Canvas Magazine

Room To Breathe
April 2008

Canvas Magazine

Nestled amongst the leafy boulevards of Nad Al-Sheba, lies what is possibly one of Dubai’s best kept secrets. Close to the city centre, but hidden between Dubai’s camel and horse racing tracks, is a haven of clam and tranquility. At the end of a quiet street lies the brand new art space Tashkeel, formerly the Latifa College.

When the college relocated to newer pastures, the building it left behind became the focus of a project of one very special alumnus, Lateefa bint Maktoum, who converted the building into a thriving arts hub. After curating the exhibition “Minus Reality” at Dubai’s Art Arrack Gallery in June 2007, Maktoum saw that there was no single place in which artists in Dubai could meet to work, exchange ideas and exhibit their works. Together with manager Jill Hoyle, the art facilities of the college have been completely revamped, allowing Tashkeel to offer a range of state-of-the-art facilities to its members. Membership to the non-profit organization costs as little as $150 a month, and is open to all ages (18 and above) regardless of skill or experience.

Tashkeel offers all of its members unlimited access to facilities such as a print making studio, fully-equipped computer laboratory (with graphic design, interior design and architecture software and video editing facilities) a dark room, photo studio (complete with backdrop and lights) and a large and airy fine arts studio. From draughting tables for architects to sewing machines, wireless internet and jewellery making stations, there are few bases that Tashkeel hasn’t covered.

To round off the abundance of equipment for various art practices there is an artist’ store where, in addition to the basic materials proved to members free of charge, various art materials can be bought and equipment such as video cameras, tripods and analogue and digital cameras can be signed out for hire. Throw in a comfortable lounge, a growing library with subscriptions to titles normally unavailable in Dubai, a meeting area prayer rooms, a covered outdoor space for al fresco creativity (Humidity permitting of course!) and series of workshops in the pipeline, Tashkeel is all set to become the definitive incubator for new artistic talent.