With a willpower and motivation to be productive the past few months and adapting to the “new normal,” the world has been making a shift in the way it works. Tashkeel members have been riding the same wave of emotions, finding inspiration at home, experimenting with new mediums and turning challenges into opportunities. Tashkeel has been providing a nurturing environment for the growth of contemporary art and design practice rooted in the UAE for over a decade. Through multi-disciplinary studios, work spaces and galleries, it enables creative practice, experimentation and dialogue among practitioners and the wider community.
As it opens again for these artists and designers, who could not access their creative workspace during the lockdown, here we share how they have remained productive through this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fabiola Chiminazzo, a graduate in Visual Arts at FAAP – Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, researches in photography, printmaking, drawing, objects, installations and video making. Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions throughout Brazil. Recipient of several Brazilian awards and prizes such as the XXIII Visual Arts Exhibition Guarulhos – São Paulo in 2014, VI Visual Arts Exhibition of S. José do Rio Preto – SP in 2013, IV Artistas sem Galeria Visual Arts Exhibition – São Paulo – SP in 2013 and XXI Visual Arts Exhibition Atibaia – SP in 2012, Fabiola has participated at art residencies such as Procedencia e Propriedade (Charles Watson) – Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and Cabana Extemporanea – FUNARTE – São Paulo in 2011. Her work is in the collections of MACS – Museum of Contemporary Arts of Sorocaba SP – Brazil. She is currently a member of Tashkeel and lives and works between Brazil and Dubai, UAE, since 2017.
“I’m currently working on a series called “Content addressable data.” It consists of very tiny format (10×12) oil paintings created based on family snapshots. Prints and archival photographs are objects that carry an energetic field of emotions. For they symbolize the past and tell a story; pictures are the reliable source from which we can recreate and recall our childhood memories. But because nowadays nobody ever prints anything and photos are so banalized, I decided to create a work that would replicate the job of the photograph. A painting the size of a picture and that you can put in your pocket if you like.” – Fabiola Chiminazzo, Artist
“The beginning of the lockdown was more of a mental break for me, not really working on anything, and taking in the daily pandemic news as it comes. Over the course of the lockdown, and with Ramadan upon us, I started to get back into the rhythm of doing things – cleaning, reading, watching, and sketching. I’ve worked on a few illustrations for myself and for a client, and am currently focused on a few writings for potential use later on in the year,” says Khalid Mezaina who is a full-time artist based in Dubai, with illustration and print/surface design as his areas of focus.
He is an active member in the UAE art community, actively participating in exhibitions, projects and residencies both at home and internationally. Khalid is also an art educator, sharing his knowledge in print based creative practises through workshops for children and adults. His art practise include prints, murals, publications, packaging, stationary, apparel and textiles for client based and self-initiated projects. Along with a BS in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah, Khalid holds an MFA in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Meanwhile Fatima Albudoor has been involved in cataloguing of her art archive. She adds: “I also started a diary project about the quarantine called the Q-Diary, documenting my days at home through photography and text. I’m taking this time to reflect on my practice, as well as trying to be involved in the art community by contributing to workshops on social media, and attending conversations on the Zoom platform.” She received her BFA Studio Art from Northeastern University in Boston with a focus in printmaking and photography. She is a graduate of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship, and has exhibited in Art Dubai, DIFC Art Nights, in Abu Dhabi and internationally in Boston and Venice. Fatima currently works out of her studio in Dubai.
“I have been focusing on material experimentation and pushing my comfort level with different materials like plaster, metal and fabric. Recently I found myself missing sewing so I decided to start sewing again. Just letting the form speak and mold into itself not really constructing a certain narrative for now,” says Noura Alserkal, an artist, jeweller and maker from the UAE. She is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art with a masters of art in jewellery and metal. She has exhibited her work in Dubai, London, Munich and Austria. Her research is focused on feminisim, oral heritage, identity, material experimentation and archeology. Her objects convey notions of femininity, sensuality and the value of materials.
Yosra Emamizadeh is a visual artist who finds inspiration by exploring topics about womanhood, identity, and spirituality. As a Persian female artist with a multicultural background and a lover of nature, she incorporates Islamic and Persian design, textile, and botanical elements in her work. After completing her studies at the American University of Beirut, she attended the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, and later earned her MA in Museum Studies from Harvard University. She recently moved to Dubai and is an active member at Tashkeel.
“After taking much needed rest and clearing my thoughts I was able to use this time during the lock down to focus and try out various things. The majority of my work was continuing to conduct interviews for my podcast “Tavan Studio in Conversation” from our makeshift at home recording studio! Recording and producing from home was a nice change and made the process more flexible both for me and the interviewee, who was also at home. In addition, I started to experiment a bit with inks on paper, a medium I felt I never had the time to try out. I also did some digital collages with friends which was really nice since we got to play with each other’s ideas and communicate as if we were at the studio,” says Yosra.