In her new show \'Memories - The Big Top\', which opens in Abu Dhabi tonight, British-Italian painter Melanie Stones, 25, explores the world of an animal-free circus, peopled by figures floating in surrealistic spaces and Caravaggio chiaroscuros. \'\'I usually don\'t follow a single theme when painting but lately I\'ve been fascinated by the vintage aspect of the circus, the nostalgia that emanates from its objects and protagonists,\'\' the artist told ANSAmed, adding that animals have no place in her artistic vision of the circus, as they should not in life. A Palermo native, Stones has lived in the United Arab Emirates for the past 20 years. Although she does not feel influenced by Arab and Islamic art, the modular geometries typical of Middle Eastern art do appear in many of her works. Stones was a finalist in the 2010 Sheikha Manal Art Competition.