Tanween designer Abdalla Al Mulla in tashkeel studio (2018)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The act of making is rarely the primary consideration of cultural organizations. The focus is usually towards the consumption of art, generating content that is appealing to its audience. Not so at Tashkeel, an organization with a core mission of supporting the very act of artistic creation.

A brainstorming session at TashkeelDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Founded in January 2008 by Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum, an artist who was to go on to represent the UAE in the Venice Biennale in 2011, Tashkeel began almost as a reaction to the rapid rise of global attention on the art scene in the Emirates. 

A Garden Space at TashkeelDubai Culture & Arts Authority

The arts space is based in Nad Al Sheba, not far from the business district of Dubai but surrounded by desert, horse tracks and camel farms, it is literally a fertile oasis. 

A workshop space at TashkeelDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Working with her former art professor Jill Hoyle, Sheikha Lateefa wanted to provide a space that offered facilities for local artists and designers to begin their creative careers, to fill the gap she had felt after graduation. 

It was progressive in its inclusive membership policy - open to all nationalities, to men and women, to those with qualifications and those without. This allowed for an organic growth, leading to a collective of leading artists and designers. 

Moku Hanga with Andrew Parry (2018)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Consequentially simply through its alumni network, Tashkeel is able to offer mentorship, training and career development that is second-to-none. 

Faissal El-Malak in the textile studioDubai Culture & Arts Authority

In its early days it was called a studio, the state-of-the-art facilities particularly in printmaking, laser cutting, 3D printing, textiles, jewellerymaking, photography and digital lab constantly updated and improved,are astonishing and clearly what attracts many of its members

Since the start, Tashkeel has also had an active exhibition programme, understanding the value of being a platform for its creatives to display their work to an audience in the context of an exhibition. 

Calligraphy paintings made in Tashkeel 2018. Courtesy of Tashkeel 5., 2018, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Hind Mezaina's interactive music installation Music TV., Made in Tashkeel 2018. Courtesy of Tashkeel., From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Alya AlEghfeli during Dubai Design Week, courtesy of Tashkeel, 2018, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Show lessRead more

Regular annual shows such as ‘Made in Tashkeel’ for which there is an open call and their presentations during the Sikka Art Fair and at Dubai Design Week have always been supplemented by one-off solo and group exhibitions.

Painting studio at TashkeelDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Since 2011, Tashkeel has operated individual studios in the Al Fahidi Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai. In Nad Al Sheba, the studios are more communal in feel, encouraging interaction between members.  

Jamal Tayyara Baroudy in her Tashkeel studio (2019)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

What Tashkeel sees as its role in any artist’s and designer’s journey is filling the gaps - between the idea of an artwork and the production of that artwork, and then between the production of the artwork and its presentation to an audience. 

It does this by informally encouraging dialogue and critique, where the majority of its programming stems from. 

A workshop space at TashkeelDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Residencies and longer-term opportunities, such as the Tanween design programme which runs for 9 months and the Critical Practice programme which runs for a year, enable sustained engagement and produce tangible results. 

Supplementing this is a multi-disciplinary public programming, workshops and short courses for all levels including children. 

Christine Muller using the Screenprinting Vacuum Table.Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Tashkeel provides a ‘nurturing’ environment for the growth of contemporary art and design practice rooted in the UAE – giving the tools of time, space and expertise to creatives.  

Etching Technique at tashkeel, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
A workshop space at Tashkeel, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Show lessRead more

In the catalogue Covid Conversations, Sheikha Lateefa writes that the exhibition “seeks to highlight the importance of creativity in times of adversity, as a means to comprehend, console, archive and endure”. Tashkeel has been a constant and inspirational support to Dubai’s creative industry since its inception.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Dubai Culture
Discover Dubai's transformation from a fishing village to a creative capital
View theme
Google apps