaginary landscape that connects Fifth Avenue in New York with several cities from the Gulf at suhoor time.” This comes to life as the Flat Iron Building in New York is flanked by the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Burj Khalifa, The Kuwait Towers, and Zaha Hadid’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi. She observes, “This is a whimsical moment of every Ramadan night between the end of the night and the break of dawn, when Muslims wake up to have a quick, light meal before starting the day-long fast.” She adds, “Traditionally, in some cities of the Middle East a musaharati [Ramadan drummer] roams residential neighbourhoods to wake people up to have their suhoor.”

The next illustration brings together Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, Aldar HQ in Abu Dhabi, Burj Al Arab, and New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Tulip continues, “Then we get to the moment of Maghrib. Besides the magic that accompanies every sunset any day of the year, sunsets in Ramadan mark the time Muslims break their fast. Breaking the fast starts with a glass of water and dates.”

Lastly, the community iftar, set outside Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship needs no introduction. “It’s the moment family and friends get together to have the most important meal of the day and enjoy the Ramadan Night. Iftars are also an important chance for different communities to come together and share food, stories and experiences,” she reflects. “In these illustrations, it was fun to see how people kept finding elements that refer to specific places, pop-culture icons, typical Ramadan food or even characters they may recognise. I always seek to establish a connection between the work and viewers that allows them to create their own narrative.”

Illustrations: Tulip Hazbar  Photo: Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.