Interview: Meet Idriss B, The Man Behind The Tiger And Gorilla Statues That Soared Through Dubai’s Skies

Unless you’re in the know, last weekend saw scores of residents spotting a huge golden tiger sculpture and a grey gorilla statue being helicoptered through the JBR neighbourhood until landing at Address Dubai Marina hotel’s newest pool club and lounge, Wane by SoMiya. The incident sent social media into a spiral with a few guessing whether were those real animals and some old-timers joking it’s “another day in Dubai.”

Recently, we caught up with Idriss B, the artist behind the viral sculptures talking through his career in arts, his French upbringing, moving to the UAE, high-roller clients, his roadmap ahead and the huge heli-drop moment last weekend.

Idriss B tiger gorilla statue sculpture helicopter Dubai JBR wane by somiya viral artist french paris tunisia akon lindsay lohan

Photograph credit: Supplied

Hi Idriss! Tell us about your career in arts and poly-sculptures

Actually it has been just a year that I started to expose on my own name. My background is working with brands such as Dior, Moncler and doing their sculptures for the events and stores in the past 12 years.

Talk us through your Parisian upbringing and how did it inspire you to pursue a career in arts

Being born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, I was lucky to get access to a lot of history and culture of France with arts, within museums, buildings, places, etc.

Since I was born in the ‘80s, a lot of different cultures appeared and emerged into trends such as Hip-Hop, video games, Japanese cartoons, etc. All that made a lot of influence into my artistic profile which can be found today. For example, a lot of my sculptures are inspired by Disney’s names.

Idriss B tiger gorilla statue sculpture helicopter Dubai JBR wane by somiya viral artist french paris tunisia akon lindsay lohan

Photograph credit: Pixabay

How long ago did you move to the UAE and what’s your take on the country’s arts scene?

It’s been now almost a year since I moved to Dubai. I was really surprised not only with the number of Art events and culture, but I was even more surprised about how much people believe and understand how important it is.

Dubai in general is a well-known place for finance and tourism, but culture and art in general is as important if you think long term. There are so many things, including expos and workshops.

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Photograph credit: Dubai Media Office

One of the only things missing, is that sometimes you feel some events are done just to say they have done it, while it should be, in my opinion, especially for Art, more substance than the image.

Your tiger and gorilla artworks being helicoptered to Wane by SoMiya caught a lot of eyeballs recently. What’s the story behind the publicity stunt and did you expect the incident to go as viral as it tuned out to be?

Honestly, at no moment did I even think this would happen. When Wane By SoMiya asked about my giant pieces, i told them the only issue will be how to put it onto the poolside.

I was just focusing on finding a solution which we did finally after talking to We Shape Spaces (the company that managed the transport) and started to think, ok then what about helicopter, that might be easier and faster. Apart from crazy approvals, it should be “fine”.

We scrolled through your Instagram to find you’ve created a plethora of poly-sculptures including a falcon, a bear, an elephant, a bull and much more. Which artwork means the most to you?

Honestly, they all are my babies, so for each of them, I thought of select polygons, pose, feelings and emotions that they would represent.

Some of them have different meanings to me, because of the different period of time I made those, but there is no favourite. When I look at my bear, I like it because it reminds me of myself and the “Good life” as I write on its description, but then when I see the bull, I like the way I did the movement, and the falcon because it is such a spectacular piece and some of the best shots I received in front of the Atlantis.

Idriss B tiger gorilla statue sculpture helicopter Dubai JBR wane by somiya viral artist french paris tunisia akon lindsay lohan

Photograph credit: Supplied

So, as you can see, all of them got something special.

Tell us about your high-profile clients like Akon and Lindsay Lohan

Well honestly, it’s all about friends. I am lucky enough to have amazing friends that helped introduce me to Akon, Lindsay Lohan, as well as Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg, Nusr-Et, etc.

I believe every single piece I do represents a certain feeling, emotion which some of them recognise themselves into it. Then as every client can customise to his own colour, it means you got not only a very unique piece, but also that you like as you choose specific colours and a finish of it.

Lastly, what’s your roadmap ahead and are there any artworks you’re working on right now?

In the UAE, I would be at the World Art Dubai Expo from 8th-10th October at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which will also show a new collaboration with Valrhona, the best gastronomic chocolate brand in the World.

I’m also going to release a collaboration with watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, with a special animal for them and very soon having a full dinner set and exclusive sculpture for one of the best restaurants in Dubai, Ossiano at Atlantis.

Idriss B tiger gorilla statue sculpture helicopter Dubai JBR wane by somiya viral artist french paris tunisia akon lindsay lohan

Photograph credit: Ossiano Dubai

For the rest, I am waiting for the Covid-19 situation to go down and release my next expo at Park Avenue in New York City. I’m also now trying to get in touch with the city of Roma in Italy, as I have a specific animal I would like to work on an expo there.

To know more about Idriss B, visit his website or check out his Instagram for more of his artworks.

(Featured photograph credit: Supplied)

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