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Tashkeel is pleased to announce the latest cohort of artists selected for the Critical Practice Programme (CPP) 2022: Shamma Al Amri, duo Nasser and Miriam Al Zayani, Jamal Tayara Baroudy, Sophiya Khwaja, and Shazia Salam. The artists will each work with a mentor to build, challenge and guide them through the research, production and exhibition of their finished visual artwork.

After receiving a large amount of applications to join the sixth iteration of the CPP in 2022, Tashkeel selected a record six UAE-based visual artists to receive up to one year of training, mentorship, studio support, critique, development, and artwork production, culminating in exhibitions scheduled for the second half of 2022 and into 2023. This is the largest cohort Tashkeel has ever taken for the programme.


The Tashkeel Critical Practice Programme offers sustained studio support, critique and production of one year for practicing contemporary artists living and working in the UAE. The programme culminates in an exhibition, publication or other digital/physical outcome. Each artist’s programme is carefully built around the individual’s practices and/or areas of research. Tashkeel works with each artist to identify mentors to both build, challenge and guide them. A mentor can be an artist, curator, critic or arts professional with whom the artist feels both comfortable working but also, whose own area of research and/or practice ties in with the proposed areas of focus


Jamal Tayara Baroudy: Jamal will be focusing on printing with natural leaf pigments and experimenting with ink making from soil, plants and barks. She intends to incorporate textile art and animation with research into flora and soil in the UAE. Her core objectives are to create newness and new chaotic that will flow naturally out of the observations and impulsive daily performance. There is an intersection between print, textile art and animation/movie that would be the harmony between Jamal’s art and design practice.

Nasser and Mariam Al Zayani: Nasser and Mariam intend to collectively explore and uncover the ways in which their past experiences overlap and contradict one another. As these memories materialise and transform, they will be responding to them in a series of collaborative works proving how much more reliable my memory is.

Shamma Al Amri: Shamma intends to focus on making and production and materiality as her work in the past was more focused towards conceptual research. Shamma has spent the past few years collecting a lot of research and material and seeks to receive highly critical feedback from mentors to push the research and work further.

Shazia Salam: Shazia’s intention is to test the limits of materiality - what can it interact with? What relationships does it draw on? How can it be challenged? She intends to engineer interactive installations to explore these questions and to experiment with the format of exhibition building. Shazia is interested in how one can create an opportunity to explore multiple voices and perspectives within the context the exhibition sits in, and how an exhibition can exist outside the gallery space- in an effort to link the material with the immaterial.

Sophiya Khwaja: Sophiya, being trained as a printmaker with a specialisation in intaglio, seeks to bring back printmaking to her practice. She intends at incorporating digital printing in her work and intaglio. Sophiya will continue working on a new body of work and text for which she has completed one piece.


Afra Bin Dhaher
Mentored by Andrew Starner, Writing Program lecturer, NYUAD.

Solo Exhibition: Hymns to a Sleeper (Tashkeel, 2016)

Vikram Divecha
Mentored by Debra Levine, Assistant Professor of Theatre, NYUAD.

Solo Exhibition: Portrait Sessions (Tashkeel, 2016)

Hadeyeh Badri
Mentored by Roderick Grant, Chair & Associate Professor of Graphic Design, OCAD University, Toronto & curator, writer, art historian Dr. Alexandra MacGilp.

Solo Exhibition: The Body Keeps the Score (Tashkeel, 2017)

Raja’a Khalid
Mentored by artist and cultural producer Jaret Vadera & Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor of Art Cornell University, NYC.

Solo Exhibition: FASTEST WITH THE MOSTEST (Tashkeel, 2017)

Lantian Xie
Convened Water, Gas, Electricity, Rent: A Reading Group throughout 2017 exploring hospitality, occupancy, homeliness, precarity, exception and temporariness.

Debjani Bhardwaj
Mentored by artist Les Bicknell & artist and gallerist Hassan Meer.

Solo Exhibition: Telling Tales (Tashkeel, 2018)

Jalal Bin Thaneya
Mentored by photographer Jassim Al Awadhi & artist, curator, educator Flounder Lee.

Solo Exhibition: Beyond the Fence (Tashkeel, 2019)

Chafa Ghaddar
Mentored by arts writer and critic Kevin Jones and artist, critic and educator Jill Magi.

Solo Exhibition: Recesses (Tashkeel, 2020)

Silvia Hernando Álvarez
Mentored by artist, academic, writer Isaac Sullivan & artist, writer Cristiana de Marchi.

Solo Exhibition: Under the Red Light (Tashkeel, 2020)

Mays Albaik
Mentored by audiovisual artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan and artist, curator Ala Younis.

Solo Exhibition: A Terranean Love Note (Tashkeel, 2021)

Hamdan Buti Al Shamsi
Mentored by artist Hind bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, founder of Hamzat Wasl Studio.

Solo Exhibition: Kn-Bkhair (Tashkeel, 2021)

Hind Mezaina
Mentored by curator, writer, strategist and photographic consultant, Peggy Sue Amison.

Solo Exhibition: Wonder Land (Tashkeel, 2021)

Nora Zeid
Mentored by design professional, researcher and educator Ghalia Elsrakbi, and Möbius Design Studio co-founder, Tashkeel member and American University of Sharjah lecture, Hala Al Ani.

Solo Exhibition: Cairo Illustrated: Stories From Heliopolis (Tashkeel, 2021)


Dawn Ross
Mentor to Sophiya Khwaja

Dawn Ross is Head of Collections at Art Jameel and oversees the Art Jameel Collection and associated exhibitions, both those at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; Hayy Jameel, Jeddah, and loans with partner museums regionally and internationally. She is responsible for the development and direction of the Art Jameel Collection, including the acquisitions programme, conservation and display of work, curatorial content and collection management. Previously, she has worked in arts institutions and festivals in Australia, Scotland and the UAE, most recently heading up not-for-profit artist’s projects at Art Dubai. She has experience in museum collections, exhibitions, programming, audience outreach and community projects.

Salima Hashmi
Mentor to Sophiya Khwaja

Salima Hashmi is an artist (b. 1942, Delhi), curator and contemporary art historian. She was founding Dean at the Mariam Dawood School of Visual Arts and Design at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, where she is now Professor Emeritus. She taught at the National College of Arts, Lahore, for 30 years. Salima Hashmi was the co-founder of the Rohtas Gallery in Islamabad (1981) and established Rohtas-2 in Lahore (2001). Salima Hashmi curated “Hanging Fire” for Asia Society Museum, New York in 2009 and the critically acclaimed ‘This Night-Bitten Dawn’ by Gujral Foundation and the Devi Art Foundation in Delhi. The government of Pakistan awarded her the President's Medal for Pride of Performance for Art Education in 1999. The Australian Council of Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) nominated her as Inaugural International Fellow, for distinguished service to art and design education in 2011. She was awarded the Alma Award by Alma Culture Center, Oslo, Norway for promotion of tolerance through performance in 2016. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bath Spa University, UK in 2016.

Mohammed Kazem

Mentor to Shamma Al Amri

Mohammed Kazem (born 1969, Dubai) lives and works in Dubai. He has developed an artistic practice that encompasses video, photography and performance to find new ways of apprehending his environment and experiences. The foundations of his work are informed by his training as a musician, and Kazem is deeply engaged with developing processes that can render transient phenomena, such as sound and light, in tangible terms. Often positioning himself within his work, Kazem responds to geographical location, materiality and the elements as a means to assert his subjectivity, particularly in relation to the rapid pace of modernisation in the Emirates since the country’s founding. Kazem was a member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society early in his career and is acknowledged as one of the 'Five', an informal group of Emirati artists – including Hassan Sharif, Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and Hussain Sharif – at the vanguard of conceptual and interdisciplinary art practice. In 2012, he completed his Masters in Fine Art at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. In recent years, he has participated in several group shows such as 21,39 Jeddah Arts (2020), Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2017), Guggenheim New York (2016), the Yinchuan Biennale (2016), Sharjah Biennial (2015), Gwangju Museum of Art (2014), Fotofest Biennial in Houston (2014), Boghossian Foundation (2013), and Mori Art Museum (2012), amongst others. In 2013 he represented the UAE’s National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale with an immersive video installation entitled Walking on Water, curated by Reem Fadda, and in 2015 he showcased works from the Tongue series at 1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the UAE, curated by Hoor Al Qasimi.

His works are held in the collections of the British Museum, London; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and New York; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul; King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, Dhahran, among others.

*Photography by Joseph Rahul

Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès
Mentor to Shamma Al Amri

Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès is the Founding Director of the Khatt Foundation and Khatt Books publishers. She specialises in multilingual typographic research and design, with focus on Arabic typography and design history. She has taught design and typography courses in the Arab world and internationally since 1994 and has published several books and essays on typography and design from the Arab World. She is the author of Arabic Typography: A Comprehensive Sourcebook (2001), Typographic Matchmaking (2007), Typographic Matchmaking in the City (2011), Arabic Type Design for Beginners (2013), Nomadic Traces: Journeys of Arabian Scripts (2019), Kameel Hawa: The Art of Shaping Arabic Letters (2019), Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib (forthcoming), and The Catholic Press of Beirut: A Printing and Design Legacy in the Arab East (forthcoming). She works as independent researcher, writer, designer, design curator and publisher.

James Clar
Mentor to Shamma Al Amri

James Clar is a light and media artist.. He studied film at New York University and received his Masters from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. His interest is in new technological production processes and their application to artistic narrative forms, exploring the conceptual and narrative potential of light and technology. James has worked with Traffic gallery and Carbon 12 in Dubai, and with Jane Lombard gallery in New York. In 2021 he relocated back to his native Philippines to work with Silverlens gallery within the Asian region. His artwork has been included in exhibitions at Glucksman Museum (Dublin), The New Museum of Contemporary Arts (New York), Pera Museum (Istanbul), Cam Francis Museum (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), and SeMA (Seoul). He has been commissioned to develop largescale installations for 21c Museum Hotels (Oklahoma), Parasol Unit Foundation for the Arts (UK), and Fraport Headquarters (Frankfurt).

Dr. Mohamad G. Abiad
Mentor to Jamal Tayara Baroudy

Dr. Mohamad G. Abiad is an Associate Professor of Food Processing and Packaging at the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences and the Director of the Laboratories for the Environment, Agriculture, and Food (LEAF) at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut (AUB). He also holds an adjunct faculty position at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University (MSU. His research interests include investigating food waste recycling, food packaging design, development, and testing issues. He has been working as an independent consultant for the agro-food industry in Lebanon, the Middle East, and the North African region, with more than 20 years of experience in food processing and packaging.

Issam Kourbaj
Mentor to Nasser and Mariam Alzayani

Issam Kourbaj comes from a background of fine art, architecture and theatre design. He trained at the Institute of Fine Arts in Damascus, the Repin Institute of Fine Arts & Architecture in St Petersburg and at the Wimbledon School of Art. He has lived in Cambridge, UK, since 1990, where he has been artist-in-residence, bye-fellow, and lector in art at Christ’s College. His works have been featured at museums around the world, including Fitzwilliam Museum, Museum of Classical Archaeology, and Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery; Penn Museum; British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Tropenmuseum; and the Venice Biennale. For the BBC’s ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects,’ Neil MacGregor (the former Director of the British Museum) chose Issam’s artwork Dark Water, Burning World as the 101st object.

Jonny Farrow
Mentor to Nasser and Mariam Alzayani

Jonny Farrow is an artist, musician, and educator who has shown and presented work in the United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and has had three solo and multiple group exhibits in the United Arab Emirates. Most recently he was an Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation Resident Artist (2020). From 2011-2016 he produced a monthly, narrative radio show, The Distract and Disable Program, for Wave Farm and broadcast on WGXC 90.7 FM in Hudson, NY. His music and sound works have been released by Hello CD, Dive Records, free103point9, and Must Die Records. He was a founding member/ songwriter in the 90’s indie rock bands Philco Bendyx and The Sixes. He has also performed with Moby on The Late Show with Conan O’Brien, as well as played his hand built oscillators with Quintron and the Weather Warlock. Along with an MA in music from CCNY (CUNY), he holds an MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and currently lives and works between Vermont and the UAE.

Sabih Ahmed
Mentor to Shazia Salam

Sabih Ahmed is the Associate Director and Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai. His curatorial work and research focus on modern and contemporary art of South Asia through diverse itineraries, languages, and inter-disciplinary formations. Prior to Ishara, Ahmed was a Senior Researcher and Projects Manager at Asia Art Archive from 2009 to 2019. He was a Curatorial Collegiate member of the 11th Shanghai Biennale ‘Why Not Ask Again?’ curated by Raqs Media Collective (2016), a collaborator with artist Taus Makhacheva on ‘The Superhero Sighting Society’ exhibition and symposium organised by KADIST and Centre Pompidou (2019). From 2014-2019, he served as a Visiting Faculty at the Ambedkar University Delhi, and his writings have been published by Mousse Publications, The Whitworth, Oncurating, among others. Ahmed serves on the Advisory Board of Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation, Delhi.

Taus Makhacheva
Mentor to Shazia Salam

Taus Makhacheva (b.1983 Moscow) creates works that explore the restless connections between historical narratives and fictions of cultural authenticity. Often humorous, her art considers the resilience of images, objects and bodies emerging out of stories and personal experiences. Her methodology involves reworking of materials, landscapes and monuments, pushing against walls, opening up ceilings and proliferating institutional spaces with a cacophony of voices. Makhacheva holds a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths (2007) and has an MFA from the Royal College of Art (2013). Selected exhibitions include the Biennial of Difficult Heritage, Volgograd (2021), Yokohama Triennale (2020), Lahore Biennale (2020), Kaunas Biennial (2019), Lyon Biennale (2019), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018), Liverpool Biennial (2018), Manifesta (2018), Yinchuan Biennale (2018), Venice Biennale (2017), Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (2017), Shanghai Biennale (2016), Kyiv Biennial (2015), Sharjah Biennial (2013) and the Moscow Biennale (2011).

Current Participants

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