Tomorrow night is the launch event for Capsule Arts, a limited-edition print exhibition aimed at raising the profile of 18 emerging artists – 17 of whom live and work in the UAE and one who works between Dubai and Bahrain – as well as offering original or limited-edition pieces of art for prices between Dh300 and Dh2,250. These will be available online after the one-night exhibition.
One of the artists is Khalid Mezaina, a 28-year-old Emirati graphic designer, illustrator and painter who also works at Tashkeel studio hub in Dubai. Mezaina has produced six illustrations for Capsule Arts and these have been transformed into limited-edition prints. Three are from a series titled Five Times a Day, of drawings of prayer carpets. The other three are from the Neighbourhood series, featuring illustrations of iconic architecture from different neighbourhoods around Dubai.
What is your opinion of the Capsule Arts initiative and how do you think it will help you specifically?
I think Capsule Arts is a great initiative as it provides creatives in the UAE with a platform to showcase, promote and sell their artworks in a more accessible way, not limiting themselves to gallery-based exposure but opening up opportunities via an online presence and pop-up shows and events. I’m really happy to be a part of the first Capsule Arts and I’m looking forward to what it brings. I’m hoping that a newer audience gets exposed to my work. I sense it’s going to be a very positive experience for me.
Your work is graphics-based – is it therefore more suited to be a print than other forms of art?
I’ve noticed a better response to my works when they are more accessible and in the form of limited-edition prints and/or other forms of products, which I create under my label “krossbreed”, rather than when showcased in a commercial gallery space. So I think currently, the state of my work is successful in this context.
In light of your position at Tashkeel, can you explain how you think Capsule Arts will have an effect on the wider arts community?
I think Capsule Arts and Tashkeel share similarities in the sense of promoting and supporting talent based in the UAE. Just as Tashkeel is always in search of fresh talent to support in its studio-equipped facilities, Capsule Arts will be finding new creative talents and exposing them through its online platform and pop-up shows. It’s great to see various institutions supporting the independent creative scene.
Is there a need for more affordable art platforms in the UAE?
I think there is definitely a need for more platforms in the UAE that promote affordable and accessible art. It’s great to see all these commercial galleries and fairs in the country, but not everyone is able to afford the works showcased in these institutions. Also, not every creative is able to be represented by these galleries or sell just as well as the artists they promote. I think if there were a balance of the high-end with the affordable and accessible, it would be great.
What do we need to move our art scene to the next level?
I would love to see independent design or art studios opening up where people can access work that speaks of the community and the growing creative scene here. I’d love to enter creative spaces where I can witness artists and designers in action. I think the high-end commercial galleries are great. But I think what’s missing is exposure of the independent creative scene that tends to go unnoticed. I’d also love to see pop-up style art and design exhibitions and events that are successful on a curatorial level as well as educational, which showcase a specific theme or medium. On a personal level, I would love to see a showcase on silk-screen prints, product and industrial design, more illustration-based shows and fashion-themed exhibitions.
The entire limited-edition print collection, featuring Mezaina’s work and the work of 17 other artists who live and work in the GCC, will be exhibited at the Capsule Arts Studio Warehouse space in Al Quoz, Dubai tomorrow night from 7pm to 11pm. In total, 78 prints – printed on museum-quality, archival paper and in limited editions of 25 prints at most – will be on display. The prints will be available to buy online on www.capsulearts.com and range in price from Dh300 to Dh2,250. A pop-up exhibition of some of the prints will take place on the second Friday of every month, from October to December, at Abu Dhabi’s Fairmont Bab Al Bahr