Inspiring art and creativity in the UAE – Tashkeel identifies, nurtures and develops talent


Founded in January 2008 by Lateefa bint Maktoum, and nestled amongst the leafy streets of Nad Al-Sheba, Tashkeel is an inspirational haven of calm and tranquility for the UAE’s art community. An independent resource for artists and designers living and working in the UAE, Tashkeel is committed to inspiring art and design practice, cross-cultural dialogue and creative exchange.

The name Tashkeel derives from the Arabic “Fen Tashkeely” which means fine arts and variety, and conceived by Lateefa bint Maktoum’s mother, HH Sheikha Alia bint Khalifa Al Maktoum – a writer, poet, and wife of the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, she also used to name her husband’s racehorses. To begin with, Lateefa and her mother looked through books of Arabic poetry for inspiration, but in the end the name Tashkeel came to them in a flash of inspiration. It was a perfect fit for the studios because it encapsulates, in a single word, the creativity that takes place in the studio as well as the art that is displayed in the gallery.

Today, the studio facilities available to Tashkeel members include a print making studio, fully-equipped computer laboratory (with graphic design, interior design, architectural software and video editing facilities) a darkroom, photo studio (complete with backdrop and lights) and a large, airy fine arts studio plus textile printing, wireless internet and jewellery making stations. In addition to the studio resources, there is an up to date international journal / reference library plus a members room, art supplies and equipment rental store and a gallery that is open to the public. Tashkeel also organises regular creative workshops (open to both members and non-members) led by practicing artists.

Being a member at Tashkeel gives artists and designers the opportunity to interact with artists from many different cultural backgrounds and experiences, including leading local, regional and international professionals who have been working in the field of art for decades to young artists who are just starting their careers. Tashkeel firmly believes that this interaction is vital in order for artists to develop their work and their artistic techniques, as it gives inexperienced artists the unique opportunity to take part in workshops led by highly accredited professional artists such as Jalal Luqman, Nagib Khazaka and Felicity Brown. They also can volunteer to work hands on with artists to assist with the set up of large complex installations for exhibitions at Tashkeel.

Many Tashkeel members have claimed places in the international art world, including Reem Al Ghaith (whose work has been shown internationally, and is appearing at the Centre Pompidou in France and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York during 2010), the renowned British textile designer Felicity Brown (who has designed for Alberta Ferretti, Lanvin, Loewe and Mulberry and whose work has been seen on international catwalks. Felicity was also selected to show at Fashion East, part of London Fashion Week, in September 2010) and Emirati fine artist Maitha Demithan, whose work has been included in exhibitions in Berlin, Brisbane, New York and Venice as well as at Art Dubai.

Membership of Tashkeel costs as little as Dhs. 700 a month and is open to anyone aged 18 and above regardless of their skill or experience. The facility is open from 8 am to 10 pm, Saturday to Thursday.


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