- Artists based in the UK and UAE selected to create new, collaborative, digital artworks from 1000s of miles apart
- Multimedia artist Manal AlDowayan will be providing mentorship for this edition
The Arab British Centre, in partnership with the British Council, is pleased to announce the artists selected for the Winter edition of their Connect ME Digital Residency programme. Connect ME pairs creatives aged 18-30 based in the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) and the United Kingdom to create collaborative digital work over a 4-week programme of online mentoring by a leading artist or curator.
The Connect ME programme was developed in 2020 as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic, and as a digital continuation of the Arab British Centre’s creative exchange programme Making Marks, which promotes creative exchange and international collaboration between the UK and Gulf countries. This is the second edition of the Connect ME residency, which will this time be led by mentor Manal AlDowayan, a multi-media artist from Saudi Arabia who is equally recognized for her work in sound, video, neon, and sculpture. Her artworks are in public collections in Museums around the world, including L.A County Museum, the British Museum, and Ithra Cultural Center.
Manal said “I am delighted to have been invited to mentor on this programme and am intrigued to see what these exciting artists will produce over the duration of the Connect ME digital residency. They represent a new generation of emerging creatives whose paths are being uniquely shaped by the pandemic and its impacts on the cultural sector. As mentor, I am looking forward to getting to know the artists’ work, encouraging their ideas, and guiding their collaborative process as they work together from thousands of miles apart.”
The artists selected for this edition of the residency are based in the UK, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, are aged between 23 and 30, and work in mediums including visual journalism, multimedia design, experimental archiving, and sensory experience production. They were selected from 53 applications by a committee featuring mentor Manal AlDowayan, and representatives from the British Council and the Arab British Centre.
The selected artist pairs in UAE and UK are Dina Khatib and Ollie Cameron
Dina Khatib is a Multimedia Designer based in Dubai. Through a research-intensive process, she explores various ways through which different forms of media can be integrated and embraces the constantly shifting nature of her practice. Dina joined the UAE National Pavilions research team for the 2020-2021 Venice Biennale, and has also participated in Jameel Arts Centre's Youth assembly curatorial team in 2020.
Of her involvement in the residency, Dina said: “I am excited to see the work that comes out of a close collaboration with a stranger, especially one who has been influenced by a different cultural experience. Now that we are adapting and re-adapting to new evolving means of communication, I am particularly interested in seeing how our different practices will inform each other through a hands-on collaboration.”
Ollie Cameron is an Illustration graduate from London who was recently awarded BBC Student Visual Journalist of the year. In his work he experiments with how illustration can be used to document the world around us. In particular, he is drawn to the ways art can visualise topics that are somewhat intangible, from drawing the presence of radiation, documenting a tumor surgery, illustrating an algorithm or trying to capture the feeling of being watched. He is also currently the designer and story boarder for Project Dastaan, an initiative which reunites 1947 Partition refugees with their childhood homes and memories using virtual reality.
Ollie said "It has been hard for me and other artists to collaborate throughout the global pandemic, so this residency provides an amazing window to re-connect with people. The digital residency is not just a replacement for the face-to-face Making Marks exchange but instead is an exciting new platform to explore the interesting and often bizarre ways that we can continue to share art and ideas, even when thousands of miles apart."
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Connect ME pairs artists and creatives aged 18-30 based in the Arab world and the United Kingdom to create collaborative digital work over a 4-week programme of online mentoring.
It was piloted in 2020 having been rapidly devised following the Covid-19 cancellation of an exhibition scheduled to run in Kuwait in March 2020. Connect ME was developed as a digital continuation of the Arab British Centre’s Making Marks creative exchange programme, and thus focused on connecting creatives aged 18-30 based in the GCC countries and the United Kingdom to create new collaborative work that considers how digital tools can encourage connectivity across borders. In the Summer Residency which took place between July and August 2020, artists Ellie Niblock (UK) and Alaa Tarabzouni (KSA) created digital world With Love: From Nowhere, and Alexis Maxwell (UK) and Rawan AlMahrouqi (Om) created spoken word animation Hair, Poetry.
Making Marks is a strand of programming by London-based charity the Arab British Centre, in partnership with the British Council, which focuses on the development of artists from the UK and the Arab World through international exchange programmes, commissions, and opportunities for artistic collaboration. Making Marks considers the positive impact of international working and exchange, and how it can shape artists and their work. The programme actively challenges stereotypes of our respective cultures and highlights the similarities, differences, and universal challenges facing emerging creatives the world over.
The Arab British Centre
The Arab British Centre is a cultural organisation which works to further understanding of the Arab world in the United Kingdom. We organise and promote cultural and artistic events, and host a community of like-minded resident organisations at our central London premises.
Dina Khatib is a Multimedia Designer based in Dubai. Through a research-intensive process, she explores various ways through which different forms of media can be integrated, and embraces the constantly shifting nature of her practice. Dina joined the UAE National Pavilions research team for the 2020-2021 Venice Biennale, and has also participated in Jameel Arts Centre's Youth assembly curatorial team in 2020.
Ollie Cameron is an Illustration graduate from London and was recently awarded BBC Student Visual Journalist of the year. In his work he experiments with how illustration can be used to document the world around us. In particular, he is drawn to the ways art can visualise topics that are somewhat intangible. Whether that is trying to draw the presence of radiation, document a tumor surgery, illustrate an algorithm or try and capture the feeling of being watched, it is the challenge of visualizing pervasive but unseen stories in the world that he finds exciting.
He is currently the designer and story boarder for Project Dastaan. The initiative reunites 1947 Partition refugees with their childhood homes and memories using virtual reality. After receiving further funding from the National Geographic and the British Council, he is now working to expand the project into an interactive 360° feature documentary about Partition and a series of animated shorts.
*Accompanying images and their credit information can be found HERE
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