Art products at Meraki Design and Art Studio.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
A new art studio was launched this weekend in Dubai. It is on its way to make waves in the art community in the UAE — Wabi Sabi is a community arts space that aims to engage audiences, promote local artists and support the development of the art scene through extensive art programmes, educational initiatives, and community projects.
Through diverse public programmes, it asserts, we will aim to increase knowledge and appreciation for the arts in the UAE; the objective is to build bridges between the arts and education, opening cultural dialogue in a non-judgemental environment, and help carry the ideation process into creation.
To do so, they host workshops, talks, events and opportunities to bring together a like-minded community. Wabi Sabi is housed in the communal art studio Meraki Design and Art Studio in Al Quoz, Dubai, whose founders Pooja and Kajol, are themselves deeply passionate about the arts, and are active supporters of the art scene in Dubai.
“Meraki” is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. It is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal — but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, setting an elegant table — or the setting up a space for creativity to flower.
Wabi Sabi, in traditional Japanese aesthetics, is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.
It is the view or thought of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature and a way to describe what is natural and pure, and to acknowledge the beauty of any substance or being, in its most natural and raw form. Wabi Sabi allows people to be more accepting and open to embracing the beauty of flaws and rawness.
Kajol, a qualified interior designer, puts her skills at work at the studio - which is evident in the elegant and abstract interiors of the art space. She has completed BA (Hons) Interior Architecture at Northumbria University, Newcastle.
“Growing up in Dubai, UAE, which is extremely metropolitan,” she says, “makes me a vibrant and energetic person. My personality has a very big influence in my design; hence it makes it dynamic, vivacious and finished with a splash of spontaneity.”
Meraki is a multi-concept space that offers workshops to help their patrons de-stress and is open to people of all skill-levels.
Anyone interested in painting, candle-making, soap-making, resin art, woodwork or other forms of art and design, can come to the venue and practice the art of their liking; the studio has a variety of payment and membership options and has caught the fancy of art aficionados across the city.
“For professional artists who want a regular space to work, they can opt for the monthly membership. For those who want to unwind with a single session of painting after a long day at work, they can do that at nominal charges,” says Pooja, Meraki co-founder. Meraki is thus the perfect co-working space for artsy peeps to put their thinking caps on, at a convenient location and at an affordable price.
Sana Sajan, owner of Wabi Sabi, said: “My collaboration with Meraki is the ideal amalgamation of where I would want to see my passion for art being able to touch the lives of people, who are as inclined towards the arts as I am. Wabi Sabi will allow you to give your thoughts an output, through the medium of painting.”
The art scene in the UAE has seen a radical shift for the better, and post the inauguration of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, among other happenings, the region has seen a major influx of expat community, including many who are art minded. Open immigration policies and the oil-fuelled economic boom have drawn creative minds to the country, and collectors and museum professionals have followed, looking to discover and learn from art in the region.
The art scene is a massive industry in the UAE now and the three entrepreneurs will leave no stone unturned in inspiring the minds of young budding artists and veterans alike. Sajan is an established artist herself and experiments with different styles. She mainly works in mixed media (acrylic paint and embellishments). She is a Modern Contemporary and Islamic Calligraphy artist. She is also a doctor who paints to motivate and touch lives. Of Indian origin, she was born in Iran and is based in the UAE. Her paintings are a blend of shades in an oeuvre of modern contemporary and Islamic calligraphy. Her considerable collections have been auctioned in Dubai at various events, and also privately. She has several accomplishments to her name: Super 100 Women Achievers in the MENA region; Founder of ALIF; Brand Ambassador for Global Goals World Cup 2018 and a supporter of the Right to Education and Women Empowerment. She is an active member of the Thalassemia awareness movement in the UAE.
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