Tashkeel launches online talks and other activities to support artist community

The weekly talks will cover a variety of themes from how to look after your mental health to do-it-yourself activities

Detail view of Behnoosh Feiz's work titled 'One Planet, One Home', part of Tashkeel's group exhibition 'Plastic' which closed early last month due to the coronavirus outbreak. The organisation is now using online tools to engage with its community. Courtesy the artist and Tashkeel
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Tashkeel, the art and design organisation in Dubai, is thinking of new ways to engage with its members and the public while its doors remain closed in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The organisation, which includes around 50 professional artists and designers, is kicking off weekly online sessions through its social media platforms to discuss topics that would be helpful to its community.

Titled Tashkeel Talks, the 20-minute pre-recorded conversations will be broadcast every Wednesday featuring artists and professionals.

"It's about encouraging our members and the wider public to continue their adventure in creativity," Lisa Ball-Lechgar, the deputy director of Tashkeel, told The National. "We are looking at empowering and enabling professional artists in the UAE to continue their practice from their home."

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director at Tashkeel. Tashkeel

While the series will look to profile artists from within Tashkeel, it will also have a specific theme every week. The themes vary from how to look after your mental health during times of self-isolation, to do it yourself projects such as design activities that can be made using material that can be find in the typical household. One discussion, for example, will look at off-screen ways to engage children.

We try to encourage our members to take the time, do their research and explore pathways of expression, so when we do reopen, they are ready

Tashkeel has also developed an artists resource kit. "We have developed a UAE specific kit, as a one-stop shop for artists and designers," Ball-Lechgar says.

Although his has come as a result of current times, this isn't something that the organisation plans to do just temporarily, Ball-Lechgar adds. It's something that they will look to integrate in their strategy in the future, she explains.

Tashkeel is very much aware of the challenges that lie ahead for the professionals in the art community.

"One thing that we appreciate is incredibly important is the loss of income for the professionals in the art community. There are limited opportunities for them to be commissioned to sell their work, to exhibit their work, so their income generation capacity has dropped," she says, which is why Tashkeel is looking at ways to help its members not only develop their art, but their business skills as well. "Through all our platforms, we'll be pushing out content and training to help develop professional practitioners with business skills."

"You can't replicate what Tashkeel offers over the internet. It's not possible, but we can try to encourage our members to take the time, do their research and explore their pathways of expressions, so when we do reopen, they are ready."

For further details, visit tashkeel.org, or follow their social media channels @TashkeelStudio and Facebook/TashkeelStudio