11.11.19

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.

9.11.19

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.

7.11.19

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!

28.10.19

fashcultivate

'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!

3.10.19

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...

2.10.19

blaze

'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

1.10.19

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.