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Tashkeel is pleased to announce the latest cohort of artists selected for the Critical Practice Programme (CPP) 2023: Maitha Hamdan, Rand Abdul Jabbar, Ji-Hye Kim and Mouza Al Hamrani. 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 eighth edition of the CPP, Tashkeel selected 4 UAE-based visual artists to receive up to one year of training, mentorship, studio support, critique, development, and artwork production. The results of which will be presented in the form of a solo exhibition in 2024.


    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.


    Maitha Hamdan: During the 2023 Critical Practice Programme, Maitha Hamdan intends to focus on building her skills around painting, textile and printmaking techniques.

    Rand Abdul Jabbar: During the 2023 Critical Practice Programme, Rand Abdul Jabbar intends to continue her ongoing research pursuits into archaeological sites (especially those threatened by recent conflict) and to map their transformation across moments of genesis, evolution, abandonment, ruin, revival and decay. By weaving historic records with personal and fictitious narratives, the project Rand aims to develop will draw on mythology, colonial archaeological legacies, personal and institutional archives, forensic investigations and iconoclasm to uncover, recall and resurrect accounts of triumph and tragedy. In doing so, she will use her time on the Critical Practice Programme to explore how historic accounts, mythology and memory can be infused with fiction and narrated through the interplay between sculpture and performance.

    Ji-Hye Kim: During the 2023 Critical Practice Programme, Ji-Hye intends to broaden her perspective and expand the realm of her printmaking practice, digging deeper into its meaning, in addition to techniques such as Photopolymer, Cyanotype, Mokulitho and Monotype. She will focus on the surrounding natural environment of the UAE, especially the local mountains and rocks, carved by the elements over thousands of years. Korean-born and having lived in the UK, Japan and Dubai, she will explore notions of identity, belonging and the seismic changes going on in the world.

    Mouza Al Hamrani: During the 2023 Critical Practice Programme, Mouza Al Hamrani intends to expand her understanding of interactive digital art, electronic art, and projection while incorporating illustration. She plans to study the technical aspects of making; the fabrication of objects as well as coding and apply this new-found knowledge through experimentation.


    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)

    Shamma Al Amri

    Mentored by the renowned typographer, writer and graphic designer Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès and acclaimed artist Mohammed Kazem.

    Solo Exhibition: So to Speak (Tashkeel, 2022)

    Shazia Salam

    Mentored by the curator and research Sabih Ahmed and acclaimed artist Taus Makhacheva.

    Solo Exhibition: Voice-Over-Voice- (Tashkeel, 2023)


    Salem Al Qassimi

    Mentor to Mouza Al Hamrani

    Salem Al-Qassimi is a graphic designer and entrepreneur born and raised in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE). He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Multimedia Design from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), during which he also served as a teaching assistant and instructor. His thesis was an investigation of the Arabish (Arabic and English) culture in the United Arab Emirates.

    Salem worked at various companies in the UAE and abroad before founding Fikra in 2006—a multidisciplinary design studio that specializes in providing bilingual graphic design solutions in Arabic and English.

    Fikra works in print and new media, including: identity creation, book design, environmental graphics, data-visualizations, interaction design, web design, and motion graphics. The studio’s philosophy is deeply rooted in exploring the intersections of cultural Arabic and Islamic traditions and modern lifestyle through design.

    While practicing, Salem also teaches design studios at the American University of Sharjah in the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

    Athar Jaber

    Mentor to Rand Abdul Jabbar

    Athar Jaber was born in Rome, Italy, in 1982 to Iraqi artists Afifa Aleiby and Jaber Alwan. He grew up between Rome, Florence, The Netherlands and Antwerp, Belgium.

    Athar Jaber’s practice mainly focusses on stone sculpture, but his artistic output also includes other expressions such as performance, video, photography and text.

    Noteworthy solo exhibitions include Offerings (National Museum of Fine Arts, La Habana, Cuba, 2018), and Where Pain Becomes Beauty (Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence, 2015). While international group shows include the Bruges Triennale (Bruges, 2021), Future Genealogies (6th Lubumbashi Biennial, Congo, 2019), A Cool Breeze (Rudolfinum Galerie, Prague (2019), 100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art (Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2017), Jerusalem Lives (The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, West Bank, 2017),

    Athar Jaber’s work is part of various private and public collections such as SMAK Ghent, the Barjeel Art Foundation, The Palestinian Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, the National Museum of Lubumbashi and the FAO Headquarters in Rome among others.

    In 2021 Athar Jaber obtained a Ph.D. in the Arts at the University of Antwerp. He currently lives and works between Belgium and the UAE.

    Rose Lejeune

    Mentor to Rand Abdul Jabbar

    Rose Lejeune is an experienced curator and consultant with particular expertise in working with artists whose practices have strong multi-disciplinary, performative, digital, public or social elements.

    Primarily working on collection expansion and acquisition research as well as artist’s commissions and public art, Rose works across museum and private collections, the commercial, public and education sectors. She has built a reputation for strategic overview and curatorial innovation and in 2020 was named in ArtNet’s Intelligence Report as a “global innovator” for her work.

    Rose has substantial experience of institutional strategic planning, programme curation, public art and pedagogical course design. She is also frequently invited to share her expertise through teaching, panels, interviews and writing and works both in the UK and internationally.

    Rose’s current work builds on a decade of experience working with public organisations and on independent projects. In particular, she focused on the development of ideas and artistic process outside of traditional gallery spaces, especially public art and social practice.

    Rose holds a BA in Philosophy and Art History, and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and is on the advisory board for the independent space Mimosa House, London. Finally, she is currently PhD candidate in Curating at Goldsmiths College, University of London where her research focuses on the institutionalisation of performance art.

    Mohammed Kazem

    Mentor to Maitha Hamdan

    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.

    Isaac Sullivan

    Mentor to Ji-Hye Kim

    Isaac Sullivan is a Dubai-based artist whose research interests include artificial intelligence, sound art and the problematics of space and place. His recent exhibitions and performances, which include Kulturforum, Berlin; IF.BE, Mumbai; Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; 8th Tashkent Biennale; Beirut Design Week; and ECC's 58th Venice Biennale collateral – exploring cybernetic processes and ecological thought through video, installation, painting, photography and sonic intervention. Sullivan has been featured in various publications including Outland, Canvas magazine, SO-FAR and 1913: A Journal of Forms. He is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Zayed University, Dubai.

    Janet Bellotto

    Mentor to Maitha Hamdan

    Janet Bellotto is a multidisciplinary Italian-Canadian artist and educator from Toronto and based in Dubai. Bellotto is an initiator of various collaborations that promote cultural exchange. Bellotto’s work has been exhibited in a series of group and solo exhibitions internationally, including at Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany, Stichting Bewaerschole, Zeeland, Netherlands, La Cappella-Sist’Art, Venice, Italy and Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey. Water is a constant theme in her practice, inspired by research and projects in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Her work, seen most recently at NYUAD Art Gallery’s Project Space, Abu Dhabi, has focused on islands in the Gulf, Atlantic and Indian oceans, their delicate ecologies and environments including the effects of climate change. Curatorial projects include: Nature in the Garage, Toronto; Tessellation Make Up, Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul; Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World, American University Museum, Washington, and Resonating Tides, Women’s Pavilion, Expo City. Her major research project on Sable Island was published in 2017 by lightbox, Venice, with MAP Office in the book Our Ocean Guide (2017). She is currently working on a monograph to be published by Impulse[b].

    Current Participants

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    Gallery, Unit 26, FN Designs, Alserkal Avenue
    Sun-Thu 10am – 7pm, Fri 9am–12pm
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    Sat-Thu 10am – 7pm
    (closed Fridays & public holidays).

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