fridaze . 2019

i wasn't going to post this illustration on my blog, but i'm really happy with how it turned out and the story behind it, so why not! i stumbled upon a photo of myself on the interwebs, of me dancing at one of the afrobeats themed nights here in dubai. i was obviously consumed in the moment, completely unaware of my surroundings and that there was a photographer close by. i was just completely invested in the music and dancing.
the photograph online is hilarious – it's as if i was possessed or in a state of d(tr)ance! i just had to draw it and capture the energy via illustration. and what you see above is the final result of a spontaneous illustration i worked on last night. i tried a few new things on this – looser drawing lines and colouring and playing with textures and brushes.
keeping this short and sweet – hope you like this! and if you realllllllllllly want to find the photo this illustration was inspired by, try to find it here!


the alumni return

'the alumni return' e-vite . 2019

i'm happy to announce my participation in tashkeel's upcoming group show 'the alumni return', exhibiting thesis projects by recent mfa and ma graduates who studied abroad over the last 4 years and returned to the uae. i'm really excited to be exhibiting amongst many of my friends. we all traveled and experienced our versions of a masters programme away from home, and have come back changed humans and artists (hopefully for the best!).
i will be exhibiting my thesis project 'capes make the man' for the first time in the uae, and i'm really excited to be showcasing my thesis work at home. i'm curious to see how the audience here responds to the works compared to people in america. i hope everyone who gets to see it enjoys it as much as i did working on it.
photos will definitely not do justice to any of the works in the show, so please please please make sure to come down to the opening or during the duration of the exhibition to see the projects in person. 'the alumni return' opens on tuesday 17 september at 7pm, and runs until 29 october.
see you all at tashkeel for the opening of 'the alumni return' (insert star wars theme music here!!!)...


keep on rovein'

rove city centre's 'cabinet of curiosities' . 2016 (image courtesy of rove hotels)

laundromat mural at rove trade centre . 2017 (image courtesy of rove hotels)

rove trade centre's 'cabinet of curiosities' . 2017 (image courtesy of rove hotels)
laundromat mural at rove healthcare city . 2017 (image courtesy of rove hotels)

here's a post that's long overdue – i've been working with rove hotels for the last few years, supplying murals and art prints for their multiple properties around the city. with the support of the team at capsule arts, this relationship has continued to flourish over the years and i'm truly proud to have my work in most of the rove hotels around town. 
i've shared my first project for rove when they launched back in 2016 with rove downtown (see post here). over the next few years, the briefs have been quite similar, either replicating certain artworks for their various locations, or creating new works to fit with the theme and location of a specific property. it's great to see the laundromat mural, which was first created for rove downtown, being replicated and slightly revised for use in their other properties as well, including rove healthcare city and rove trade centre.
besides the mural, i've also been included in additional 'cabinet of curiosities' which are collections of artworks, imagery and objects that are displayed in the lobbies of the hotels, giving a sense of the surrounding area the hotels are located in. as seen here, i have a selection of prints included in rove city centre's 'cabinet of curiosities', focusing on deira, and the 'cabinet' at the rove trade centre which focuses on satwa and jafiliya neighbourhoods. for the deira theme, i provided a patterned print from my observations textiles series, a photograph of my tanak collection, and a couple of illustrations including 'leylam' and a new cafeteria storefront illustration (see end of post). included in the satwa/jafiliya themed 'cabinet' are a couple of illustrated prints, including the satwa print from my neighbourhood series, and a coloured illustration of a tailor in satwa, originally included in my never forget publication.
it's great seeing my work, both old and new, presented in the many rove hotels around dubai. thank you capsule arts for always putting my name forward, and to the team at rove for always having me on board! stay tuned for future rove projects...

al abra cafeteria . 2016


drag party

'drag party' zine . 2019

'drag party' illustrations for zine . 2019

i recently participated in a super fun zine making workshop! as mentioned in my last post, i've been in a bit of a slump and very uninspired by my surroundings, so this was definitely what i needed to feel better and get back to making stuff.
the 3 day workshop was organised by the super talented nasir nasrallah and the sharjah art foundation. the whole idea was to have an invited group of creatives come in and work on zines which will be sold at the second edition of the focal point art book fair in november. last year's focal point was so much fun and had such a great selection of books and publications. i'm super excited to be participating in the fair once again.
the workshop included a bunch of illustrators and artists, as well as some writers and poets. the energy was pretty great, and it was awesome being surrounded by cool creatives making even cooler work. i got to make some new friends, had a lot of laughs, and was slowly reminded of what a cool city sharjah can be.
so, i created a zine titled 'حفلة جر' or what's literally translated as 'drag party'. the theme in a nutshell is how a lot of arab women look like drag queens and they don't even know it! if you're walking in a mall, or watching tv, or on social media, these women look scary! with the way they wear their makeup and play with their faces, it's fascinating how oblivious they are about how they've started to look like men in drag. i collected a bunch of photos of women featured in arabic lifestlye magazines, and illustrated them as little caricatures of themselves. some might be recognisable, some might look familiar, and some might remind you of someone you unfortunately know! but that's the point, they just all look the same – like drag queens!!! the zine starts with an arabic introduction on how to 'contour' from one of the magazines i was looking at, and continues to present 25 illustrations of drag ladies! 
again, i had so much fun working on this, and i hope whoever sees this enjoys it as much as i do. thank you nasir, the saf team and everyone i met at the workshop for an awesome time, and to everyone else who was helpful in making this a zine i'm proud of. if you want a copy of 'drag party', please make sure to come to focal point in november to get yours (limited to 10 copies at the fair). i will post a focal point announcement closer to the date so stay tuned...


eid al adha 2019

eid al adha . 2019

i haven't posted for over a month, because i've been catching up on some rest after teaching multiple workshops around the uae during the month of july (see previous post). as exhausting as it was driving around the country, especially in the summer heat, it was rewarding interacting with people from different walks of life and teaching them how to express through art. i hope i've touched people's hearts along the way, and i hope my workshops were inspiring enough to let them release their inner artists more frequently.
with that being said, i've also been exhausted with the lack of organisation by some of the collaborators who set up many of these workshops. it felt like specific organisations were following a trend – let's host art summer camps because everyone else is doing it. there were a couple of encounters where spaces hosting workshops for kids were not taking it seriously – the art workshops were just an activity to keep them occupied until they're taken to a more 'serious' engagement. i won't lie, it felt disrespectful and disheartening. which is why i haven't been inspired to get any work done of late. it's can be very crushing when something you're passionate about seems like a farce to others.
i think i'm slowly coming out of this rut – typing this eid themed post is a good start. to briefly explain the illustrations above: my dear friend and artist layan attari spotted a father and his sons crossing the street with a goat on her drive back home. i was very touched by this visual of a family walking away with a goat in tow to mark the occasion of eid al adha. it felt surreal, funny, biblical, and human, and i had the urge to illustrate it. i think we've all figured out the fate of this poor goat!
ending this post with well wishes – eid mubarak to all those observing. may all your prayers be answered, and may you have hearty meals in the presence of family and loved ones! stay tuned for more frequent posts in the near future. there are a lot of exciting projects and announcements coming very soon. i can't wait to share it with you all...


summer workshops

'identitee' t-shirt printing demo . 2019

summer is officially upon us, and it's pretty hot and gross here! but one way of bearing the summer heat is by letting out your creative energy in some nifty, fun and creative workshops! 'tis the season where art institutions set up summer camps focusing on young folk who aren't traveling abroad over the summer to let out their inner artists! i'm fortunate enough to be involved in leading eight workshops over the next couple of months, so if you are (or know anyone that is) 8 years old and above, i hope you find something you fancy. below is the list of workshops i'll be hosting between june and july:

29 june 2019
'identitee' teens tour and workshop at jameel arts centre
10am to 1pm – ages 13 to 16
for more info and to register click here

09 july 2019
'geometric capes' session 1 at jameel arts centre
9am to 4pm – ages 8 to 13
for more info and to register click here

10 july 2019
'tees'n'totes screen printing' at tashkeel
10am to 1pm – ages 8 to 16
for more info and to register click here

20 july 2019
'screen time: screen printing on paper and fabric' at warehouse 421
(in collaboration with tashkeel, and co-taught with my dear friend salama nasib)
11am to 5pm – ages 12+
for more info and to register click here

23 july 2019
'sun prints' at al dhafra cultural center
instructor's assistant – workshop will be led by azim al ghussein
(in collaboration with tashkeel and the ministry of culture & knowledge development)
10am to 1pm – ages 10 to 14
for more info and to register click here

24 july 2019
'geometric capes' session 2 at jameel arts centre
9am to 4pm – ages 8 to 13
for more info and to register click here

28 july 2019
'screen printing' at al dhafra cultural center
(in collaboration with tashkeel and the ministry of culture & knowledge development)
10am to 1pm – ages 10 to 14
for more info and to register click here

30 july 2019
'screen printing' at masafi cultural centre
(in collaboration with tashkeel and the ministry of culture & knowledge development)
10am to 1pm – ages 10 to 14
for more info and to register click here

looking forward to meeting you all at one of these workshops very soon...



'saturdaze' cover . 2019

'saturdaze' page 1 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 2 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 3 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 4 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 5 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 6 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 7 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 8 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 9 . 2019

'saturdaze' page 10 . 2019

here it is – saturdaze!!! a mini comic by me and my friend mohammed al shaibani. as mentioned in an earlier post, i've known momo for around a decade, so this collaboration was more then just making a comic book together – it's a celebration of our friendship, the crazy adventures and moments we've shared together over the years.
people who know me know my love for comic books and the impact they've had on me growing up. i always tell myself i want to get into making comics, but never really put the time for it. the last time i made a comic was in 2016, which was also a collaboration with another friend and artist, azim al ghussein (see 'we met on the dance floor'). the opportunity to work on a comic came about this year when momo was the motivator behind participating in a couple of open calls, one being the 'made in tashkeel' exhibition. we worked non-stop through most of ramadan to get the pages above penciled and inked on time. thankfully, our application got accepted, and we have a mini comic to share with the world.
to explain the story behind 'saturdaze', here's a brief description momo perfectly drafted, explaining what we wanted to make a comic about:

this is our first collaboration in art. our previous collaborations included outings and adventures in dark, neon lit locations, but never on the page. we wanted to show an adventure into the night, a chance meeting with darkness, and a change that ensues after. ‘saturdaze’ begins with our protagonist venturing forth into an alley lit up with neon signs, making his way to a popular establishment called ‘ego’. our hero descends to a seemingly open dance floor populated by eccentrics, where one particularly masked stranger takes notice. through a flurry of choreographed movements, the protagonist shakes the dance hall silent, garnering further attention, and summoning the masked stranger forward to battle. a single touch transforms our hero, forever making him different, and causing him to return from his evening changed. through sequential art, we weave a story that is both somewhat personal, and open enough for the audience to interpret as they please.

'saturdaze' is currently on show in the 10th edition of 'made in tashkeel'. we have our original pages on display, which momo pencilled, and i inked. also available at the show are a limited run of printed editions of the 'saturdaze' comic, a5 in size, on sale for aed 25. help a couple of artists out and make sure to buy a copy when you check out the show!
this post is dedicated to momo – thank you for making sure we completed this comic on time, and thank you for being a friend for all these years. to making more memories, and to more comics in the near future.

'made in tashkeel' is on until 10 september 2019. please do stop by, there's plenty of interesting works to see. for more info on the exhibition, click here. i end this post with a few images of the display at the exhibition, and a little gif of our little comic! 

'saturdaze' mini comic . 2019

'saturdaze' at made in tashkeel . 2019

'saturdaze' at made in tashkeel . 2019

'saturdaze' at made in tashkeel . 2019

'saturdaze' at made in tashkeel . 2019