season's greetings

season's greetings . 2015

wishing everyone season's greetings and a krossbreed christmas to those celebrating. hope the holidays are being celebrated with loved ones, and filled with amazing presents!
a quick note on the illustration above – when coming up with an artwork to mark the occasion, i thought it would be fun to reference my current interests in old neighborhoods in dubai. i quickly thought of the trolley handlers who move heaps of items from place to place. to me, they're like little santas dropping off presents to all the grownups around the neighborhood.
once again, season's greetings y'all! see you all in 2016...


mural for facebook

shedha star grocery . 2015
sofia tailor . 2015
salon nad rashid . 2015
shabab al rashideya computer . 2015
community mural process . 2015
community mural process . 2015
community mural . 2015
community mural . 2015
community mural . 2015
community mural detail . 2015
community mural detail . 2015

people who know me know that i am not a facebook account holder. it was something that totally passed me during university, and i've still never gotten around to opening a personal account. but funnily enough, i was approached by facebook recently to work on a mural in their offices in dubai, and was really ecstatic with the invitation.
for the mural, i wanted to communicate the important components that make a community. i created an illustration of a series of traditional shop fronts found in a lot of dubai’s communities. the selected shop fronts communicate the important institutions required for a community to be sustainable – from a grocery store to an electronic shop, to a barbershop and tailor. the selected shops for the mural culminate to define a thriving community that is familiar to dubai’s urban landscape.
the mural commemorates the importance of these shops and their contribution to a community’s sustenance. without the basic necessities these types of shops provide, a community wouldn’t be able to survive. just as an online community like facebook survives off the interactions of each other, communities in the physical world act in the very same way.
i was really happy with the end result and even surprised myself during the process. it's been awhile since i've worked on a mural of this scale, so was proud of the final outcome. thank you facebook for the opportunity, and i hope the team enjoys the mural during office hours. also, thanks to all my friends who helped and visited me while working on site. much appreciated.


a fresh, new look

krossbreed logo . 2015

with new beginnings comes a new look! after 5 years working on projects under the label krossbreed, i've decided to revamp the logo to mark a fresh new start, and have a logo that visually references the work i produce under krossbreed. 
the new logo is a revised version of the previous logo used, still keeping it type based, but having a bold and hand drawn aesthetic to it, keeping with my illustration based practice. after many revisions and edits, which surprisingly took most of the year to work on, i am comfortable with the new logo you see here. i think it's simple yet still leaves an impact.
looking forward to announcing new projects and collaborations in the next few posts. stay tuned...


to new beginnings

tashkeel wall of shame . 2015

there comes a point in everyone's career where one makes a very difficult decision to move on to the next chapter in their lives. i am one of these people taking this next step, and have decided to become a full-time independent creative, figuring out what that means along the way!
friends and followers of my blog know i have been working at dubai's community art space tashkeel around the same time i started this blog. it's been five years i've worked at tashkeel as a project coordinator and graphic designer. i entered tashkeel as an inexperienced 25 year old, looking for an opportunity. after making a very difficult decision, i leave as a mature 30 year old, ready to take on the next challenges in my life.
so much has happened in the last 5 years. i have grown and learnt so much along the way that i can't even begin to explain. tashkeel has become a family to me then just a workplace. i am truly honored to have been a part of the tashkeel team, and contributed to it's development. after 5 years, i think we both have given all we could for each other, and is time for both of us to grow separately. however, they say once you enter tashkeel, you can never leave! i think that is slightly true. even though i'm not an employee there anymore, i still work from tashkeel as a member, using the facilities for the creation and development of my projects.
i have to end this post with a few thank yous. to lateefa and jill – thank you for believing in me 5 years ago and making me part of the team. the experience was unforgettable. to the tashkeel team, past and present, it was a real pleasure working with you all. some of you are more then just ex-work colleagues and i'm humbled to have you as my friends. to everyone else i've encountered along the way, it's been a pleasure. lastly, thank you tashkeel for your positive, creative energy. thank you for making me see the world, grow as a human being and as an artist. wishing you all the best and may you continue to grow and prosper.
its finally time to start doing things my way, and under my terms. i'm looking forward to all that comes next. it's going to be a fun ride.
to new beginnings. stay tuned...

ps – the image above is a wall of hilarious photos of me over the last 5 years at tashkeel, selected by my then work colleague, and friend, salama nasib. i would walk into the office every morning to find a new embarrassing photo of myself stuck behind my desk. i call it the 'wall of shame' because it's hilarious how i looked in the past, and amazing to see how i've evolved over 5 years. thank you salama for the observation!


exhibitions in abu dhabi

at art: process & practice seaf exhibition, warehouse 421 . 2015

at art: process & practice seaf, warehouse 421 . 2015

at emirati expressions: conventions of arts . 2015 (photo by hind mezaina)

november was a busy month at the capital! i am so happy to be a part of 2 important exhibitions – emirati expressions: conventions of arts, and art: process + practice salama bint hamdan emerging artists fellowship, at warehouse 421.
as mentioned in my earlier post on emirati expressions, i am exhibiting illustrations of abu dhabi's iconic cultural and social institutions. as the main exhibition is meant to be an interactive experience, attendees are allowed to take posters of my illustrations. it's been great hearing all the positive feedback and seeing the amount of people carrying these posters! i love that my artwork is accessible to an audience that go beyond art collectors. so thank you to everyone out there that picked up a poster (or three). other products at the exhibition with my illustrations include tote bags, tshirts and notebooks, on sale at the shop. emirati expressions: conventions of arts runs until 31 March 2016, at manarat al saadiyat. for more information click here.
the other exhibition i'm truly honored to be a part of is the seaf (salama bint hamdan emerging artists fellowship) exhibition, art: process and practice. the exhibition is part of a new cultural district in abu dhabi, called warehouse 421, which was inaugurated during an amazing 3 day event filled with a creative market, workshops, music performances and art exhibitions. for the exhibit, i showcased my project observation series which was developed during my progress in the 2014-2015 edition of the fellowship program. friends and followers know how important the project and the fellowship experience was to me. so i am so happy to share my observations series to the public. during the exhibition opening, i was touched by how many people were so positive towards the project. thank you to everyone that came down to say hi and share their feedback. art: process and practice runs until february 2016, at warehouse 421. for more information click here.
i purposely keep this post short and sweet. the real experience is through viewing the artworks in person, and i recommend everyone reading this to do so and check out both exhibitions. i'm humbled to be able to share two art projects i'm proud to have worked on in exhibitions that have been carefully curated and executed.

flags of the uae - a social media project

abu dhabi . 2015

dubai + ajman . 2015

fujairah . 2015

sharjah + ras al khaimah . 2015

umm al quwain . 2015

trucial states . 2015

happy birthday to my home, the united arab emirates. on the occasion of its 44th anniversary, i decided to work on a quick social media project titled flags of the uae, by posting on my social media pages (instagram + twitter) a flag a day of each emirate.
for those who don't know, before the united arab emirates became a nation on 2 december 1971, the uae was known as the trucial states; a group of sheikhdoms under the agreed protection of the british government, between 1820 to 1971. after the treaties with the british government ended, the sheikhdoms, or emirates, decided to unite together, becoming the united arab emirates we know today.
each emirate has it's own flag which are made of red and white fields. the trucial states flag has an additional 7 point star. i find these flags really cool and wanted to share them on the occasion of the uae's 44th anniversary. nowadays you don't get to see these flags much. but at some locations, you still do see flags of each emirate hoisted with pride, along with the official flag of the uae (see below).
alot has changed since the days of the trucial states. the uae has grown so much and so fast, even though its still only 44 years young. i am very proud to be from here, and look forward to growing together. may god bless this nation, its rulers, and people. happy birthday uae!

united arab emirates . 2015


emirati expressions: conventions of arts

emirati expressions: conventions of arts invite . 2015

al wahda sports club i . 2015

al wahda sports club ii . 2015

al wahda sports club iii . 2015

the armed forces officers club i . 2015

the armed forces officers club i . 2015

the cultural foundation i . 2015

the cultural foundation ii . 2015

i am happy to announce my participation in this year's emirati expressions: conventions of arts. for it's fourth edition, the exhibition showcases works by fifteen emiratis, focusing on art and design, and the creative practices within each showcase. another feature in the exhibition is commissioned artworks and projects that take inspiration from abu dhabi's various and historic social clubs and institutions.
as you can see in the above, my contribution to the exhibition are a series of illustrations of abu dhabi's cultural and social institutions – al wahda sports club, the armed forces officers club, and the cultural foundation. these illustrations are printed on collateral, including posters for people to take, and notebooks, t-shirts and tote bags for sale.
i really enjoyed exploring abu dhabi and getting to appreciate the architectural structures of these institutions and their locations in person. i'm not very familiar with abu dhabi, so being able to research and drive around the capital to find these sites were a real treat.
i personally like the approach to this year's exhibition; seeing not just art, but design as well ranging from graphic design to product pieces on display. the uae is definitely a home of both emirati artists and designers, and this exhibition is a reflection of that.
thank you to the curators of the exhibition maisa al qasimi and reem fadda for including me in the show. and congratulations to all the artists participating.
emirati expressions: conventions of arts runs until 31 March 2016, at manarat al saadiyat. for more information click here.


seaf - process

expressive + descriptive illustrations . 2014
desert intervention assignment . 2015

monuments assignment . 2015
spatial intervention assignment . 2015

framing project gif . 2015

color assignment . 2015

curtains (pattern assignment) . 2015

textile designs on the jaquard loom at risd (collaboration with azim al ghussein) . 2015

after the previous post about my final project during the sheikha salama bint hamdan al nahyan's emerging artists fellowship program (seaf), i wanted to share some of the quick projects and assignments i worked on during the course of the program, which definitely fed into my final project and my current artistic practice. the experimental approach towards the assignments in the program were important, which is why i would like to share a selection of some of these projects, showing a behind the scenes look of my process, which usually never gets exposed.
all the projects above show the variety of mediums explored during the program. also, you see a transition of the mediums used – starting with what i am most comfortable with (illustration) and eventually moving into textiles, which was the medium for my final project. i really enjoyed thinking outside the box, working in scales i was uncomfortable with in the past, and understanding key components in my work which i take for granted (like color!).
i don't think i'll be able to justify how important the program has been to me in 2 blog posts. but i do hope whoever reads this gets a glimpse into an experience that was inspirational on all levels, and something i'll never forget.


seaf - observations series

observations on food . 2015

observations on food (detail) . 2015

observations on trade . 2015

observations on trade (detail) . 2015

observations on music . 2015

observations on music (detail) . 2015

observations on community . 2015

observations on community (detail) . 2015

observations on faith . 2015

observations on faith (detail) . 2015

observations on trade t-shirt . 2015

observations series . 2015

observations series (process) . 2015

observations series (presentation) . 2015

observations series original sketches . 2015

the moment's finally here where i get to blog about one of the most life changing experiences i've had over the last year. for those of you who don't know, i have graduated as a fellow from the 2014-2015 edition of the sheikha salama bint hamdan al nahyan foundation's emerging artists fellowship program (seaf). the fellowship is in collaboration with the foundation and the rhode island school of design (risd). it was a long year filled with so many laughs, tears, learning and love.
in late 2014, a group of quirky emerging artists were selected and came together to begin their year long journey through the fellowship. the program focused on developing an artist's studio practice through workshops, mentoring, creative assignments, readings and an unforgettable trip to new york city and the risd campus in providence, rhode island. another key component at the end of the fellowship is a potential scholarship to study masters abroad, if one completes the fellowship successfully. it was great to be back in an environment that was open to creative freedom and experimentation. it very much felt like being back in university and was the breath of fresh air i needed in my creative practice outside my full time job.
i will share my experiments and assignments over the year in another post. for here, i wanted to share the final project i worked on over the last few months of the fellowship, just after coming back from our study trip. each fellow had to work on a body of work which we presented during the final teaching week of the fellowship. i wish i could show everyone's final projects because each of the fellows had created some amazing works.
for my body of work, i wanted to continue my exploration around communities and their subcultures, find personal connections in these areas, and create a visual dialogue. the areas i specifically focus on are old, forgotten areas in the city i live in (such as deira and the surrounding vicinity), which in the past was dubai's city center, and are still very much alive till today. only time will tell how long these areas will survive, and their communities forced out for ugly, vulgar real estate projects, which is the common case here.
the body of work, titled 'observations', visually showcases my interactions in these areas; from personal observations, to interactions with the communities found. the work is a series of illustrated narratives screen printed onto five plain textiles purchased from these areas that communicate observations on food, trade, music, community and faith. 'observations' is an investigation that speaks both on a personal level of my experiences in these areas, and emphasizes their importance. i hope the messages conveyed are universal to people facing similar problems of disappearing communities in mega cities such as dubai.
along with the final textiles, my presentation of the work included photographs of the textiles documented in the researched areas, bringing them back to where it all started and seeing what new interactions i might encounter when people from the community see me holding vibrant pieces of fabrics in the middle of the streets! another add-on to my presentation was a t-shirt i tailored from extra fabric i printed of 'observations on trade'. all can be seen in the images above.
i can't begin to describe what an amazing experience the fellowship has been. i've definitely grown as an artist and am inspired to keep on creating, work on new projects, and continue to grow as an artist. i've been doing this for quite some time now, and the fellowship has encouraged me to take the next steps to moving forward in my artistic career. also, i think i'm ready to pursue graduate studies so stay tuned. one can never predict what the future holds. but i hope my future includes an ongoing artistic practice, recognition in the local creative community, and giving back to the city (and country) i call home.
a few thank yous are in order so please bear with me. to the salama foundation, thank you for the opportunity and including me in the second cohort of fellows. the experience you gave me is indescribable and unforgettable. i have changed as an artist and human being. khulood, shamma and kyle, you're all one of a kind. to the risd faculty both in abu dhabi and providence, thank you for your honesty, motivation and inspiration. i learnt so much from all of you.
a thank you goes to tashkeel, for providing me with time out of the office and studio support to work on the fellowship. thank you to my amazing nephew humaid for being my assistant during the last few weeks and helping out with screen printing the final fabrics. thank you to my dear friend zahra, who made time in her busy schedule to be my photographer for the day documenting the fabrics back in old dubai. to my friends and family, thank you for your patience and support, and understanding for when i occasionally distanced myself to focus on the fellowship. i promise to make it up to you.
lastly, a thank you goes to my fellows – azim, alaa, hadeyeh, maitha, mays, moza, reem, saeed, saif, talin and vikram. you have been the best group anyone can ask for. i can't thank you enough for your friendships. i will never forget this moment we shared. and i hope we grow to become the best artists we can possibly be. i love you all.

the fellows . 2015 (photo courtesy of saeed khalifa)