to glow at night

to glow at night . 2021

to glow at night (back face detail) . 2021

to glow at night (front face detail) . 2021
to glow at night at 'portrait of a nation II: beyond narratives' . 2022 (image courtesy of admaf)

i worked on new textile work at the end of last year, which is currently on display at the 'portrait of a nation II: beyond narratives' exhibition in abu dhabi. it's my latest large scale textile work since 2019, and i'm pretty proud of it! i think i'm slowly beginning to figure out the answers to why i make textile work – it takes me away from my digital screens, it's an analogue process of making that i find therapeutic, and it's my way of making things that feel magical or talismanic that carry personal properties of healing. i love looking at historical regional textile traditions and what textile adornment symbolised. i'd like to think that these forgotten motifs and meanings can exist in today's world. and i think that's what i'm trying to answer as i make these works.
this is my second participation in abu dhabi music & arts foundation (admaf)'s 'portrait of a nation' (see my participation in the first iteration of the exhibition here). i was happy to be invited to participate again, this time with textile work. below is the statement about the new work, titled 'to glow at night':

over recent years, there has been a rekindling of my relationship with certain neighbourhoods around dubai. deira has always been an area that symbolises what the city means to me. it’s where my family comes from, where memories of my childhood live, and where i continue to go looking for inspiration.
i mostly frequent deira when the sun goes down, observing a side to the city that becomes more visible at night. it’s on these outings where i’ve been introduced to genres of music that have filled my heart, and pulled me towards multiple dance floors of nightclubs in the area. it’s in these spaces where i’ve fallen in love with afro-pop, dancing to dj playlists of commercial hits, or to live music by a five piece band with accompanying dancers.
it’s in these spaces where i’ve realised how dancing heals me. it’s become a weekend ritual – shedding the woes of the work week, fuelling my soul by dancing under disco balls, party lights, and music. these night clubs feel talismanic; a space to momentarily exercise a form of collective healing, freedom, and protection from outside (real world) forces. and by way of adornment, one becomes an extension of these talismanic, clubbing experiences – bodies intensified by lights, sounds, smells within the consuming shadows of the dance floor. it’s a journey, a moment of escape – to lose yourself, or maybe find yourself, in the process. ‘to glow at night’ is a tangible ode to my relationship with deira’s many dance floors, that have healed and protected me when the world outside was unable to.

my work since the pandemic has taken a tangential turn, focusing on my longing for the dance floor. by the end of 2021, i was finally able to change my longing to celebrating these memories, creating work in anticipation for when clubs reopen fully, and i can dance again. 'to glow at night' is all disco, sparkle, and celebration personified! i would like to document it when activated on a body – i hope i make time to do so.
if in abu dhabi, please do check out the exhibition at manarat al saadiyat, which runs until 16 april 2022. to know more about the exhibition and programming (i'll be teaching an online workshop myself!), please head to the exhibition page here.
one last thing to share – i created a youtube playlist inspired by the afro-pop music i danced to on many occasions in the early 2010's. its a selection of the seminal songs that sparked my love for afro-pop. just like walking to a club, you'll need to scan the qr code below to access the playlist. happy listening!

'to glow at night' playlist qr code . 2022


capital coffee cups

etihad airways 50th uae national day illustrations . 2021

etihad airways 50th uae national day coffee cups (detail) . 2021

etihad airways 50th uae national day coffee cups collection . 2021

more projects from last year – 2021 marked the uae's 50th golden jubliee. and it was only natural everyone wanted to commemorate the occasion. i was happy to have eithad airways invite me to join in their festivities and work on a series of illustrations that would be applied onto a set of arabic coffee cups, gifted to their vip guests. the illustrations are of iconic landmarks in abu dhabi and al ain, highlighting the capital's investment in architecutre, culture, heritage, tourism and entertainment, with one cup highlighting the airline.
i'm really happy with the end result of these cups. this was one of the more stressful client projects i worked on, as i was juggling the difficulties 2021 threw at me with trying to meet the deadline. but in the end, i think we came up with a really cool product. if anyone's been gifted these, i hope you enjoy them! thank you etihad for the opportunity...


25 hours

old souk . 2021

skyscrapers . 2021

tandoor tina . 2021

'tandoor tina' on site mural . 2022 

'tandoor tina' on site mural . 2022

'old souk' on site mural . 2022

'old souk' on site mural . 2022

'skyscrapers' on site mural . 2022

'skyscrapers' on site mural . 2022

another project i worked in 2021 were these fun illustrations for 25 hours hotel in dubai. this project was intended for 2020, but due to the pandemic, the project was temporarily on hold, and picked up again at the end of last year. i was responsible for 3 digital illustrations for application as wall murals in the lobby of the hotel. the themes i had to work on were 'old dubai/souks', 'new dubai/sky scrapers', and a mural for their indian fusion restaurant 'tandoor tina'. the final results are what you see above. 
i'm really happy with how these turned out. they're super fun and colourful, and really work with all the quirky artworks and interiors of the hotel. if anyone's planning on stopping by 25 hours, make sure to check these murals out in person. thank you to the team for reaching out before the pandemic, and for still coming back a year later to work together. hope everyone enjoys these as much as i do.


mina zayed commemorative tea towels

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 1 . 2021

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 2 . 2021

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 1 (detail) . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towel 2 (detail) . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels at dukkan421 . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels at dukkan421 . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels set . 2021 (image courtesy of warehouse421)

i'll be sharing over the next few posts some of the 2021 projects i worked on but was unable to post about before the new year
first up are these pretty cool commemorative tea towels for warehouse421. i was approached by the team to work on a set of tea towels to sell at their retail store, dukkan421. the theme of the tea towels was to highlight the mina (port) zayed area in abu dhabi, where warehouse421 is located. mina zayed is an important nieghbourhood for trade and cultural exchange. it's a bustling area where you can find practically everything – from multipurpose warehouses, designated fruit, vegetable and fish markets, shops for plants and homeware. only time will tell how much longer mina zayed will remain untouched. which is why i wanted these tea towels to illustrate and commemorate the neighborhood's raw and vibrant atmosphere one feels when visiting.
the final result is a set of 2 screen-printed linen tea towels. this was probably one of the more difficult projects i worked on, taking almost two years to finish! there were a bunch of reasons for the delays, including difficulties in scheduling, and working with some very unfortunate inks! but with the support of friends, i powered through and am happy with the end result.
the 'mina zayed' commemorative tea towels are currently availabe and on sale at dukkan421. if in abu dhabi, make sure to get yours. thank you warehouse421 for the opportunity, and patience. and big thanks to friends who came to the studio and stayed back to make sure i remained calm and helped with printing. thank you...