Meet the stars of Made in Tashkeel 2016

From pastoral prints to dry-point engravings and watercolours worthy of old masters, book this eclectic art exhibition into your design summer diary

The annual showcase for Tashkeel’s artistic community is eagerly anticipated year to year, comprising an eclectic mix of creative work including digital photography, sculptures, installation, comic books, laser cut fashion, printmaking and painting.

The exhibition aims to celebrate the work of its community members, workshop participants and exhibiting artists, but also illustrates the variety of expressions and skills fostered in Tashkeel during the past year through residencies, projects and studio support.

The showcase runs until September 1 and exhibiting artists include Afshan Daneshvar; Ammar Al Attar; Azim Al Ghussein; eL Seed; Eman AlHashemi; Emma Parthare; Gail Reid; Harshseet Thukral; Jeff Scofield; Judy Shinnick; Kathryn Wilson; Kay Li; Khalid Mezaina; Manal AlDowayan; Myneandyours; Natalia Lasso; Saif Mhaisen; and Sham Enbashi.

Vision selects six different artists who represent Tashkeel’s diverse range of art work on offer…

The calligrapher: Afshan Daneshvar


Heavily influenced by her father and his love of Persian calligraphy, the Iranian visual artist incorporated the decorative shapes into her early designs. Poems are also a ‘magical’ source of inspiration, she says.

‘The repetition of saying a word like a dhikr in Sufism has the same function of writing it till eternity. Both are meditative and you feel that you lose the meaning and the form after a while.’

The photographer: Ammar Al Attar


Ammar academic pedigree is flawless. After completing an international business masters at Dubai’s University of Wollongong, the Ajman-based artists participated in Sharjah Biennial 2013 and was selected for the artist in residence Dubai programme.

He is currently working on a personal research-based project, building a personal archive and database of historical photographs of the UAE in addition to fine art projects.

The pastoralist print maker: Gail Reed


Figurative observational drawing and print making defines Gail’s work – themes stemming from ‘many happy hours in Bristol Museum (UK) drawing the taxidermy collection.’

Gail’s beautiful linocut and dry point engravings beautifully depict Dubai’s local flora, fauna and landscapes, usually in a limited colour palette and shows the less obvious beauty of subjects, she says. ‘I hope that an honestly portrayed, well executed representation of nature might persuade the viewer to move beyond distaste, and to enjoy unembellished reality.’

The watercolour woman: Judy Shinnick


Six years ago the lure of oil paint and turpentine and the joy of classical art saw Judy travel to Italy. Florence is the centre of an emerging renaissance of classical, realist painting and Judy has invested the last five summers studying there.

She has studied the traditional methods attributed to the Old Master’s under the watchful eye of her tutor and major influence, Michael John Angel and channeled the techniques into her arresting watercolour portraits.

The pop culture illustrator: Khalid Mezaina


Khalid entered the art world through full-time placements in art organizations, including the Sharjah Art Foundation and currently at Tashkeel in Dubai. Being in the art community inspired Khalid to pursue an artistic practise of his own, by participating in exhibitions, projects and residencies, both in the UAE and internationally.

Khalid launched ‘Krossbreed’ in 2010, which is an independent, interdisciplinary studio and brand, involved in design and illustration.

The portrait artist: Saif Mhaisen


Mhaisen’s interest in the history of painting started with the stark, theatrical contrast of the Baroque era. It continued through the Western development of portraiture with the likes of Chuck Close and Lucian Freud. Mhaisen became fascinated with portraiture, and its ability to convey identity.

Mhaisen’s work involves an obsessive pursuit of specific detail. To achieve specificity, Mhaisen first photographs subjects, carefully controlling light, hue, value, and color. He then prints a photograph as a one-to-one scale reference for a painting, and dissects the print into fragments to inform the painting one piece at a time.