Meet The Artists Behind This Year's Campus Art Dubai Initiative

BY Harper's BAZAAR Art / Apr 8 2020 / 08:00 AM

We review the projects of five participating artists this year...

Meet The Artists Behind This Year's Campus Art Dubai Initiative
Courtesy of Kathleen Hoare
Nahla Al-Tabbaa at work

With the help of the Campus Art Dubai (CAD) program, UAE-based artists, curators, writers, architects, designers and cultural producers have built and developed their careers.

Through a lively mix of seminars, lectures, workshops one-on-one tutorials, artists on the program typically present their work and discuss it with their peer group at least four times over the course of the program as well as one-on-one critiques with lead and visiting tutors while they engage in an intensive production residency at a dedicated Campus Art Dubai studio space.

Each year a special curriculum is designed around a pertinent theme and CAD participants explore the significance of local knowledge with individuals and institutions in the region through course material and a series of seminars, lectures, workshops and off-site visits. Sessions are led by academics, critics, curators and artists with many acting as mentors to the CAD participants.

This year, the participating artists came from across the Middle East and so here, we review for you, their 2020 projects.  

Layan Attari (UAE)

In her CAD project, Layla studied artificial, water-based environments in the Emirates and investigated why these environments have become necessary to our wellbeing and what questions they raise about our relationship to the Earth. She questioned the aspirational thinking that guides the process of creating these environments as well as their potential consequences.


Nahla Al-Tabbaa (Jordan, Bangladesh)

Nahla worked to develop a paint palette and a series of dyes for her project that are based on the traditional way of making paints. The process would begin by foraging for various materials and objects in the local environment, crushing them, and using a combination of Gum Arabic, honey and distilled water to create a paste.

The palette aims to demonstrate a methodology that would need to be applied if our only choice to forage for ‘natural and pure materials’ would be what is available to us in the city. The alchemic process of learning how to make paint from natural materials was holistic to Nahla, in the sense that each part of the process was a cathartic and spiritual adventure.

Zahra Jewanjee (UAE)

Zahra is a recipient of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship, Abu Dhabi. For her CAD project, she aimed to develop a body of work that further responds to natural systems, using paint, print and sculpture as the prime mediums to unpack a visual vocabulary that can shape her narrative of connecting the natural world to social constructs.

Zahra Jewanjee

Ameena Aljarman (Ras Al Khaimah, UAE)

Ameena’s CAD project Grandma Ameena Wishes, depicts a visual narrative of a series of her grandmother’s history and ‘soul-searching’ journeys, narrated orally and passed on to Ameena’s family. This documentation of womanhood, travel and rituals create rich visual elements of certain aspects in the female family line, ultimately linking them to the environment. The works were a combination of photography and video installations that represent symbols close to her grandmother.

Ameena Aljarman

Zena Adhami (Syria)

In her CAD project, Zena explored her personal relationship with nature, using her garden as a focal point to understand the effects and interdependent relationship of the environment and human beings. By examining the materials used in development (dirt, flower, seeds for instance), Zena explores connections and hopes to establish a dialogue between them.

Zena Adhami

All images courtesy of Art Dubai

From the spring 2020 issue of Harper's BAZAAR Art