Dubai, UAE: The art exhibition at the Kambaa art cafe has been going on for the last two months. The launch was successful (and our photos ended up in the papers, ahem!).  I got to meet my like-minded art colleagues and friends at the event, while partaking of some delicious snacks and canapés.

I have been a bit tardy in having this article posted but it’s never too late.  At every opportunity possible, I ensure that my meetings take place at the Kamba Art cafe, and why not? It’s a very comfortable place to sit and have a coffee while meeting with clients and business associates. The carpeted floor cuts the noise of my clickety heels and needless noise and I love sitting amidst the paintings of talented local artists and enjoying those tempting sesame biscuits.

For those who don’t know where the Kambaa Art Cafe is, it is at the Address hotel at the Dubai Marina.  If you want to be where life happens and were art works, then the Address hotel and the Kambaa Art Cafe are the hot spots to be at. A chic lobby lounge is picture perfect. The first batch of artists who showcased their work with Carrie Wareham, Marian Lishman, Helen Antoniades the glass painter, Stephanie Neville and Judy Roberts.  May’s batch included Marushka Lebrun, Arthi Srinivasan and Aldrie Acosta.


Carrie Wareham and her lovely artwork

Carrie Wareham and her lovely artwork. Photo © Marian Lishman


Stephanie Neville's artwork

Stephanie Neville's artwork in the background. The artists Judy Roberts, Alwin Apolonio and Stephanie Neville have an art chat. Photo © Marian Lishman

The Black Sheep Art Studio was instrumental in getting this concept of art in a hotel launched.  The owners of the Studio, Carrie Wareham and Marian Lishman, are long term artist friends of mine (six years I think).  Both artists hail from UK but are no strangers to the land of Dubai.  Their studio started in 2007, in Dubai, is a platform for these wonderful artists to showcase their work and teach alongside it. A few weeks ago, they held a workshop at the hotel delving in acrylic and textural techniques.

Judy Roberts wildlife paintings

Judy Roberts wildlife paintings. Photo © Marian Lishman

Like me, both Wareham and Lishman are frequent exhibitors at the well known handcrafted souq called the Artisans of the Emirates (ARTE).  I was curious to know a bit more about why organise a separate show. Wareham had a few answers to enlighten me and I share them with you here.

What is the purpose of this unique concept?

At the Kambaa lobby lounge, the artwork is in situ all the time and people can relax and have coffee amongst the artwork and enjoy their surroundings. There is no pressure to buy.  It also offers a platform for locally based artists of all nationalities to showcase their work for a month which would probably otherwise be stuck in a storeroom, studio gathering dust between venues or events. As the artists themselves spend time at the location, and are able to do some painting there too, it offers an opportunity for them to engage with customers of the Kambaa art lounge and discuss their work, which in turn, could lead to a sale or commission work.

I find that my clients like to talk to the artist as it gives more meaning to the artwork purchased, having had some contact with the artist who created it. In addition, some of the artists involved will be conducting workshops at The Address and clients of these workshops can see the work produced by the artist leading the workshop. As each group of artists displays for a month and another group follows, it can potentially showcase a lot of artists who might not have the opportunity to exhibit elsewhere. It helps them on their way.

Helen and Stephanie

Helen and Stephanie are all smiles. Photo © Marian Lishman


Where do u see this exhibition going over the next few months?

My (Black Sheep’s) Contract with the hotel is to showcase artwork at least until the end of August 2011. I see this as a possible springboard for other artists in the UAE to be able to get their work seen.  I see this as a confidence booster for artists. It’s a very nice thing to do, to be with the art in a nice relaxed setting and contemplate new inspiration. I would hope that the artwork would also bring something new and interesting for the Kambaa customers to enjoy too, seeing art out of a gallery close at hand.


Who wants to paint

Who wants to paint. Photo © Marian Lishman


What are the criteria? (Considering that I’m thinking about returning to art, namely botanical and medical artwork and this concept of having my work displayed throughout the day at one of Dubai’s great hotels appeals to me, therefore this question.)

This is very simple. The artist should reside in the UAE (not just Dubai). The art itself should have some Middle Eastern flavour and should be on canvas or framed paper – one of the next artists is a water colour artist and all her work is framed behind glass. The kind of art I’m looking for should in some way express the artist’s experience or feelings about living in the UAE, that perhaps other people can relate to. At the moment, the artwork ranges from very abstract, to whimsical architecture on glass, to realistic wildlife, and all the artists produce very different works.

NOTE: I will joining the watercolour workshop at the Kambaa Art Cafe by Alvin Apolonio and will report on  my experience!

And here questions of type such if honestly strike me not much as I wrote everything higher. It is visible you simply you don’t want to read all this. As my parrot does.