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AUS designers stand out at Dubai Design Week 2020
More than 15 designers from American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) are set to stand out at this year’s Dubai Design Week. In exhibits at Dubai Design District (d3) November 9–14, CAAD students, alumni and faculty will showcase a wide range of works including architectural installations, interior design, multimedia, film and a new tool for art therapy to support children impacted by war.
Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD, noted that this year’s lineup included designers from CAAD’s first graduating class right through to recent graduates and current students.
“No matter where you look, CAAD alumni—seasoned professionals and those fresh out of university—are shaping and impacting the UAE’s creative industry. Whether representing their own successful design firms, presenting independent works, or working with other leading design entities, members of the CAAD community make a significant contribution to the design landscape of the UAE,” he said.
Featured as part of Downtown Design’s multimedia exhibition entitled The Shape of Things to Come are four AUS architecture alumni who are recognized as founders of some of the most inspiring architecture and interior design studios in the region: Hend Almatrouk of Studio Toggle in Kuwait, Ahmed Al-Ali and Farid Esmaeil of X-Architects in Dubai, and Pallavi Dean of Roar Design also in Dubai.
Another major drawcard of the event is the installation exhibition, which will feature the pieces Earthly by award-winning alumna Jumana Rizk, and Desert Ribbons by Assistant Professor of Architecture and Interior Design Tania Ursomarzo and Bishoy Girgis, CAAD Material Fabrication Specialist. The installations were selected for their smart design and functionality, while considering the challenges of physical distancing. The purpose-built installations will be featured in the outdoor space of d3 for visitors to interact with throughout the week.
Recent visual communications graduate Leen Kahaleh will also be featured in the UAE Designer Exhibition. Her piece entitled Nus Nus is a multifunctional tool for art and play therapy, created under the mentorship of Associate Professor Hala Al-Ani at AUS and is designed to help children express their emotions by experiencing different activities including mark-making and block-building.
“After ten years of war in Syria, the crisis continues to have a huge impact on the mental health of Syrian children. Art and play therapy is one way for children to express traumatic experiences in their own language and share their grief. I am grateful to see my passion and dedication to this social issue getting the support and appreciation by our community, hoping that I will be part of the healing journey after war,” said Kahaleh.
Finally, visitors will have the opportunity to view a series of films by six CAAD students who worked under award-winning Assistant Professor Becky Beamer and in collaboration with Film My Design, a Cairo-based film festival established by CAAD alumni Farah El-Rafei and Israa Ibrahim. The students were challenged to produce a poetic documentary that reflects their voice as a filmmaker while also documenting a regional artist.
The CAAD-created films include Your Center by Sara Alzarooni, Ez el Zahma by Abrar Kebaili, Metamorphic by Farah Maarouf, Heritage by Rana Saleh, Growth by Razan Abussaud and Dual by Layal Gadhi.