'screen printing: expand your practice' is back

'screen printing: expand your practice' workshop e-vite . 2021

i'm so happy to announce that my workshop series 'screen printing: expand your practice' is back by popular demand! this will be my third time teaching this four week course, and i look forward to meeting a new group of screen printing enthusiasts!
due to pandemic restrictions, the number of participants is strictly limited to only five. so make sure to sign up as soon as you can! 'screen printing: expand your practice' will be held every saturday during the month of february (6, 13, 20 and 27) from 2 – 5 pm, at tashkeel. for more information and to register for the course, head to the workshop page via tashkeel's website here.
during each session, participants will be introduced to a method of screen printing, including making paper stencils, using drawing fluid and screen filler, exposing digitally printed designs onto a silkscreen using photo emulsion, and experimenting with silkscreen mono printing! whether screen printing is new to you, or if you're familiar with it and need to brush up on your skills, this workshop is for you! this is a very experimental course where you'll understand the process behind screen printing and be explorative with the process.
i end this post with a gif of some examples of prints by participants from previous editions of the workshop. as you'll notice, screen printing is fun, and can lead to some awesome results...

select results from previous 'screen printing: expand your practice' workshops . 2020


my time at the cultural foundation

 'khalid mezaina, art residency' video interview . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

my first post of 2021! i hope the new year has been off to a good start for everyone...
i'm back in dubai after my three month art residency at the cultural foundation in abu dhabi. it was great escaping dubai for awhile, especially since i've been unable to travel this year due to the pandemic. even though i've been to the capital on many past occasions, this was the first time i lived there for a duration longer than a week. i don't think abu dhabi is the place for me, but i still enjoyed my time there during my three month stay. i enjoyed being a pedestrian as the weather got better, walking around the city to buy materials, taking photographs, grabbing coffee, or just having time to myself away from everything and everyone. 
what i enjoyed the most during my time at the capital was working independently in the studio, making work for myself and not prescribed to client briefs or exhibition themes. i was reminded of what it means to have a studio practise – to explore, research and experiment. i took the opportunity to use this residency to expand on my textile practise. my topic of interest stemmed from a lack of dancing in 2020. due to the pandemic, i was unable to go out on weekends and enjoy a night out dancing. i wanted to explore my longing for dance through developing a series of 'dancing masks' – researching club cultures, ceremonial textiles and adornment, and symbolic motifs rooted in islamic art and design. i began finding connecting threads between narratives surrounding dance and club culture with the symbolism behind medieval islamic motifs such as the eight pointed star, a motif adorned everywhere around the cultural foundation.
since the residency was only three months, i still have to complete the series of masks i was working on, and create new ones that i have yet to make. i will share a future post focusing on the masks once finished and documented, explaining what it all means! but i'm so happy with the research i began during my time at the residency, expanding on existing explorations on adornment, talismans and protection, as well as communicating themes on transcendence, rituals, myths, and visibility vs. concealment. these narratives all come from my experiences on the dance floor, the reactions from overlooking surrounders, and the result of a year where i was unable to dance, yet dance music and disco reigned supreme!
i conclude this post by directing you all to watch a short interview shared above, which gives you a little glimpse into my experience at the cultural foundation art residency. be prepared for a lot of colour, and sparkle! i've also shared a few photos below to give you a closer look at some of the materials and processes i was working with, and a shameless portrait of me! all images and videos are courtesy of the cultural foundation, department of culture & tourism, abu dhabi.
i end this post with a few thank you's – thank you team cultural foundation for accepting me into the art residency, to all the artists i met during this experience, and to my close friends that made my stay in abu dhabi a pleasant experience (you know who you are).

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)

'khalid mezaina, art residency' image . 2020 (courtesy of the cultural foundation, abu dhabi)


the year that was...

season's greetings . 2020

this post initially started off as a rant about how bad 2020 was. but i think it's pretty clear everyone had an overall awful year. so instead of stating the obvious, i thought i'd share 20 realisations i learnt in 2020:

20 – i survived 2020 and everything this year threw at me! and that's something to be chuffed about i think...
19 – with all the projects that got postponed or canceled, i still had the opportunity to work on projects that are probably some of my favourites (check out earlier posts from this year).
18 – the art/cultural community here are really cliquey. this realisation really made me sad. but all i have to say about it is 'better alone than badly accompanied'.
17 – longevity is key – i'm going to continue making work i want to make, clique and fad free! and i'm confident that i'll be rewarded for it, whether it's tomorrow or when i've left this world behind.
16 – i do really well with being with myself, and realised that it doesn't come easy to many. i hope i continue to be this way...
15 – laughter is the best medicine. and i laughed so much with my sister(s) at home after sharing our daily happenings and comparing receipts about basic people in our community! call it sibling bonding, we enjoy it...
14 – i don't think i can do any more zoom meetings, or attend online art talks that have the same people involved over and over again. 
13 – 2020 brought out the worst in people, including myself. also, people can't differentiate between critique from opinion. and those that perform on social media are really sad. here's paying less attention to unwanted noise in 2021... 
12 – design is so much cooler than art!
11 – someone told me that my work is the positive energy we needed this year. and i love that.
10 – the art residency at the cultural foundation got me excited again about having a studio practise. i can't wait to go back to my studio in dubai and pick up where i left off, and not just prioritise client-based projects.
09 – i like wearing masks. 
08 – i like hanging out with non-art world friends.
07 – i hope people pay attention to my work the same way they're attentive every time i post an online rant!
06 – 2020 was supposed to be the year i celebrated a decade of my practise (and this blog). unfortunately, that didn't happen. maybe i should celebrate in 2021? commemorative 'khalid says dance' tees anyone? or throw an 'everlasting disco' party maybe?!
05 – social media is the bane of humanity's existence. here's to taking a step back from it next year.
04 – i failed prioritising self care this year. 2021 give me the discipline to succeed.
03 – disco never died! thank you jessie ware, róisín murphy & of course, kylie minogue for releasing albums that made the year so much better.
02 – dancing makes me happy, and i will dance again in 2021.
01 – if this year taught me anything, it's that family are who i need the most when everything's falling apart. they're all i have, and i love them so much.

here's to 2021 not being a repeat of this strange year. 2020 was a reset button, and things needed to get really bad for it to get better (i hope). the world is changing so fast – i guess it's all part of this strange journey called life and we're bound to move with these changes to not be left behind. please 2021, whatever you have in store for us, be good to us all.
i end this post with a 'season's greetings' hand stamped print i made for close friends and loved ones – reach out if you'd like one! i might make this an annual end of year tradition. the visuals are from the work i've been creating during my time at the art residency in abu dhabi (more on that in a future post).

season's greetings and a happy new year to everyone. much love...


dear dance floor

'dear dance floor' mini comic . 2020

here's my contribution to the second edition of 'corniche' – a comics anthology published by the sharjah art foundationi'm so happy to be included in both anthologies (to read about last year's corniche, click here).
my contribution this year is 'dear dance floor' – a five page mini comic about my longing for going out to dance. this year was the least i've gone out for a night of dancing because of the covid pandemic, and it's been a very difficult realisation to accept. i felt like i wasn't myself at times, and the opportunity to let out the difficulties of a long, hard week on the dance floor had been taken away from me. i'm hearing about how some of my favourite spaces have not survived this strange year, and have closed their doors permanently. i don't want to think about whether there will be any dance floors left once things go back to normal (whenever that may be). since there's no physical dancing happening in my life, i thought it would be a good idea to create a short comic sharing how i feel. i hope whoever sees this enjoys the end result, and finds it relatable in some way. we're all longing for something that's been lost or missing. let's hope these feelings don't last forever.
thank you nasir nasrallah for having me on board once again in this year's 'corniche' alongside some of the most talented illustrators in town! 'corniche' is now available for purchase at the focal point art book fair (shout out to the focal point team for putting on an amazing fair yet again!), and will also be available at the sharjah art foundation's shop once the fair is over.
below is a little gif of 'dear dance floor' in all it's printed glory! make sure to grab a copy. corniche 2020 is a beautiful book to own...

dear dance floor in corniche . 2020


focal point 2020

focal point art book fair e-vite . 2020

my favourite cultural event in the uae is back! the sharjah art foundation's focal point art book fair is back for a third year and i can't wait! it's the only local event that i get excited for all year and i'm so happy the pandemic didn't cancel this too.
just like every year, a selection of local, regional and international publications will be on display and for sale, from both independent and established publishers, ranging from art books, monographs, comics, zines and other forms of alternative publishing. along with the amazing selection of publications to choose from, there will also be a series of free workshops to attend (with limited capacity of participants) and live music.
i am also happy to announce that a selection of my publications will be available for sale at the fair, including old ones and a couple of mini comics i worked on this year – garden gathering and hoof. i'm also included in the second edition of corniche, a comics anthology with contributions from some of the greatest illustrators in town! more on that in a future blog post, but if you want to know more about last year's edition of corniche, check out the link here. below is a teaser of the wraparound cover for this year's edition, with a beautiful illustration by nasir nasrallah.
focal point will be from 16-19 december 2020. with covid safety precautions in place, attending this year requires booking online and choosing a 2 hour slot during the fair hours in order to manage the crowds. so please make sure to do so – book online here. and for more information and details on this year's edition of focal point, head here. see you all there...

corniche 2020 cover (by nasir nasrallah) . 2020 (courtesy of the sharjah art foundation)


the palm tree of life at dubai design week

the palm tree of life at dubai design week . 2020 (image by fatma al mahmoud)

i'm so happy to announce that my textile piece 'the palm tree of life' is being exhibited at this year's edition of dubai design week. this is the second time this piece is shown – the first being in the 'fashcultivate' exhibition last year at 1971 design space, whom the piece was originally commissioned for and is part of their permanent collection.
the 'fashcultivate' exhibition, curated by khulood bint thani and fatma al mahmoud, returns with a new exhibition design by alya alghfeli. dubai design week is from the 9th until 14th november. so make sure to check it out if you can, and keep your social distancing in check! this exhibition has some great fashion and textile pieces on display – photos don't do it justice. the dubai design week edition of 'fashcultivate' is on display in building 5, at dubai design district (d3). for exhibition and venue details, check out the links here and here.
before ending this post, i'd like to thank khulood for her constant support and inviting me to be a part of this exhibition last year. also a huge thank you to fatma, alya and the entire 1971 team for their efforts in installing the show, their constant updates over whatsapps and dm's, and making sure it all looks great for the public to enjoy...


if speech is silver...continued

if speech is silver... (body wrap) . 2019

if speech is silver... (sarong) . 2019

if speech is silver... (shirt) . 2019

if speech is silver... (mask) . 2020

hello november – this strange year is almost coming to a close. hopefully, no more surprises until then...
i'm happy to announce my textile series 'if speech is silver...' will be exhibited once again some time early next year. for those that missed the exhibition and post about this particular textile series, check out last year's post here. in addition to the 3 textile pieces created last year (body wrap, sarong and shirt), i was commissioned to create an additional textile piece for next year's exhibition. keeping with the theme of talismanic textiles, i created a face mask, inspired by the traditional face covering worn around the middle east, commonly known as a 'burqa' or 'battulah'. and just like the previous pieces, i incorporated letters from an ancient script that was among the many languages preceding arabic, titled 'dadanitic' – commonly used in regions around today's saudi arabia. here's a short description about the new edition to the collection:

the tradition of face coverings and wearing masks in the region is deeply prominent, rooted in the region’s history and culture. concealing one’s face happens for various reasons, be it religious, a form of modesty, or protection from various factors including weather. even though covering one’s face in the region is commonly practised amongst women, there are some instances where men cover their face as well.
by adorning the battulah with select letters from the dadanitic script that reference talismanic symbols, the mask will carry properties that protect the wearer when worn. can a mask with symbolic protective powers serve a purpose in today’s world? looking back at 2020, covering one’s face has become extremely prevalent, with mandatory mask wearing a common practise in most parts of the world. there is a sense of pertinence to reviving age-old traditions of wearing talismanic garments for these uncertain times – protection is both a physical and intangible force.

i'm really happy with how the mask turned out. it really does feel talismanic with its combination of patterns, motifs and symbols, pigments and dyes, embroidery and fringe – all carrying talismanic properties based on textile traditions.
stay tuned for a future post announcing the exhibition details. until then, enjoy looking at the complete 'if speech is silver...' collection. this is the first time i photographed my textile works prior to sending them off to exhibit – usually i photograph my works at the show. i have to thank my buddy azim for all his help in assisting with the setup and photography. i should definitely invest more time in photographing future textile works, and maybe invest in a textile display stand!