Now more than ever, it's important to support each other. Covid-19 has caused most of us to have far less work opportunities, exhibition platforms and sales but thankfully there are loyal clients and customers still keen to work with small artists. If you are one of them (or want to become more supportive), take a look at the below list of awesome local artists and shops you could purchase from or work with when doing your next marketing campaign or simply when buying a gift for a friend's birthday:
Before we get to our own list of artists and shops, this is an awesome directory of small local Dubai businesses from entertainment, lifestyle and fashion to kids and fitness. Some of our favourites for lockdown times include the amazing family concept store Caramel & Sun (perfect for a kid's bday gift), the cool retro record store FLIP and the local photo gallery Gulf Photo Plus that sell artists prints (often with some of the profit going to a good cause).
2. Art Jameel Jaddaf Aloud Online Directory
Yet another directory of local arts and crafts can be found on Art Jameel's website. This list overlaps slightly with the above mentioned but we wanted to make sure you have all the resources available to pick and choose!
3. Noor Naqweh Illustrations
If you're looking for a cool portrait for a friend (or his/her pet) as your next gift, Jordanian/Canadian artist Noor Naqweh creates awesome, unique pieces in vibrant colours on commission basis. Take a look at her shop here.
Another awesome shop with unique illustrated gift items includes @k100dxb run by Kapil Bhimekar. We actually love his work so much his shower curtain is actually hanging in our bathroom :). For purchase just DM @k100dxb. You can also check our artist's highlight on Kapil here.
5. Mind The Mustard
New to the block is a cool new clothing brand with probably the most unique name ever! Designed by Iranian illustrator and designer Nasiim Rezapour who believes in 'being' and his older brother 'be', Mind The Mustard is all about staying saucy.
The official launch date is still a secret, we know it's soon and you can already check out some awesome previews on Insta @bymindthemustard. In Nasiim's words: "We hope to keep spicing you up🔥"
6. Ruson Ceramics by Maja
Personally we bookmarked this one for future gifts already: Anthropologist Maja Ruson is from a mixed heritage from Europe and the Pacific Islands and grew up in Asia, the Middle East, the US, and Europe. When she moved to Dubai three years ago and found herself in between jobs, she took a pottery class and quickly became infatuated. She started spending 10 hours a day, six days a week at the studio. Wanting to take her obsession to the next level, she launched Ruson in March 2020. Then the COVID-19 lockdown forced the studios to close but now that the kilns are running again, she'll be posting the new collection soon!
Check out her beautiful ceramics inspired by her surroundings and current events @rusonceramics (just DM to order) and take a look below for some inspiration.
Community initiatives at their best, #BOOKHERO allows Dubai citizens to swap books at a cheap price at various public book shelves (15 to be exact) across the city. Leave your read books in their box & purchase a new one for 10-20AED (just leave the cash in the collection box). Sometimes you might need to do some searching, but it's worth it for the price! Maybe you'll even find a nice second-hand read as a gift for someone.
Stations can be found at Marina Mall, Media City, Marina Walk (near Spinneys) and more! Follow them on facebook @BookHeroUAE and Insta @bookhero for more info.
MIXTURA posters & commissions
Of course we also create hand-drawn and digital illustrations – available for purchase or on commission. While our shop is still launching, you can email or call us for any commissions including mini framed drawings and large-scale posters. Take a look at our instagram @thisismixtura to get an idea!
This is not the end! We'll be adding more locals here over time ...