Economics and weather maps make for very interesting art

Anna Seaman  |  November 19, 2014

Weather Map by Richard Allenby-Pratt. (Courtesy: Richard Allenby-Pratt and Safanad)

When an investment firm names themselves after the legendary steed that the Queen of Sheba gifted to King Solomon, they are already more interesting to me than most financial companies.

Then, by commissioning one of Dubai’s most prominent photographers to conceive and produce an artwork for their offices, Safanad got my attention.

This remarkable piece is Richard Allenby-Pratt’s creative interpretation of Safanad’s philosophy that a weather system is a metaphor for economic change.

Allenby-Pratt, who has had his photography exhibited in various UAE venues and whose Abandoned series from 2012 showed wild animals roaming across a post-apocalyptic Dubai, employed over 40 layers of satellite photography to the map of the world to achieve this image.

He took the meteorological patterns of tropical storms and tsunamis, seismic data, predominant wind direction and human development factors such as economic development, and settlement represented by light and layered them onto each other to create this composite image.

What I really like about it is that he has taken such concrete and scientific elements and abstracted them to the point of aesthetic beauty.

“It is digital art so it doesn’t have the organic fingerprints of an artist on it,” he says, “but I was trying to build something up that felt more akin to an abstract painting rather than a weather map.”

Weather Map was created to mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of Safanad as well as the opening of a new office in Gate Village, Dubai International Financial Centre.

“With an abundance of natural light in the conference rooms and reception area, we wanted to choose very special artwork that reflected not only the Safanad brand and our values, but also tied into our investment strategy and approach,” says Barbara Knight, spokesperson for the company. “Safanad was built to consistently preserve and grow wealth by effectively navigating today’s volatile, unpredictable and fast changing global economy. In conjunction with our Chief Investment Strategist Dr. John Rutledge, we employ a unique ‘Weathermap’ approach to identify investment strategies to take advantage of market return imbalances across the global markets.”