Think you’re the next Banksy? Then you won’t want to miss an exciting opportunity to make your mark on this city at the I AM ME paintbox workshop taking place at DIFC on December 23 and 24. The brainchild of culture junkies Noor Kadhim and Khatijia Sacranie, who also founded In The Frame, an organisation promoting Iraqi artists, the workshop is open to anyone on a drop-in basis and will be supervised by up-and-coming Iraqi-Syrian street artist Saif Chilmiran and Iraqi oil artist Lina Ogaily, as well as art graduates from Central Saint Martins in London. Artists will be given the opportunity to paint and sketch on a canvas while live street artists work on a cuboid. Here, we chat to organiser Noor Kadhim to find out more about the event.
Tell us about the workshops. The workshops will be open to the public living in Dubai, whether or not they are Iraqi, and will allow them to express themselves using paint on canvas. Street artists will demonstrate using spray cans on a cube donated by start-up company Alpha Omega.
Who can attend? Anyone with a devilish desire to create and a wish to legitimately paint some graffiti on a cube. For the price of Dhs150, you’ll get a canvas/card, access to paint and materials, a one-to-one art tutor and the rare chance in this otherwise blemish-free city to graffiti and truly express your identity.
What will readers get out of the experience? Expect to see DIFC turn from a suited and serious financial centre into a vibrant arts hub. It also provides opportunities to network with like-minded individuals with a desire to do, not just see, art.
Why did you decide to focus on street art? Street art is, for us, fluid and expressive and allows people of all backgrounds and nationalities to express themselves without the kind of cultural or educational barriers that other forms of artistic expression, such as fine arts and oil paintings, may entail.
Will you have graffiti artists present? Yes. Saif Chilmiran is a 21-year-old Iraqi-Syrian street artist living in Dubai – he will be our dedicated spray-paint consultant and will treat us to some live interactive street art. Other artists present include Michelle Harvey and Alia Dawood, who have both specialised in street art at Central Saint Martins.
What kind of materials will be available? We’ll have normal acrylic paints and canvases, as well as spray cans – although we’ve had difficulty sourcing good spray cans in Dubai.
Will the readers get to take home their artworks? After the selection of the best three artworks has taken place on Saturday, people will have the chance to sell their work for charity or to friends or the public, or they can take it home. The best three artworks will go forward for display at the IDEA Exhibition, running at Dubai’s Showcase Gallery on January 12-15.
Why is street art important to culture? There are no rules, and this is important for those who do not perhaps have access to expensive materials. We are very inspired by British street artist Banksy: he recounts moving, living culture, and his art signifies a human message, a movement. Street art is living, not fixed and stuck in the past. That’s why it is essential to a growing and evolving art scene like Dubai.
Why did you choose ‘Identity’ as the theme of the workshop? Because if you turn to your neighbour on your left and on your right here in Dubai, they are likely to be from totally different places in the world. We are, most of us, expats in this city, a diaspora of talent, and it is so exciting to find out more about where someone has come from and their walk of life. I AM ME workshops take place on December 23 and 24, 10am-6pm at DIFC. For more information and to sign up, see www.intheframe.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More interactive art classes in Dubai
Contemporary oil painting at Ductac Learn how to master the technique favoured by Leonardo Da Vinci and Van Gogh.You can join the class at any time – all you need to do is give one day’s notice via registration. Dhs1,320 for eight consecutive sessions. Call for timings and registration. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4777).
Painting parties Celebrate a birthday or office party with a splatter of paint: thejamjar hosts painting parties that include unlimited paint and brushes, as well as juices, pizzas, cakes and coffee for an extra charge. Plus you get to take your artwork home to hang (or simply laugh at). From Dhs210 per person (food and drinks extra). Thejamjar, Street 17a, Al Quoz 3 (04 341 7303).
Workshop: I AM ME art workshops, December 23-24 at Caffé Nero atrium, Gate Village, DIFC (055 104 6768, 056 603 8269). Artists: Saif Chilmiran and Lina Ogaily, plus graduates from Central Saint Martins in London