Art Dubai maybe a commercial enterprise, but the organisers stress that they also want to contribute to the growth of the wider art community through the accompanying programme of talks, commissions and events.
One of the socially minded events taking place this year is the launch of 81 Designs. This initiative hopes to empower Palestinian women refugees living in South Lebanon through providing them with jobs based on their skills set, using traditional artisan crafts to reinterpret modern art. Each project will collaborate with a different artist from the MENA region.
A woman working on one of the eL Seed tapestries
At Art Dubai, 81 Designs will officially launch its first project, in which Palestinian refugee women have recreated the ‘calligraffiti’ mural works of Tunisian artist eL Seed in tapestry, an ancient skill passed down from one generation to the next.
Co-founder Nadine Y Maalouf said, “Our vision is to empower as many skilled artisan women refugees as possible by giving them hope, renewed sense of purpose in life, and a sustainable future. Currently, we employ ten Palestinian women refugees based in South Lebanon.”
Nadine Y Maalouf will host a talk with eL Seed at Art Dubai on 17 March in the Julius Baer Lounge, Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah, from 5.00pm to 6:30pm. A short documentary will be shown as part of the event.