covid-19 artist relief print sale round 2

'gulf photo plus covid-19 artist relief print sale round 2' announcement . 2020 (image courtesy of gpp)

'eviction' for 'gulf photo plus covid-19 artist relief print sale round 2' . 2020 (image courtesy of gpp)

eviction . 2020

i'm so happy to announce my participation in round 2 of the gulf photo plus 'covid-19 artist relief print sale', in collaboration with 6:3 collective. the print sale aims to support those in the creative community that have been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. these have been very tough times for people everywhere, and many in the local creative community have been struggling over the last few months with projects postponed or entirely canceled.
i worked on a new illustration titled 'eviction' of some emptied out architecture i spotted in sharjah that'll probably be demolished at some point in time. i found it beautiful, and thought it would be a great opportunity to illustrate it for the print sale. i hope the illustration generates interest, and people purchase it. i guarantee it will look great in your homes!
'eviction' is priced at aed 350, and measures at 15 x 10 in. if my print isn't what you fancy, there's plenty of other beautiful prints to choose from, created by some of the most talented uae-based graphic designers and illustrators. it's truly an honour to be showcased alongside many of my peers and closest friends.
please head to the 'covid-19 artist relief print sale' page here. the sale will be live until october, so get to shopping now! whether it's for yourself or presents for others, your purchases will truly help those involved.


masking out

mask exploration . 2020

it's officially summer! 
in addition to the first half of the year being an absolute mind****, we now have to bear the scorching heat with half our faces covered thanks to coronavirus. funny enough, before the world moved into mandatory mask wearing, i've been wanting to work on masks as part of my textile practise. so far, i've worked on textile projects for adorning the human body (capes, wraps). i want to continue these explorations through mask making.
concealing one's face comes in various forms and practises found in many cultures around the world. it holds great significance in the arab world, wearing masks or face coverings for various reasons – religious or spiritual, adhering to certain weather conditions, or as a way of dressing conservatively. there is a rich history behind mask wearing rooted in nomadic traditions which have carried through to contemporary face coverings we see today.
i'm interested in exploring masks as a tool for expression. with your face concealed, how can you convey emotion? in many tribal ceremonies, costumes and masks are worn to exaggerate movement and expression, sometimes transforming the wearer to present someone otherworldly and magical. i find these traditions so fascinating and want to explore these practises in my works.
the short gif above shows my first attempt at making a mask that comes alive with movement. it's made from a used medical face mask and multi-coloured ribbons. this is very much a prototype, introducing myself with the process of constructing a mask. i had so much fun making it, and loved the results when wearing it. i felt like i was dancing again, the mask exaggerating my movement.
i'm definitely excited for making more masks in the near future so stay tuned. until then, enjoy the gif above, and notice how my glasses fly off my face! thank you azim al ghussein for taking these photos under the summer sun, and helping me find my glasses hidden in the bushes...


kleaning out my kloset

'kleaning out my kloset' logo . 2020

i'd like to announce a new project i'm setting up titled 'kleaning out my kloset'. 
over the last few months, i've been struggling with trying to clean my room and make a proper living space for myself. my bedroom has been in an embarrassingly bad state since my early twenties, and i haven't been successful in cleaning it up since! but in recent attempts during the covid lockdown, i began clearing out my cupboard, and noticed the amount of t-shirts i've collected over the years.
i've always loved t-shirts. it's become a sort of uniform, wearing a graphic tee on a daily basis. if i'm not wearing one, you know something is wrong! my t-shirts are a reflection of my interests – i love rocking a tee of one of my favourite pop stars, or of characters from comics or tv shows i've grown to love. i wish i kept every t-shirt i wore since i was a kid. i still recall some of my favourite t-shirts in high school which were either discarded or donated once i outgrew them. which is why i've been collecting all my t-shirts over the last couple of decades. some have been difficult to let go of, and some were kept in hopes that i'd be able to wear them again someday.
i've always received compliments over the t-shirts i've worn. i'd like to think i've acquired quite a strong collection of tees. i'm slowly rediscovering many forgotten t-shirts as i clean out my closet, carefully folding and storing them in appropriate boxes, archiving them since i have no plans of getting rid of them anytime soon. with that in mind, i decided to create an instagram account sharing my collection of t-shirts online. i hope it becomes a digital archive and resource that's accessible to other t-shirt aficionados out there. 
without further ado, here's 'kleaning out my kloset'. please do follow the account if it interests you. i'll be posting tees on a regular basis so stay tuned. i hope this will be fun!


kylie minogue is really hard to draw!

kylie minogue . 2020

it's the 28th of may which means it's kylie minogue's birthday!
i remember watching ‘can’t get you out of my head’ for the first time in a c&a store in prague, summer 2001. i was mesmerised by the song and music video. in university, i repeatedly drew the final scene of the video during my bus rides back home. kylie dancing on a rooftop to the chorus was so iconic to me. 19 years later, i thought i’d draw it again this year on the occasion of her birthday. i must say i like how it turned out, but my goodness kylie minogue is so hard to draw!
those who know me know how much of a fan i am of ms. minogue. i have to thank my sisters, who listened to her music around me during the late 80s & early 90s. my fandom came to fruition by the end of the 90s during my final years in high school. when her seventh studio album ‘light years’ was released, i was officially team kylie! her music has been a constant in my life, and got me through the best and worst of times – listening to her songs while stressed in the studio, chilling at home, or singing loudly in my car.
in addition to the music, her collaborations with william baker and tony hung have always been a point of reference and inspiration to me, influencing my work in some form or another. her music videos, album artworks, stage designs and costumes are some of the best examples of art and design in contemporary music and pop culture.
i’ve never met kylie, but i’ve watched her perform ten times so far – my first was at the x tour in Madrid, 2008. i hope i could meet her one day (universe, please see this and work your magic!). until then, i hope this post crosses kylie’s path. and if it does, i hope she likes what she sees.
thank you for the music, the entertainment, the inspiration, and for sharing the same initials as me! can’t wait for what’s next. until then, happy birthday kylie minogue.


garden gathering

'garden gathering' mini comic . 2020


illustrations for 'garden gathering' mini comic . 2020 

i write this post as ramadan slowly comes to a close. and what a strange ramadan it's been. i'm still quarantined at home, with the occasional stepping out for running errands. ramadan is usually filled with gatherings amongst friends and family, yet this year no one has been able to do so. and for those not following social distancing rules have faced the consequences – news reports mention cases where communal gatherings have occurred and those in attendance were exposed to the virus. so ramadan this year has been quite intimate and simple for me – staying at home for most of the time, and experiencing it with just my mother and sister.
in terms of making work, i feel a momentum slowly picking up again. since my last post, i've been drawing more, and had the opportunity to work on a couple of illustration-based projects, one being the mini comic you see above. titled 'garden gathering', this short story is about longing for interaction with the outside world, and making new friends where you least expect it. here's a quick description:

my time of late involves staring into the distance from my balcony at home, missing the outside world and the people i interact with. and yet, i've made new friends during my time indoors – a lovely pigeon who stops by for a break at my window, and a cat who's made the outdoor garden her new home. we keep each other company every afternoon, until we part ways in anticipation of gathering again the next day.

'garden gathering' was originally commissioned for warehouse 421's "jam'atna" series, in collaboration with artist and educator rania jishi of naqd critique, and independent consultant and creative nahla tabaa. "jam'atna", which translates to 'our gathering', invited a group of artists to interpret what gathering and being together means during these quarantined times, especially during the month of ramadan. i'm really happy with the final result of the mini comic, and can't thank the team behind "jam'atna" for the opportunity. it definitely sparked my drive to create once again, and i hope i can keep the momentum going. if you'd like to have a look at the other "jam'atna" contributions, head to the highlights section on warehouse 421's instagram page

until the next post, stay safe, healthy and indoors.


sanitized ramadan

ramadan kareem hand sanitizer . 2020

ramadan kareem to those observing. may it be a blessed month for everyone. 
i'm writing this post as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause havoc around the world. i've been quarantined at home for the last four weeks or so, and it hasn't been easy. the news has been strange, projects have been on hold, and people are showing their true colours. obviously some days are better than others when trying to cope with it all, and social media has made me laugh on many occasions when i've been down.
i haven't been in the right mindset to make any work. and having no access to my studio has made it even more challenging to create. but the night before ramadan, the idea of illustrating a branded ramadan hand sanitizer popped in my head! and i immediately opened my sketchbook to draw it out. i thought it was a funny idea, with hopes it would make someone feel better as they cope with current covid challenges.
the illustration is a little tongue in cheek – commenting on the excess panic buying of hand sanitizers by everyone in order to protect themselves from the virus, and how people suddenly become more connected to their faith during ramadan in hopes of being forgiven for 'past sins' (it takes being a good person all year folks!).
i hope everyone here enjoys the illustration above. and i hope the month of ramadan allows for some self reflection and gratitude amongst many not so nice people in our communities. as mentioned earlier, this pandemic has really revealed people's true colours, ranging from general bad behaviour to taking advantage of the pandemic for social media clout. i hope we can all come out of this as better humans and slightly less selfish to each other and the earth we share.


madame coco is here

coco jalila chocolate box design (final) . 2020

coco jalila chocolate boxes (final) . 2020

hello from the confines of self isolation! i hope everyone is staying safe and washing their hands regularly and practising social distancing. i'd like to think that i'm trying to stay calm during these troublesome times. but it's hard to do so when almost everyone around me is in panic mode. let's all do our part, stay calm, and rid the world of this silly corona virus together. 
on a lighter note, she's finally here – madame coco has been introduced to the world on coco jalila's newest chocolate boxes. i'm so happy to finally see this illustration printed. i started working with coco jalila shortly after moving back home post risd. i created some fun illustrations last year for their upcoming line of boxes (you can read all about it here). however, 2019 wasn't the year they'd print new boxes. cut to corona 2020, and madame coco was selected as the face of coco jalila's new boxes! i made a few minor adjustments to the background on the final artwork. i'm really happy with the end product and how the printed boxes turned out. i think the artwork really stands out amongst the other chocolate brand packaging out there. 
i really wish these boxes were launched during better global circumstances. but better late than never i guess. if you're reading this, keep a look out for coco jalila's chocolates located in all the address hotels around town (once it's good to go back out into the city). or you can place orders via their instagram and website. trust me when i say, their chocolates are realllllllly good! support homegrown businesses like coco jalila, especially in these difficult times.