past forward : contemporary art from the emirates

windtowers . 2010

untitled . 2012

arab dreem . 2013

past forward exhibition poster outside the meridian international center . 2014

my artworks at the past forward exhibition . 2014

past forward collateral . 2014

past forward exhibition opening . 2014 (photo by evelyn hockstein)

with ambassador yousef al otaiba . 2014 (photo by nick khazal)

last may, i had the chance to travel to the united states of america for the first time. the opportunity came about when i was invited to be a participating artist of a touring contemporary emirati art exhibition in the united states, titled past forward.
past forward showcases 25 artists from different generations of the uae art community, presenting a collection of 50 artworks outside the united arab emirates for the first time. apart from being an art showcase, the exhibition is also a cultural diplomacy initiative, giving americans a better understanding of the history, life and culture of the uae through art, talks and workshops. the exhibition is curated by the uae embassy and the meridian international center, as well as emirati artist and curator noor al suwaidi.
as a selected artist from the exhibition, i was invited to attend the official inauguration in washington dc, as an ambassador for my country and the uae's creative scene. also invited was my friend and fellow creative zeinab alhashemi. other then attending the exhibition, both zeinab and i were required to host children's art workshops in many of washington's public schools, and the children's national medical center, which has a strong relationship with the uae. other activities also included museum visits around the capital, and meeting some of the institution's directors and curators.
the selected artworks for the exhibition were my older illustrations seen above; 'windtowers', 'untitled' (a sketch study of my print 'vibrant future') and 'arab dreem' (originally used as an illustration for my activity book 'never forget'). another bonus as a participant of this show was seeing my 'windtowers' illustration applied onto collateral, including tote bags and as the cover for the exhibition catalogue. amazing!!!
the opening was such a surreal moment; seeing artworks of my friends, colleagues & peers all in one showcase outside the uae. it was a proud moment seeing everyone's artworks together, and what we have achieved over the years thorough our careers. another highlight of the exhibition was having the opportunity to meet the ambassador yousef al otaiba who opened the show. a great man and a really cool guy!
besides the exhibition, being able to host art workshops in public schools and at the children's national medical center was an amazing experience. working with children from different social backgrounds was truly an eye opener & a humbling experience. i hope our workshops had an impact on whoever we encountered, and sparked an inner artist in all.
overall, my experience in washington was amazing. i am proud of my achievements so far as a creative, as well as calling the uae my home.
after showing in washington, the exhibition will go on a tour around the united states, including california and texas, through to 2015. i wish the exhibition all the best on its tour, and i look forward to hearing all the news and feedback about it.
for more information on the exhibition, make sure to check out the exhibition's official website

a huge thanks goes to the uae embassy for being caring hosts, the meridian international center for all it's efforts and support, noor al suwaidi for believing in me as an artist, zeinab alhashemi for being a great traveling buddy and friend, and to everyone else i met during this trip. you all made this an experience i will never forget...

i end this post with some memorable moments during my time in dc.

memorable moments in washington dc . 2014