end of fall '17

fall semester inspiration board (detail) . 2017

midterm presentation . 2017

end of semester final presentation . 2017 (image courtesy of mays albeik)

end of semester final presentation . 2017 (image courtesy of mays albeik)

end of semester final presentation . 2017 (image courtesy of mays albeik)

end of semester final presentation . 2017 (image courtesy of mays albeik)

end of semester final presentation . 2017 (image courtesy of mays albeik)

another semester done, and only a semester away before i graduate! it's so crazy how time flies. this semester was definitely a whirlwind filled with mixed emotions and a lot of frustrations. but i'm glad my textile peers and i managed to survive through it all and have a good semester in terms of the work we produced.
my main textile project for fall was working on a collection of 'wearable' pieces inspired by male representations in the uae from over the years. researching various motifs, objects and symbols from the uae's past, as well as recent social/political developments that have created new representations of patriotism and nationalistic pride, i created a collection of textiles that combine various male archetypes as well as creating homegrown 'superheroes'. some archetypes presented include the leader, the soldier, the comedian, the urban patriot, the chameleon – and when one wears these particular fabrics, they embody these heroic archetypes. 
for a semester's work, i think i ended up in a really good place to take this project further into my thesis in the spring semester. i really enjoyed experimenting on what were initally plain fabrics, bringing them to life with printing exciting patterns and symbols. stay tuned to see where this project goes and evolves during my final semester at risd (gulp!). 


have a cup of karak for uae national day

karak house for uae national day . 2017

karak house for uae national day pattern design . 2017

karak house uae national day limited edition cups (image courtesy of karak house) . 2017

karak house uae national day limited edition cups (image courtesy of karak house) . 2017

karak house uae national day limited edition cups (image courtesy of karak house) . 2017

karak house uae national day limited edition cups (image courtesy of karak house) . 2017

happy national day to the united arab emirates. the uae turns 46 today, and i wish i was back home to be around the festivities. i'm sending lots of patriotic love all the way from providence.
here's a little post sharing my contribution to mark the occasion. i was approached by dubai based restaurant/cafe karak house, to create an illustration for uae national day. the final illustrated pattern is being used as a limited edition wraparound design on their paper cups for serving 'karak' tea.
i'm really happy with how the cups turned out. it looks super festive, cool, and comes in two color options to add a little variety for consumers to choose from. make sure to head to karak house and order a cup of chai karak, and you'll get to keep (don't throw them away!) your very own limited edition cups. 
a big thank you goes out to the karak house team for reaching out to work together. i'm so happy with the final result. here's to possible collaborations in the near future.
lastly, i dedicate this post to the uae – i'm proud of being from the emirates, and to call you my home. may you grow and prosper always...


are you local?

are you local? . 2017
are you local? at weltformat dxb, dubai design week (image courtesty of mobius design studio) . 2017
weltformat dxb exhibition poster (designed by mobius design studio) . 2017

it's dubai design week and i'm happy to be a part of it in some small way, even though i'm all the way at risd. my dear friends at mobius design studio have worked on another edition of design house, this year being an exhibition of poster designs by creatives from the mena region. titled 'weltformat dxb', the exhibition is in collaboration with tashkeel, weltformat, engy aly, and pro-helvetia cairo.
the weltformat dxb show is comprised of 2 exhibitions – one of poster designs from lucerne, switzerland, and a second showcase of poster designs from the middle east and north africa (which i'm a part of). poster designs are in response to the theme of 'delusions and errors', presenting designers' explorations of embracing imperfections of various processes, malfunctions, and the unpredictability of different methodologies of working. 
my poster design is titled 'are you local?'. here is a brief description – there are standard notions of what it means to be from the united arab emirates. over the years, new social/political developments within the country have created new representations of nationalistic pride and patriotism, especially within the roles placed on gender. as someone who is from the emirates, i sometimes feel a disconnect towards certain representations of showcasing national pride. however, that doesn’t in any way make me less patriotic. i’m curious as to whether there can be other representations of what it means to be from the emirates, without conforming to cultural norms.
to those currently in dubai, i highly recommend you check out the show because it looks great. the exhibition runs from the 13th - 18th november 2017, at dubai design district (d3). also make sure to head to tashkeel to check out more posters which are being exhibited in their gallery space, as well as sign up for their really cool poster themed workshops. for more information head here.


halloween 2017

happy halloween . 2017

taking a mental break from school assignments to work on a quick halloween illustration. 
it's that time of year again! i didn't really partake in any halloween festivities over the weekend, because i believe halloween should be celebrated on the actual day. i unfortunately have classes on halloween, but if i have energy, might step out and celebrate.
wishing everyone a happy halloween. be safe and hope everyone's having a spooky time! & i hope you like the illustration...


studies for a sikka story for art4sight

studies for a sikka story . 2017

art4sight invite . 2017

art4sight is back for its latest edition, and i am happy to be a part of it once again. i've been contributing to noor dubai's great cause for the last few years (here's previous contributions from 2014 and 2015), doing my part in helping cure preventative blindness and restoring the gift of sight to hundreds in need around the world. i hope my contributions have made a difference to someone out there. 
for this year's edition, i've donated a one-off print titled 'studies for a sikka story'. the motifs in the print are originally from my research last semester for my final project (see more on it here). i've presented my illustrated motifs collectively as a digital archival print for the auction. if anyone's interested in charms, talismans and symbolism on masculinity, this print is for you!
art4sight is happening on wednesday, 11 october 2017, from 6pm at dubai design district (see above invite for details). to everyone in dubai – if you'd like to buy some art, and contribute to restoring someone's sight, please make sure to attend art4sight and do your part for the cause.
a special thanks goes out to dr. manal taryam and the noor dubai team for always reaching out and asking for my work to be a part of the show. also, thank you tashkeel for taking care of printing and delivery whilst i'm away. much appreciated.



charmed . 2017

charmed at thejamjar . 2017 (photo courtesy of thejamjar)

charmed at thejamjar . 2017 (photo courtesy of thejamjar)

charmed at thejamjar . 2017 (photo courtesy of thejamjar)

charmed at thejamjar . 2017 (photo courtesy of thejamjar)

i recently worked on a small project with thejamjar, one of dubai's first community art spaces, on their latest project – 'occupy'. occupy provides an opportunity for artists to take over thejamjar's front window at the entrance of their space, and create works which will then be displayed. 
i took inspiration from charms and talismanic objects people use to shun away bad mojo and bring good luck. my favourite ones are the inanimate objects people hang outside their shops and/or homes. these charms, usually hung above the entrance doors of a particular space, give an indication of religious backgrounds and beliefs. spaces are blessed either with religious phrases of varied languages, significant numbers, recognisable “hamsa’s", or a collection of bound citrus and spices.
for it's third edition, i created a window display about the notion of installing charmed visuals at the entranceways of occupied spaces. the final display includes a mythical three-headed, neutered street cat (inspired by the feline community found around al quoz). the final display represents a personal interpretation of shunning away bad luck and giving protection to an art space, i.e. thejamjar.
my charmed cats will be on display until the end of the year so make sure to head to alserkal avenue and see it in person. say hello, take photos! a big thank you goes out to hetal and thejamjar team for the opportunity.


from abu dhabi to berlin

'portrait of a nation' exhibition invite . 2017

i'm happy to announce that my illustration series 'cafeterias of the uae', part of last year's admaf exhibition 'portrait of a nation' will be exhibited in berlin this month until the end of october. 
the complete 'portrait of a nation' collection has been transported to berlin to be showcased during this year's edition of berlin art week. if you missed it in abu dhabi, and happen to be in berlin over the next couple of months, make sure to head to the me collection room berlin where the show will be on display.
the berlin edition of 'portrait of a nation' is from 13 september - 29 october 2017. for more information, make sure to head to the 'portrait of a nation' website for complete updates on the exhibition, and supporting scheduled events and activities.
along with my illustration series, i've also stocked some of my products at the venue's shop, including some classic krossbreed tees, city portraits sketchbooks, and my big city trails activity book. make sure to buy some goodies. they make great presents!
to the krossbreed berliners, enjoy the show. i end this post with a little teaser shot of my work in the gallery space, courtesy of my friend salama nasib who is also one of the participating artists, as well as a little video which gives you more information on myself and the illustration series.

'cafeterias of the uae' in portrait of a nation berlin . 2017 (photograph courtesy of salama nasib)


majlis al midfa

majlis al midfa . 2016

just around the end of my first semester at grad school, i was approached by shurooq to be one of their contributing artists to create an illustration used as trophy artworks. the theme of the artwork was based on one of sharjah's historical, traditional buildings, majlis al midfa – famously known for having a cylindrical shaped windtower instead of the standard, rectangular windtowers commonly found in historical architecture from the region.
my contribution was a simple black & white illustration of the famous structure. i do hope whoever is rewarded this illustration enjoys it and gives it a happy home...


carolina + jeff

carolina + jeff . 2017
carolina + jeff wedding invite . 2017

here's a short post congratulating my textiliar friend carolina on getting married to her special jeff. earlier this year, carolina asked me to illustrate the happy couple in my particular style, which would be included in their wedding invitation. the simple illustration you see above was printed as a card, and included in their wedding invitation pack. i was so happy to see how my illustration worked really well with the overall visuals of their wedding invite.
even though i've only known carolina for a year through the textiles mfa program at risd, i was truly honoured when she asked me to contribute to her special day through my drawings. unfortunately i couldn't be in mexico this month for the wedding as i'm home for the summer. but i am definitely there in spirit. congratulations carolina + jeff. i wish you all the best on this new chapter in your lives shared together. much love...


off the wall

primitive . 2017

memory . 2017

signage . 2017

home . 2017

here's a short post about a collection of screen printed wallpaper designs i worked on for a course titled 'off the wall'. the course focused on creating designs for wallpaper application; creating unique designs that work in space.
the designs above show the work i did in response to assignment prompts. to briefly describe each – the first pattern is a humorous ode to culture back home, the second, a memory of playing with my toys as a child under the stairs of my old home. the third is a collection of funny shop signs found around old districts of dubai, and the last design was a collaboration between a classmate and i about calling big cities our home.
it's interesting to see the collection altogether and how my style changed overtime. i had with a very polished, graphic style in my earlier wallpapers, and eventually moved to a more messy and experimental style with the latter. i really enjoyed the course and am glad i had the opportunity to understand working on a spatial scale. i look forward to working on more wallpaper designs in the near future.


year one done

a sikka story 2 (textile) . 2017

a sikka story 2 (textile) . 2017

a sikka story 2 (textile) . 2017

a sikka story 1 (textile) . 2017

end of semester review prep . 2017

collection phase 1 . 2017

in the studio . 2017

monuments box . 2017

end of semester review . 2017

i survived my first year of grad school! how time flies. it only felt like yesterday where i was a nervous wreck, making my way to america to begin a new chapter in my life. looking back, it took awhile to adjust, but the last year has definitely been fun.
this post mainly focuses on the project i worked on during the spring semester. over the course of the programme, i developed an interest in creating textiles for apparel. my inspirations came from a bunch of places, specifically looking at dress in the middle east. i heavily researched the idea of adornment, traditional attire from the gulf, and visual motifs or objects that define masculinity. using my experiences of dubai as a starting point, the project evolved overtime into a collection of textiles that performed as wraps for the male form, with motifs screen printed over the textiles that communicate the status of the male wearer when adorned with these fabrics.
i loved experimenting on the table with manipulating fabric surfaces and experimenting with dyeing techniques. there's still so much to learn, but i think i'm in a good place after completing my first year, ready to tackle with what's ahead in the coming year. stay tuned to future posts during my second year, and my thesis project (gulp!).


mezze wars

illustration for 'the controversial kitchen: making sense of mezze' . 2017
illustration for 'the controversial kitchen: making sense of mezze' . 2017
illustration for 'the controversial kitchen: making sense of mezze' . 2017
illustration for 'the controversial kitchen: making sense of mezze' . 2017

my friend isaac oommen and i recently collaborated on an article for the independent, online publishing platform mashallah news. isaac and i have been friends since high school, and it was so cool to have finally worked together on a project using both our talents. isaac is a great writer, and worked on an article focusing on the timeless conflict over mezze (middle eastern appetizers), and the claims to where it originates from. my contribution complementing isaac's writing was a series of illustrations highlighting certain sections of the article, including an illustrative portrait of chef anissa helou, and a humorous gif of the word 'mezze/appetizer' in various languages from the countries that claims its origin.
to read the full article, head to the link herethank you mashallah news for this fun opportunity. and to isaac for spearheading the project. to more collaborations in the near future. happy reading!


my zines at diy cultures

zine fair, diy cultures e-flyer . 2017
zines, comics & alternatives at diy cultures . 2017 (photo courtesy of reconnecting arts)

it's been awhile since my last blog post. let's just say it's been a pretty intense semester! i do promise to update my blog once the semester is over. i have lots to share about a few recent projects and my explorations in grad school, so stay tuned.
for now, i wanted to share info on this really exciting zine fair i am happy to be a part of. i was invited to showcase my zines at this year's diy cultures zine fair in london. reconnecting arts, a platform supporting middle eastern creatives, will be participating at diy cultures, showcasing and selling zines, comics and other independent publications by various talented creatives.
if you're in london this month, make sure to head to diy cultures on sunday, 14th may from 12-7pm. for more information make sure to check out diy cultures' facebook event page, as well as reconnecting arts' event page.
thank you reconnecting arts for the opportunity to participate at diy cultures. also, a belated thank you for this awesome article featuring a selection of my zines on your website, written by the just as awesome jaffat el aqlam.  
i end this post with the fun diy cultures 2017 e-flyer below. everyone in london, if you're reading this, head down to diy cultures.

diy cultures 2017 e-flyer . 2017


postcards from dubai

snacks & bakes cafeteria . 2016

wadi al narjes tailoring & embroidery . 2016

last year, i was invited by noor shamma to submit a couple of artworks for the postcard initiative, which is an ongoing initiative endorsed by the noor dubai foundation to help cure preventative blindness. these original postcards will be sold, and proceeds from sales will help cure blindness in developing countries.
above are the two submissions i worked on during my fall semester at risd last year. i was getting back into using watercolours for one of my class assignments, and wanted to use watercolours on these postcards as well. i really liked the end results, and i hope whoever purchases these will like them as well. i hope these postcards found a happy home, and helped with someone's eyesight somewhere in this world.
thank you noor for allowing me to be a part of the postcard initiative, and contributing to noor dubai foundation's amazing cause.