As if harnessing the subconscious, Maitha Abdalla's work oscillates between the diaphanous, vibrant and surreal, and is always marked by an atmosphere of reminiscence and nostalgia. Often evolved into series articulating strong cultural narratives, her paintings and mixed media works are assemblages of memory, travel and human interactions. Informed by exchanges and experiences, her socially driven commentaries on the human condition reveal astute, intuitive observations on the world around her. A particularly influential encounter was with the children of a Turkish orphanage, where Maitha taught English and art. The motifs of childhood began to permeate her work after this time, becoming an eloquent vernacular in which she further explores the difference between the imaginary and the real; mapping the liminal space between these interconnected worlds, she plays out many questions of social and cultural identity.
Born in Sharjah, Maitha studied English language at Middlesex University. It was through art and design courses in London that she discovered her interest in the visual arts. She went on to gain a BA in visual arts from the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University.
Maitha is the recipient of the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally.
Through perpetual experimentation, Shaikha Al Mazrou brings together motifs from different artistic movements to explore ideas of formality. Tensions between modes are made manifest in the play of form and volume, surface and void, material and concept.
Her sculptural explorations are simultaneously light-hearted and serious and her artistic vocabulary combines elements from her studies to realise ironic, critical works that reference significant artistic movements. Her works echo with the history of sculpture, abstraction and contemporary art, yet they transcend genre and defy easy categorisation.
Al Mazrou was born in the UAE and received her Master’s in 2014 from the Chelsea College of Fine Art, University of the Arts London. She previously studied at the College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah where she is currently a sculpture lecturer. She has taken part in residency programmes at the Delfina Foundation in London in collaboration with Tashkeel and in Bastakiya, Dubai with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.
In 2014, Al Mazrou was one of five international artists commissioned by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to produce a public artwork at the Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai as part of ‘Make Art Possible’. She is represented by Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai and lives and works in the UAE.
As an artist and traveller, Fatima Albudoor uses printmaking to combine writing, drawing and photography. This layered aesthetic is as much a combination of mediums as it is a palimpsest of thoughts, feelings and memories. Her faded images appear ghost-like, hovering just beyond the tangible here and now, as if emissaries from past experiences and past worlds. She becomes a cartographer mapping the passage of time and the flight of feelings. Poignant yet strident, her speculative documents of impermanence echo with the past. Her works consider the composition of life and are infused with caught transient traces of shifting social ephemera.
Born in Dubai, Fatima is a UAE national who has lived and studied in Dubai, Boston, London and Dublin. She received a BFA in Studio Art from Northeastern University in Boston, USA. Fatima’s work has been exhibited in Art Dubai and DIFC Art Nights, as well as in exhibitions in Abu Dhabi, Boston and Venice. She is a graduate of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship (2016) and currently lives and works in Dubai, where her studio is based.
Repetition is a recurrent motif in Amal Alkhaja’s practice, both aesthetically through marks and use of material, and as a creative act as she makes and remakes pieces. Through installations, paint and experiments in diverse media, she feeds her practice with personal experiences and the observations she makes through her perennially curious preoccupation with people watching.
She graduated in 2013 from Zayed University with a BA in Fine Arts. Her work was recently exhibited at ‘Community and Critique’ exhibition in Abu Dhabi, 'Ramdanization' at DUCTAC, Sikka Art Fair and the UAE Fine Arts Society Annual Exhibition. Her work was also exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2011.
In 2012, Amal was awarded second place in the Fine Arts category in the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award. She was a fellow in the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship. She is currently working to develop her practice with a focus on art therapy and education.
With a multi-disciplinary background in art, design and architecture, Moza Almatrooshi explores the physically bounded quality of life – its composition from elements that are forged by and in the physical world. Through various media, including large-scale land art interventions, she investigates memory and decay and how moments can be “trapped” by specific spatial conditions. She maps the gap that shapes life and human relationships, a fraught boundary that lies between an intangible inner world and a dominant physical environment. Through her practice, she strives to develop a personal system to approach such issues of physical and existential cartography, particularly as it relates to human movement in the desert and the mountainous landscapes of the UAE.
Moza holds a BA from the College of Fine Arts and Creative Enterprise, Zayed University, Dubai. She has worked in art, architecture, exhibition management and curation and has written for several independent publications. She is a graduate of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship and an alumnus of A.i.R. Dubai, curated by Yasmina Reggad; her work was presented as part of the non-profit chapter of Art Dubai 2016. Her most recent work was showcased in the XX Bienal Internacional de Artes Visuales de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, as part of a group exhibition called ‘The Blue Hour’, curated by Mo Reda.
In transformative metaphoric acts, Tawqa Alnaqbi translates experiences, moments and memories into delicate cyphers vibrantly invested with life. These are acts of remembrance, an effort to savour and record the transient. Each is an attempt to engage with culture, to instigate a dialogue of hand-made things instilled by her emotions and observations about her home.
Each artwork also meditatively ruminates on the process of making itself; every element of her practice articulates memories. In both materiality and symbolism, she crafts an elegant symphony of synthesis which retains the past while proposing and producing something new. For example, her fibrous hand-crafted papers expose their laborious composition in their raw finishing. The paper itself is the signifier of documentation, the stuff of diaries, notebooks and letters, and hers are constructed from the fibres of her family’s clothes. In this way, as the new object is woven from the past, its very materiality becomes infused with personal identity, memory and experience. Her papers are signifiers of recollection, celebratory creative gestures which reify the past and revel in the act of making.
Born in Khorfakkan, Taqwa now lives and works in Sharjah city. She completed a BA in Fine Arts at the College and Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah. She has exhibited internationally and regionally including in ‘Art Nomad – Made in the Emirates’, Germany 2016; Budapest Art Market, Hungary, 2015; ‘Visions of the Future’, Etihad Modern Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi and as part of the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award, Dubai.
Alaa Edris is a visual artist from the United Arab Emirates. She is a graduate of Fine Arts, with a specialisation in Electronic Media.
Alaa’s work is often self-reflexive and addresses some of the themes that have dominated the field of Arab artistic research in the last decades. These include social and anthropological issues such as the construction of gender, the relationship between tradition and progress and the language and signs that identify, shape and articulate a culture. These explorations take varied forms, including video installations, photography and projections on three-dimensional surfaces. Alaa’s work has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and art fairs in Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey and the UAE. Alaa is a graduate of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship.
Born in Dubai in 1992, Jumairy develops his own research connecting his research in psychology with an intense experimentation with sound. The combination produces a range of sensory experiences, traces more than closed works, that spread from real space to the Internet. The artist infuses his imagery with a dark psychedelia that is expressed through performative acts, scientific experiments and mysterious rituals which happen on stage, the big screen and smartphone apps. The same can be said of his approach to music production, in which the Arabic electro-pop is intertwined with sounds à la Marilyn Manson. But Jumairy is not just a teen idol who speaks to the new generation of Emiratis. Many of his works are indeed conceived to process traumas, both personal and collective.
Jumairy’s recent exhibitions include, BRZ5, FARE, Milan (2016); A.i.R, Art Dubai, Dubai (2016); Public Privacy, DUCTAC, Dubai (2015). His work has been collected and supported by Barjeel Art Foundation and Maraya Art Centre.
Alia Zaal Lootah was born and raised in Dubai. Art has been the focus of Alia’s education with a BA in Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah and an MA in Art History and Museum Studies at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. She has recently been accepted as a PhD candidate in Paris VI.
Alia was a visiting lecturer at the College of Fine Arts and Design in the University of Sharjah in 2012–2013. Her artwork has appeared in exhibitions in the UAE and globally; Bangladesh, Germany, Spain, Venice, New York, Bethlehem and others between 2007 until present. In 2010 she won 2nd Prize at the Bangladesh 14th Asian Art Biennale. She works predominantly with painting and her research investigates the relationship between photography and painting, focusing on the transformation of images from one medium to another. Her work questions concepts of truth, perceptions, dreams, and memories.
Hind Mezaina's work addresses her relationship and reaction to the accelerated changes Dubai is undergoing. Memory, change, the notion of heritage and the representation of Dubai in the media (and how it corresponds to the people living in the city) are some of the key themes that she is interested in. Through her work, she aims to communicate anxieties to the changes, and to also comment, preserve memories, and create a ‘visual archaeology’ of the city. Furthermore, cultural memory is explored specifically in reference to film and TV shows she watched growing up.
Working primarily in photography, and most recently in video, her work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the UAE and abroad. Her blog theculturist.com and Tea with Culture podcast she co-founded covers cultural news, events, reviews in the UAE and beyond. Her writing has been featured in local publications including The National, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia and Vision.
She recently graduated from the 2015-2016 edition of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Emerging Artists Fellowship in partnership with Rhode Island School of Design.
Muhanad Ali is a cultural producer, writer and curator. He was Arts Centre Manager & Curator, DUCTAC, Dubai. A Cultural Leadership International Programme grantee (2010), Muhanad earned his BA in English Literature at Damascus University (2002). Previously, Muhanad was a Project Manager at Art Dubai and went on to co-manage and curate Dubai Culture’s SIKKA Art Fair (2013). He headed the Artistic Production department at Damascus Opera House (2010) where he co-produced over 15 performances and festivals. As regular contributor to many Arabic newspapers, Muhanad mainly focuses on the changes in the GCC arts scene in the light of the rise and fall of Middle Eastern cities. He founded the East/East-East platform (2015) which comprises a series of exhibitions focusing on dialogues between artists from the geographical East.
Cristiana de Marchi was born in Italy and currently lives and works between Dubai and Beirut. An artist, curator and poet, she was educated at the University of Torino and University of Roma from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours (1994) and a Masters Degree with first class honours (1999). In 2012 she completed the Course in Curatorial Practice, organised by the California College of the Arts, U.S.A. in partnership with Emirates Foundation, Abu Dhabi.
She has cooperated with several cultural institutions (Cultural Service of the Italian Embassy in Lebanon; Archaeological Museum of Beirut; Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research, Archaeology Museum of Sharjah; Tashkeel, Dubai) and given lectures and seminars at both Italian and Lebanese universities and Emirati institutions.
An artist, curator and writer, she conducts a personal artistic and literary research besides publishing articles and essays in catalogues and magazines devoted to contemporary art.
Among her recent curatorial projects, 'The Poetics of Absence' (1x1 gallery, Dubai, 2017), featuring works by 13 local, regional and international artists revolving around issues of memory and belonging disappearance; “A Public Privacy” (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, 2015), featuring selected emerging artists living in the Gulf Countries, and “MinD/Body” (DUCTAC, Dubai and NYU Abu Dhabi, 2013), a historical show focusing on performance and the use of body in the GCC.