happy tension day

kylie tension . 2023

i've been taking a break from posting things online and avoiding social media. i wanted to stay away longer, but there's only one thing that can pull me back in, and that is my favourite pop star in the world – kylie minogue.
happy tension day! kylie's 16th studio album 'tension' is officially out today, and i thought i'd commemorate her latest with a little illustration of the gorgeous album cover. also, 16 is my favourite number! i've mentioned this before – kylie is really hard to draw! but i was really happy with how this turned out. if you're seeing this kylie, i hope you like it too...
listening to new music on their release day brings me so much joy. there's a lost appreciation for indulging in music and appreciating physical albums which the digital sphere has taken away. to play a cassette tape, cd or vinyl without skipping songs, exploring the album insert and reading lyrics or looking at beautiful photography and art direction, reading the artist's dedication – the kids today will never understand how great these moments are. 
if you don't hear from me, i'll be tucked somewhere listening to the album on repeat and just taking it all in...


dubai roundabouts

deira clocktower . 2023

the flame monument . 2023

fish roundabout . 2023

earlier this year i worked on a series of illustrations of some of dubai's iconic roundabouts. they were meant to be part of a larger project that unfortunately didn't come to fruition (so far). i really liked how these illustrations turned out, and didn't want them go unseen. so i thought i would release them independently as a series of digital prints, available for sale very soon.
i focused on these three particular roundabouts because they're structures i would regularly encounter while being driven around in the neighbourhood of deira as a young passenger with my family. the deira clocktower and fish roundabout still stand strong today, but the flame monument has been moved off the streets and now stands in a park. i still encounter these structures today, and they remind me of the very few things in dubai that have survived the city's many changes over the last 50 years. i find them extremely beautiful and timeless.
stay tuned for future announcements once the 'dubai roundabouts' prints are available for purchase...


dance distortion

dance distortion . 2023

dance distortion (prints) . 2023

here's a recent stamp print i worked on as part of my participation in aisha alabbar gallery's printmaking exhibition 'press print!'. as the main exhibition comes to a close on sep 7 (see earlier post about the exhibition here), i wanted to share this new print i worked on for the 'press print! print exchange box' – a limited edition box which includes a4 sized prints from all eight participating artists. the box is an edition of 25, and are available for purchase through the gallery for a limited time.
the new print is an extension of my works on display in the show – capturing a moment in dance. for these prints, i changed it up a bit by adding extra limbs to the dancing figure to make it look like multiple dance poses and the body in motion. it also looks like a mythic figure – some sort of dancing god perhaps...?! i'm really happy with how these prints turned out in the end.
if anyone wants to know more information about the 'press print! print exchange box' or interested in getting one, head to the product page via the gallery's website here. i've seen some of the prints done by the other artists, and trust me when i say, this box is special...



noah . 2023

i've been a little quiet over here as i seek refuge in the shade while the terrible summer heat is upon us! things have been slow, and i've been enjoying this summer pace, focusing on a few projects that i hope to share soon, and taking everyday as it comes. i'm not a fan of summer which is why i don't travel during this time, and enjoy the months where dubai is at it's most quiet while everyone's away...
one of the illustrations i worked on during this time was of my dear friend noah pilkington, who was taken away from us earlier this year. i met noah when i used to work at tashkeel in the early 2010s, and we were work colleagues during our time there. our relationship grew beyond the office, and we became really close friends and had a brotherly love i rarely come across. we had each others back, and mentored each other during tough times in our 20s (a decade i personally never enjoyed). he was a great guy and an inspiration – my peak fitness was thanks to him and his passion for the gym and staying healthy. once we quit our jobs to take on the next chapters of our lives, we did lose touch – something i deeply regret. it was no ones fault, it's just how life goes. i was always so proud to hear about his achievements and how he followed his dreams.
and then there was the sudden news of noah's passing in january. i don't think i've completely comprehended that he's gone. it's never easy to hear about a passing of a loved one, but time heals as they say. the last week before sharing this post, i've been seeing and hearing his name everywhere i go. i wonder if this is his way of saying hello? if it is, i'm listening and saying hi back and i miss and love him very much. the illustration above was created by the request of the pilkington family, who have been a part of my life for quite some time. it shows the noah i knew best, my friend, colleague and brother. rest well noah...

i end this post with a request – life is short and precious. always make time to check up on your loved ones.


authentic marks

'lovers on the dance floor 1' at authentic marks . 2023

'lovers on the dance floor 2' at authentic marks . 2023

i'm happy to announce my stamp prints lovers on the dance floor are currently exhibited in the fifth edition of 'authentic marks & glows', a printmaking exhibition organised by shaghaf group – a local based community promoting the art and love of printmaking! the exhibition runs from 15 – 22 of july, in building 3 at dubai design district, from 11am – 8pm.
i know the summer heat is pretty bad, but if you happen to be in the area, please stop by and check out the exhibition. it's a humble show highlighting works by both students and practitioners who work within printmaking. there's also open workshops for anyone to explore and experiment with printmaking techniques, and a little shop selling totes and other printed matter. thank you shaghaf group for having me in the show – much appreciated.
i'm ending this short post with the 'authentic marks' e-vite below, which includes exhibition details and information. it also includes artwork details by my friend diego mendoza, who is also participating in the exhibition, and who's been my motivator this year to make and participate in more printmaking themed shows & exchanges. thanks diego!

'authentic marks & glows' exhibition e-vite . 2023 (courtesy of shaghaf group)


our companions

companions illustrated by khalid mezaina . 2023

our companions . 2023 (by khalid mezaina + kyoung mi ahn)

our companions (details) . 2023

scroll books exhibition at the sharjah booth, seoul international book fair . 2023

'our companions' scroll book (detail) . 2023

'our companions' scroll book (detail) . 2023

i'm so happy to finally share my favourite project i worked on this year. i was invited by the sharjah book authority to collaborate with the super talented illustrator kyoung mi ahn on an illustrated scroll book under the theme 'our companions'. the project was launched at the seoul international book fair where the city of sharjah was hosted as their guest of honour.
earlier this year, kyoung mi flew over from seoul to sharjah where we met for the first time to collaborate on this project. we thought of how animals have been companions to humans throughout time and history. with that in mind, we illustrated a number of real and mythical animals, representing both our cultural backgrounds. we also wanted to give a nod to the rich history of manuscripts and book illustration from both the middle and far east.
i can't begin to explain how proud i am of the final outcome of this project. i feel i evolved my illustration style and kyoung mi pushed me to new heights with my stamping technique where i combined both stamping and drawing for the first time which led to amazing results! i also had a chance to fly out to seoul for the first time and attend the book fair as well as explore the city which was so fun and inspiring. it was great seeing my work presented to a new audience outside of the emirates. i hope whoever saw our final scroll book enjoyed it as much as we did working on it.
thank you to the sharjah book authority and mohamed mahdi for the invitation and opportunity to participate in this project. it was truly a wonderful experience and i hope we can work together again in the near future. lastly, a huge thank you to kyoung mi ahn – a true collaborator and friend i'm so happy to add to my life. thank you for everything, and we will work together again for sure!


deep in d.a.n.c.e.

deep in d.a.n.c.e. . 2023

deep in d.a.n.c.e. (relief print on paper) . 2023

deep in d.a.n.c.e. (relief print on paper detail) . 2023

deep in d.a.n.c.e. (relief print on texile) . 2023

deep in d.a.n.c.e. (relief print on textile detail) . 2023

it's the start of a new month and i am happy to share my new body of work – 'deep in d.a.n.c.e.', a series of relief (stamp) prints both on paper and textiles. the new works are currently on show at aisha alabbar gallery's printmaking themed summer show 'press print!'.
'deep in d.a.n.c.e.' is a continuation of my ongoing exploration in stamp printing of capturing moments of dance and joy. i'm really happy with the end result of these prints, considering i'm not working from a designated studio at the moment. these prints were worked on from home, cafes, and friends apartments!
if in dubai, please make sure to stop by the gallery to check out the works in person, as well as the entire exhibition. it's a really great show, and i'm so honored to be exhibiting amongst some of my favourite people in the art world that i call friends. the exhibition runs until 7 september 2023. there's also a line up of programming scheduled during the duration of the show, which includes tours, talks and reading groups. for all the details, please check out the 'press print!' exhibition page via the gallery's website here.
a huge thank you goes to the aisha alabbar gallery team for all their help and efforts in bringing this exhibition together, and inviting me to be a part of it.