Visual deconstructions of centuries-old artefacts, large-scale canvases exploring the trauma of the Beirut Port explosion, and cutting-edge textile designs reflecting UAE heritage are among the works being presented at Made in Tashkeel.
The 12th Made in Tashkeel exhibition brings together more than 90 creations by 42 artists who live in the UAE. The line-up includes emerging and established names. The artworks reflect upon a broad set of cultural and industrial backgrounds and are made across a range of mediums, from jewellery to architecturally inspired designs and photography.
Made in Tashkeel opened at the art facility last week and will be running until August 31.
“This exhibition is a culmination of one year’s work highlighting the people, the building and the community that thrives within it,” Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum, founder of Tashkeel and curator of the annual show, says.
“When I curate the Made in Tashkeel exhibition each year, I look at all the members that we have for that year who have worked within our facilities, using each studio to facilitate their production.”
The majority of the Made in Tashkeel submissions were made in the past year using the organisation's specialist equipment, artist workspaces and facilities.
Calligrapher Ibraheem Khamayseh, for instance, made use of Tashkeel’s 3D studio to create his Hob artwork, which broadens the Arabic word for love, in acrylic mirror. Other artists, including Jehan Ali, Sharifa Al Shashmi and Karam Hoar, utilised the Epson SureColor P9000, which can print a metre wide and up to 13 metres in length, to generate their works. Nabih JamalEldine, a member of Tashkeel, depicts a poem by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on a large wooden piece sprayed in gold.
Badr Abbas, also a member of Tashkeel, mishmashes local pop culture references in his acrylic paintings, which feature jerseys of local football teams layered against dirham coins and ghutra fabric in Cubist arrangements.
The youngest artist featured in the exhibition is Morvarid Mohammad, aged 14, who creates work in both oil and watercolour. She presents Flowers in Nowrooz as part of the Made in Tashkeel open call. The oil painting depicts an orchid flower representing the mirth of Nowruz, or the Persian New Year, which falls in March at the spring equinox and has its roots in the Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism.
“I wanted to bring my cultural background into an aesthetically pleasing artwork so [when] you can look at it you can say it's a beautiful piece, but also be interested in knowing more about the story behind it," she says. "To research about the traditions and what is likely one of the oldest celebrations.”
In Beirut 2020, Rima Moukahal explores the violence of the deadly blast that struck Beirut Port on August 4, 2020, as well as its ramifications. The port explosion sparked an outcry from international allies and the Lebanese people, who blamed the country’s entrenched political class, already accused of failing to remedy a severe economic crisis, of criminal negligence.
Moukahal's painting shows the moment of detonation in a charged display of orange and gold. A murky, violet-tinted sky hangs over the scene, while the ground is streaked with red.
“I made this on the first anniversary of the explosion,” she says. “I was there and, thankfully, didn’t get hurt. But so many people were. Our houses were also damaged. I had a lot of feelings about the explosion and for a long time, didn’t know how to convey them.
"On the anniversary, I decided to paint exactly what I had seen. The sky covered in grey and red and purple. I was throwing the paint against the canvas, really feeling all that anger towards this man-made violence. Because it is manmade. It isn’t a natural disaster. But, you know, countries and homelands have no expiry date, and so is the case with my Beirut."
Meanwhile, Hadil Moufti deconstructs one of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s earliest and oldest acquisitions: Bactrian Princess Small Studies. The Saudi artist began the series in 2017. The project is still ongoing, with the five latest five works being presented at Made in Tashkeel. The pieces, using photo collage and mixed media on khadi paper, deconstruct the Bactrian Princess, an artefact of a divinity in Central Asian mythology, dating back to 2300 BCE.
“The heroine of this series is the Bactrian Princess,” Moufti says. “She’s 5,000 years old. It’s made from different stones. The body is one stone. The arms, the head, [and] headpiece are each different. The fact that she is detachable spoke to me. In this latest series, I used the design from stamps from the same period and I cut the head into it as a puzzle, working back to where it came from.”
Fashion designer Sahar Bonyanpour delved into local heritage for the three textile pieces she is presenting at the exhibition. Part of a collection called Integrity, the pieces draw inspiration from the UAE’s horse riding tradition as well as its henna customs.
“They are all actually inspired from the Emirates' history, tradition and culture and its journey throughout the time,” she says. “Each one has its own name. Hands reflects the different races that build national unity. The next one is Unity, which is inspired by horse riding. It shows the nurturing of deep-rooted traditions for the next generation of guardians. The final one is Doors, which represents how the Emirates opens its doors to all nations around the world and is providing them safety and security.”
As Tashkeel nears its 15th anniversary, Sheikha Lateefa says she feels the creations being shown at its annual summer exhibition has grown with the institution.
“It gets more and more exciting with either experimental work or a higher standard of work by members and workshop leaders who are not afraid to discover and test out the potential that can be done,” she says.
“The future of Tashkeel is in the planning process as we speak. I am expanding the facility in stages, with an increase and focus on individual studios to serve the growing demand; as well as adding more specialised mediums to the studios. We grow with the demand to serve a growing professional art and design community, giving them a platform to be able to create, and build up their key skills to use, either to make on a personal level or to thrive professionally.”
More information about the exhibition is at tashkeel.org