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7 Regional Artists Get Inspired by the Historical Relevance of Date Palm Trees for ‘Fashcultivate’ Exhibition


There’s textile design, contemporary couture fashion and more on show as creatives celebrate the date palm tree and its rich 7,000-year history in the UAE.

If you’re in the UAE and looking for exciting ideas for your next cultural outing, head to 1971- Design Space to take in works by a stellar mix of artists and designers from the GCC, who have been inspired by date palms. The Sharjah-based contemporary design studio’s Fashcultivate exhibition, which is taking place until February 8, celebrates the natural treasure and symbol, which has become part of the cultural and historical identity of the Gulf region.

Khulood Thani

“With Fashcultivate, we are breaking the invisible borders between fashion and other fields of design,” Khulood bin Thani told Marie Claire Arabia. The Emirati fashion designer is the exhibition’s co-curator, alongside Fatma Al Mahmoud, the Head of 1971- Design Space.

Fatma Al-Mahmoud

The exhibition features works by seven commissioned Gulf-based designers, including Saudi’s Shahd AlShehail and Hala Kaiksow from Bahrain. The other artists, Hessa Al Suwaidi, Maryam Omaira, Asma Al Mazrouie and Khalid Mezaina, all hail from the UAE, while Faissal El-Malak is based there.

After researching the date palm tree extensively and incorporating their own ideas, the artists have referenced details like the trees’ different functions, fibres, hues, structures and natural beauty in their handmade contemporary design and textile pieces.

Asma Al-Mazrouie's work for Fashcultivate

Additionally, the curators and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council have developed a research with Dr Sandra Piesik to explore the use of sustainable materials made out of the date palm so that the development of climate-friendly production is encouraged. And the findings, which have resulted in new materials being fabricated out of the tree, are showcased at the exhibition. The exhibition theme is also reflected in the complementing bespoke exhibition design itself, created by Sharjah-based Interior/Product Designer Alya Al Ghfeli.

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