cafeterias of the uae

al shabab cafeteria . 2016

eat & drink restaurant . 2016

fast meal restaurant . 2016

pearl star restaurant & cafeteria . 2016

shaikha cafeteria . 2016

tasty food restaurant . 2016

i've worked on a new series of illustrations titled 'cafeterias of the uae' which was a recent commission for the abu dhabi music & arts foundation (admaf)'s current exhibition 'portrait of a nation' - bringing together a selection of uae's practicing artists and presenting their reflections and perspectives on their homeland. below is the statement on my approach to the commission:

"the uae has a rich history of ‘shawarma’ shops and cafeterias all across the country, catering to not just specific communities in the uae, but the entire nation as a whole. emiratis, expats and everyone in between flock to these cafeterias daily for an affordable sandwich, a humorously titled juice, or a plastic cup of sugared, steaming hot chai! these cafeterias are iconic structures in the uae's culture and urban landscape. not only are they places of social encounters, but places of deep context in understanding food culture of the uae. through illustration, i would like to archive these cafeterias as important, iconic institutions and it’s importance to their communities. in the uae, major cities like dubai and abu dhabi are growing at an exceptionally fast pace, changing the landscape of a city tremendously, with things of the past unfortunately getting lost. only time will tell if these cafeterias will survive through these current changes. i hope these illustrations would act as a form of documentation and nostalgia for anyone that has encountered these cafeterias while growing up in the uae."

'portrait of a nation' is currently open for viewing and is located at the emirates palace. if in abu dhabi, please do make your way to the show. for more information on the exhibition and timings, head to the link here.
this is definitely not the end of this series and only just the beginning. i would like to document more cafeterias around the uae and create a publication about it so stay tuned folks. thank you admaf for the opportunity, your hard work, and getting me started on this series. i end this post with the illustrations as displayed in the exhibition, as well as an image of khalil abdul wahid's sweet artwork based on my process for this project from his series 'artist tools'.

'cafeterias of the uae' at portrait of a nation . 2016

'artist tools (khalid mezaina)' by khalil abdul wahid . 2016