final activities for 2019

'shifts to maneuver: shape-shifting texts & other publishing tactics' at warehouse 421 e-vite . 2019

'jaddaf aloud!' at jameel art centre e-vite . 2019

'winter camp 2019' at tashkeel e-vite . 2019

announcing a final few participations before the year is officially over. i can't believe 2019 is almost coming to a close. and what better way then to end the year with some exciting exhibition and workshop participations! below is a list of what i'll be occupied with during the final month of the year:

i am happy to be included in an 'alternative publishings' exhibition titled 'how to maneuver: shape-shifting texts and other publishing tactics' at warehouse 421, abu dhabi. curated by maha maamoun and ala younis, the duo behind the publishing initiative kayfa ta, the exhibition looks at different publishing practises that have emerged in the region over the years, highlighting certain publication projects and initiatives, as well as looking at the need for the creation of such printed matter. 'how to maneuver [...]' opens on tuesday, 10 december from 6pm onwards. a shout out goes to ala and maha – thank you for reaching out and having me included in the show. for more information on the show please head here.

my next participation is at jameel art centre's one year anniversary event titled 'jaddaf aloud!'. the centre is hosting a full day of activities for the community-at-large, ranging from workshops, live music and performances, a makers market, and more. i'll be facilitating a stamp-printing on various surfaces workshop between 4 – 5.30 pm for everyone interested, targeting children and young creatives. 'jaddaf aloud!' happens on friday, 13 december from 2 – 10pm. if you want a fun day out with your friends or family, please come down. for more information, please head to the event page here.

lastly, i will be facilitating a final set of workshops for tashkeel's 2019 winter camp series. 'tashkeel winter camp 2019' happens on 15 – 19 december, hosting a variety of fun workshops for children and young creatives from the ages of 8 – 14. i will be offering a 'stamp patterns on textiles' workshop on sunday 15 december, where participants will create stamps to print various patterns on textiles, inspired by animal skin patterns (or anything they really fancy to be honest!). i will be hosting the workshop twice on the same day – from 10am – 1pm for kids 8 – 11 years of age, and from 2 – 5pm for kids 12 – 14 years of age. for more information and to register for the morning session (10am – 1pm), please head to the workshop page here. and to register for the afternoon session (2 – 5pm), head here.

if you're in abu dhabi (or plan to go soon), make sure to check out the exhibition 'how to maneuver [...] which runs until 16 feb 2020 (my birthday!). and if you're in dubai this friday, do come with family and loved ones and say hi at 'jaddaf aloud!'. and if you want to get your children's hand's dirty with some fun printing on textiles, please sign up for tashkeel's winter camp workshops. hope to see you all at one (or all) of these upcoming events!


sketchbook safari

'sketchbook safari' workshop e-vite . 2019

happy 48th to the country i call home! and what better way to celebrate than by signing up for a 'sketchbook safari'! 
it's been awhile since i've facilitated a walkabout around 'old dubai'. the last one was way back in 2015 (see here). 4 years later, i'm happy to be offering 'sketchbook safari' with the support of my tashkeel fam! the one day safari will focus on exploring areas around the creek on foot, starting in bur dubai then crossing over via abra to deira, all with a sketchbook in hand. participants will respond to drawing prompts during the safari, sketching moments and observations they find interesting or exciting. by the end of the safari, i hope everyone will have lovely sketchbooks filled with drawings of moments they'd like to cherish forever.
sketchbook safari happens on saturday 7 december, from 10am – 2pm. the meeting point will be tashkeel al fahidi (house 10) in the historical neighbourhood in bur dubai. for more information and to signup, head to the workshop page here.
looking forward to meeting sketching enthusiasts very soon. don't forget to bring your sketchbooks, and make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

* update on 5 december 2019: 'sketchbook safari' has been canceled due to lack of signups. hopefully we'll be able to offer the workshop again some time soon, while the weather is still good.*



'blaze' for corniche comic book . 2019

if you're a follower of my blog, you might've noticed my interest in making comics. this year, i attended a few book fairs and comic festivals, including elcaf, cairo comix, and the recent second edition of focal point in sharjah. i've been so inspired by all the amazing printed matter i've come across, i'm so ready to get back into making more publications and zines. i love telling stories, and comics/zines is such a fun way to do so.
i worked on a couple of mini comics and zines this year, and i'm so happy to announce that one of my stories has been included in a publication! 'corniche', launched at this year's focal point, is an anthology of collected mini comics and short stories created by some of the coolest creatives in town during a comic makers workshop in the end of september, organised by the sharjah art foundation. i'm so honoured that my mini comic 'blaze' is included in 'corniche', and even more excited to be published alongside such awesome talent. each story is so unique and fun to read, and the cover illustration is by the one and only nasir nasrallah. you must get your own copy, especially if you're a comics aficionado like myself. 'corniche' is currently sold at the foundation's shop. head down there to grab a copy, or get in touch and i can help you out. 
thank you to the saf team for having me involved in 'corniche'. this is the first time a comic of mine is published in a book. i hope everyone who owns a copy enjoys the stories included.


the palm tree of life

the palm tree of life . 2019

the palm tree of life . 2019

the palm tree of life . 2019

the palm tree of life . 2019

the palm tree of life . 2019

here it is, my latest textile piece – the palm tree of life! if you didn't catch my previous post/announcement, i'm exhibiting new textile work in the group exhibition 'fashcultivate' at 1971: design space, sharjah. the exhibition showcases commissioned works by seven talented designers whose practise focus on fashion and/or textiles. as someone who's trying to keep an ongoing textiles practise, i was so glad to be invited to participate in the show.
to briefly explain the theme of the exhibition, the participating designers were requested to make works responding to the date palm, as it is an important tree in the history of the region and nation – a source for food, shelter, and material used in weaving traditional crafts. for my contribution, i wanted to create work that was a true reflection of my personal relationship with the date palm. below is my artist statement which sums up very well the theme behind my piece:

"my connection with the palm tree doesn’t involve an appreciation for dates, or the ability to weave it’s fronds. with much respect towards the vitality and historical relevance of the date palm throughout the region and nation i call home, my attachment with this tree goes beyond the expected. the palm tree has become a sort of recurring visitor in my life; an ageless symbol revealing itself in specific moments.
a palm tree first appeared during my high school days to inform fellow students that ‘the end crowns the work’. it re-emerged to accompany me at university, flanking the main campus walkways and university main building. from bank notes to institutional logos, little man-made islands and expressive markings on walls, the iconic tree has embodied different forms throughout my life, and to this day is always there to say hello! i’ve repeatedly included the palm tree as a visual element throughout my works, be it as a symbol of local culture, or for standing the test of time as the nation constantly evolves – the palm tree stands tall today as the city’s modern towers continue to rise.
i’d like to honour my friend the palm tree, for keeping me grounded and guiding me through life when i least expected it. through researching regional motifs and their symbolic significance, motifs representing the palm tree evoke an immediate reference to the magical ‘tree of life’. the palm tree has become my ‘tree of life’ – providing me with it’s fruit of knowledge, and shelter when protection is needed. ‘the palm tree of life’ is a memorialised depiction of my personal, symbolic relationship with the palm tree, in the form of a carpet. when unfurled to stand upon, i feel protected, grounded, and informed on where life’s journey will take me next.'

the final carpet as seen above is quite exaggerated in scale, and quite minimal in style in comparison to 'islamic' carpets i was  looking at as sources of inspiration during the research process. the final piece includes block printing, appliqué and embroidery techniques that make up the final 'the palm tree of life'. i'm really happy with how it turned out, considering the amount of difficulties i encountered during the production of this piece, especially when trying to find an embroiderer to work with. regardless, i really like the end result, and feel it is a true reflection of myself and the work i do, quite recognisable when placed with the other beautiful pieces in the show.
i'd really like to thank the curators fatma and khulood for inviting me to be a part of the show. a huge thanks also goes to the 1971 team for taking care of the work as i handed it over for exhibition and inclusion in their permanent collection (congratulations to me!). to the tailors and embroiderers who helped on this, thank you for eventually warming up to the idea of working on such a large piece! lastly, to my friends who were around during stressful times to make sure i didn't give into defeat, thank you.
'fashcultivate' is currently on view, and closes on 8 feb 2020. there's plenty of time to check out the show, so make sure you do if you still haven't. for more information on the exhibition, head here.


narrative patterns at dubai design week

narrative patterns workshop e-vite . 2019

dubai design week is right around the corner! as part of their workshop programme, i will be hosting a 'narrative patterns' workshop, where participants will create stamps to print patterns with onto various surfaces. participants are encouraged to bring their own surfaces they'd like to print on (such as t-shirts, tote bags, etc.). i will also be providing plain fabrics to print on as well.
the theme of the workshop is to work on patterns that communicate a story or narrative, using limited resources and materials that are inexpensive. that way, participants can repeat the process taught at the workshop in their homes or studios if they don't have access to a fully functional printshop. the workshop will begin with a brief presentation about patterns and their various applications, and a quick demonstration on how to create stamps that will be used during the printing process. the remainder of the workshop will allow participants to get their hands dirty to create their own stamps and print various repeat pattern applications onto their chosen surface.
'narrative patterns' will happen on wednesday, 13 november, from 12:30 – 2:30 pm at the 'making space' in building 5, dubai design district (d3). this workshop will have a fee of aed 100, which will be paid in cash on the day. if you'd like to register, please send me an email on khalid.mezaina@gmail.com to confirm your spot – spaces are limited to 10 seats only. for more information on the workshop, please head to the event page here.
if you've missed my previous printing on textiles workshops, now's your chance! looking forward to seeing you all at the workshop.


focal point 2019

focal point art book fair e-vite . 2019

the sharjah art foundation's focal point art book fair is back! and i'm so excited to be a part of it again. for it's second edition, the fair will be highlighting independent and mainstream printed matter from local, regional and international publishers, as well as (my favourite part about this year) focusing on comics and zines!!!
my publications will be available for sale once again on the foundation's curated table. i'll be stocking current titles such as big city trails, capes make the man, fade away & illustrate one & twofeast: shopopolis, never forget: an illustrated guide to dubai's best kept secrets, we met on the dance floor, and titles i worked on this year including drag partysaturdaze and blaze, the latter being featured in the foundation's upcoming publication titled 'corniche' – a collected anthology of mini comics resulting from the comic makers workshop in september.
focal point happens from 14–16 november, at bait al shamsi. for more details on focal point, head to the event page here.
i'm so looking forward to focal point this year, and i hope to see a lot of familiar faces too!



'fashcultivate' evite . 2019

i'm happy to announce my participation in 1971 - design space's upcoming exhibition – 'fashcultivate'. the exhibition will showcase newly commissioned works by a group of artists and designers focusing on fashion and textiles. each participant created new works inspired by the 'phoenix dactylifera', better known as the date palm tree.
it feels like 2019 is the year where i introduce my textiles practise to the art community! with my first textile project post grad school at the beginning of the year (see here), along with showcasing my thesis project at tashkeel (see here), i'm so glad to have squeezed one more textile project before the year's up. the piece for this exhibition is quite different from my previous textile works – i tend to work on textile pieces for the body. however on this occasion, i decided to work on a 'carpet', referencing the rich culture of ornamental, islamic carpets from the region. i won't reveal much just yet, so stay tuned for a future post revealing the final piece with accompanying information.
until then, i hope whoever's reading this can make it to sharjah for the opening of 'fashcultivate' on saturday 2 november 2019, from 4.30pm onwards. for details on 'fashcultivate' head to the exhibition page here. see you at the opening!


today at apple...with me

today at apple's art lab w/ khalid mezaina invite . 2019

i am happy to announce that i will be giving a talk and workshop at the apple store in dubai mall, as part of october's programming for 'today at apple' – a monthly series of talks and workshops for those interested in getting a bit creative! october also marks the 2019 edition of the big draw festival – a visual literacy charity that promotes drawing as a tool for expression, learning and invention. i am truly honoured to be one of the invited participants for today at apple's inclusion and support of the big draw festival.
titled 'art lab: a 10-year retrospective with khalid mezaina', my talk will look back at my art practise over the last ten years. as 2020 marks a decade of my blog and career as an artist, i thought it would be a good idea to share my journey over the years, some examples of works, and sharing my experiences in the creative industry in dubai.
after the talk, there will be a short workshop exploring drawing with analog and digital tools, and how they can complement each other. in my practise, i tend to draw manually for almost every project, but digitally drawing does comes in handy, especially when working with tight deadlines, or if you want a clean, crisp look to your final product. the workshop will start with participants drawing with a pencil or pen on paper, and then move onto drawing digitally using an ipad and apple pencil. the workshop will conclude with a brief feedback session on everyone's works, discussing what was successful (or not) when working on drawings using both manual and digital tools.
please save the date and i hope you can make it on tuesday, 15 october, from 7.00 - 8.30pm. for more information and to mark your calendar, head to the event page on apple's website herelooking forward to seeing you all...



'blaze' mini comic . 2019

illustrations for 'blaze' mini comic . 2019

i recently participated in another super fun zine making workshop organised by nasir nasrallah and the sharjah art foundation (see previous post on first workshop here). the second iteration invited comic artists and illustrators to work on mini comics over the course of 3 days (with a little extension added after). once again, the results from the workshop would be included in this year's edition of the focal point art book fair. the theme for this year's fair is zines and comics, so i personally am really excited for it, and even more ecstatic to be a part of it. what's even more exciting is that all the collected results from the workshop will be compiled into a publication, which will be launched at the fair. it's going to be an amazing anthology, and i can't wait to get my hands on a copy!
the mini comic i came up with is titled 'blaze' which is inspired by a graffitied creature i stumbled upon on one of my many nights out in deira. it was the last thing i thought i would find as i drove around the area in search of parking! i instantly fell in love with this character, and had to stop the car to take a picture. there was the word 'blaze' tagged next to it, so i assume that's the name of the creature, or perhaps the name of the creator of this little fellow! i absolutely fell in love with this spontaneous gesture on a wall, and wanted to tell a story with 'blaze' as the main character. the 10 page mini comic is a short story of a passerby's encounter with the creature called 'blaze', and the adventure that came next.
it was so much fun working on this, and it's great hearing what people think about it when i show it to them. if you're reading this post, i hope you enjoy it too! to nasir and the sharjah art foundation – thank you once again for an amazing workshop and inviting me to be a part of it. to more workshops like these in the near future.
don't forget, make sure to come to the focal point art book fair in november. stay tuned for a future post announcing the fair and the dates. until then, i end this post sharing a photo of the original graffitied 'blaze' that inspired the mini comic you see above. and by chance, if the artist behind the graffiti below reads this, i hope you like the mini comic you inspired. please reach out – we should catch up over a coffee!

photograph of original 'blaze' graffiti in deira . 2019


capes come home

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

'capes make the man' at tashkeel's 'the alumni return' . 2019 (image courtesy of tashkeel)

i am so happy to be a part of tashkeel's current exhibition 'the alumni return', showcasing eight masters thesis projects by artists who traveled to pursue graduate level education in the arts, and have moved backed home over the last year or so. not only am i exhibiting alongside some of my closest friends and peers, i'm so happy to be exhibiting my project 'capes make the man' in my hometown, and in the institution i call my second home.
it was great hearing people's thoughts on the work during the exhibition opening, comparing it to people's reactions back in the united states during my time at risd. the audience over here immediately get the references and the motifs adorning the capes, and understood the reasoning behind the project when explaining the backstory behind it. along with the exhibited artworks, our thesis dissertations/books are also out on view in the library upstairs during the duration of the show, for anyone interested in reading our individual writing components to our thesis. you definitely won't miss mine, which is in a zine format then a formal dissertation paper! 
the show is quite exquisite, with works ranging from textiles, printmaking, sculpture, sequential art (aka comic books), video and performance. even though eveyone's projects are so different, there are connecting threads and narratives throughout the show – themes on a sense of longing, missing 'home' whilst away, personal stories and commentaries. if you're reading this, please do check out the exhibit, and take in some amazing thesis works. plus the show is filled with freebies, including a variety of stickers by my capes for people to take, as well as soap by my friend and fellow exhibitor azim al ghussein, and a beautiful catalogue which documents the exhibition and the artworks included.
the exhibition is currently open and running until october 29. for more information on 'the alumni return' head to exhibition page on tashkeel's website here. make sure not to miss the exhibition programming, including panel talks and workshops, all mentioned in the exhibition page – just keep scrolling!
thank you tashkeel for allowing my thesis project to be exhibited a year on after graduating from risd. it's such an honour to be showcasing these pieces in dubai – my capes finally came home.


come curious, leave inspired

nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover final (front/back) . 2019

nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover application on collateral . 2019

nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover (digital) . 2019

dancing figures used in pattern . 2019

i'm very happy to be sharing the cover i designed for the new york university abu dhabi (nyuad) the art center's 2019-2020 season programme. i was approached by the center's team during my time at risd, and was unfortunately unable to work on it as i was occupied with school. but i'm so glad that they waited until i moved back home to work together.
for the cover, the brief was pretty simple – they wanted a fresh take for their cover, and have a minimal approach in comparison to their previous editions. i also had to work around this season's theme which was 'come curious, leave inspired'. with that in mind, i began working on a pattern which at first glance looks like an ordinary, organic pattern. but when taking a closer look, one notices the pattern is made up of overlapping and repeating dancing figures! it made sense to me to create a pattern based on choreography for the art center since their programming is filled with performances which include dance and various forms of movement on the stage.
the project went through a series of rounds until we settled on the final design you see above. the final design includes a narrow application of the pattern on the right end of the cover over a red background (this season's main theme colour). i've also shared some of the iterations for the cover at the end of this post which i thought were pretty fun.
to end this post, i'd really like to thank clive from the art center for initially reaching out and working together on this cover. i look forward to working together on future editions if the opportunity arises. and if anyone reading this is in abu dhabi, make sure to head down to nyuad to pick up a copy, and also make sure to attend some of the shows and performances – it's a really good season.

nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover (round 1) . 2019 

nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover (round 2) . 2019
nyuad the arts center season 19/20 cover (round 3) . 2019



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...