and one more thing...

in the studio . 2019 (photo by john marshland. courtesy of tashkeel)

so here we are – another year comes to a close. what felt like a really long year is suddenly over, and what a ride 2019 has been. it was a great year in terms of career development – i was able to sort out a studio space at the beginning of the year, co-sharing with mobius design studio at tashkeel, i worked on a couple of new textile projects, lots of freelance gigs, pushing my publication practise, and teaching tons of workshops throughout 2019. i'm truly blessed with what a successful year it has been, and i hope to continue riding this wave into 2020.
with that being said, 2019 was quite exhausting on so many levels. besides working hard, it was really difficult dealing with the cultural scene here and the people involved. as the year progressed, i began feeling very disconnected to an industry that i've worked so hard to be a part of. after graduating from risd last year, i made the conscious decision to move back home and pick up where i left off, because home is where i wanted to be. but what i didn't anticipate was a decline of professionalism and respect by certain clients and industry peers. frankly speaking, it felt like everywhere i turned, i've been disappointed and left uninspired. i didn't feel like making work, or engage with the creative community and the city's cultural events/activities. things have been poorly organised, praised for being successful yet not acknowledging the poor content being presented, and catered to the 'fake it till you make it' crowd (i like to call these people hacks!). i feel 2019 made it normal to support mediocrity, and flaunt it on social media (please don't get me started on how much i dislike the socials!). how did we get here? what went wrong people?! i hope i'm not alone with sharing these sentiments, and i hope whoever's reading this feels the same way. don't get me wrong, i must've slipped on certain occasions with work and deadlines, or dealings with people. but i'd like to think i am conscious of it, and try to be better so it doesn't happen again. i don't think i alone have a solution to these problems, but i think voicing that problems exist is a start. i hope there's more people in the new year who speak up, and contribute to building a better art/design community that's inclusive and inspiring, not dependent on dollar signs (or in this case dirhams), crowds, or hashtags. i hope the right people come together and navigate within the right channels to collectively make change.
and with the frustrations from what's mentioned above comes exhaustion. and with exhaustion comes a lack of self care. 2019 was the year i unfortunately really let things get out of control – i've kept empty promises and lacked any drive or discipline to clean out my living space or to exercise. the latter, i am constantly reminded of by others who feel the need to comment on my weight *insert eye roll*. i really didn't want to be in this place by the end of 2019, yet here i am. maybe this post is a result of 'end of year blues', and i need to start fresh for the new year. i don't know what 2020 has to offer, but i'd like to think that i'll be in a better place mentally, physically and emotionally. 
and with work – i hope i'll be able to filter out all the noise by unnecessary people and spaces, to keep doing my thing, work on the right projects with the right people (and there are a handful of good people here), and to keep on improving. i always tell myself (and others) to keep doing what one does best, not to follow trends (like many people in this town), and the work will speak for itself. everyone has different definitions of success, and i believe even if the rewards aren't immediate, they will come. to still be around and be doing what i love to do must count for something, and i am proud to have come this far. i couldn't have done it without the support of family, loved ones, clients and industry peers that matter. so thank you to those who have made my year a fruitful experience, and i hope we continue this journey together... 
thank you 2019 for all your ups and downs, but i think it's time to say good bye. hope 2020 will be good to us all – wishing all the krossbreed lovers a good time, love and smiles, dancing and creativity! 

season's greetings and a happy new year to everyone. see you on the other side...


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.*