Introducing...Khalid Mezaina

Emirati artist Khalid Mezaina juxtaposes elements from contemporary life and pop culture in the Emirates with traditional Arabic culture to create unconventional portraits of life in the UAE that are often humorous, and always engaging.

Khalid's playful illustrations are inspired by comic book art, music, fashion and the UAE's ever-evolving landscape and community.

A page from 'never forget'
A page from 'never forget'

Previously we have shown his black & white ink drawings of neighbourhoods in Dubai, along with a number of prints of his Five Times a Day series. Now we're adding a burst of colour with two new prints that Khalid has created especially for the collection: A Krossbreed Fantasy 1 and A Krossbreed Fantasy 2. See a sneak peek here:

A glimpse of new work 'A Krossbreed Fantasy 2'
A glimpse of new work 'A Krossbreed Fantasy 2'

These quirky illustrations combine bold pattern and colour with a play on the  notion of what a 'krossbreed' would be. Khalid has created strange hybrid creatures that are part fashion model, part plant, part animal, using animals native to the UAE - the falcon and the oryx. As part of his working process for the new prints, Khalid started by making collages to form his hybrid creatures.

Collages made by Khalid as part of the process behind his new prints
Collages made by Khalid as part of the process behind his new prints

The term 'krossbreed' also links to Khalid's interdisciplinary studio and brand of the same name, which he founded in 2010, which works to create contemporary, culturally-infused designs with unconventional flair. Products by krossbreed include t-shirts, prints, stationary, wallpaper, furniture and more.

Khalid has just released his illustrated book never forget: an illustrated guide to dubai's best kept secrets, featuring the under appreciated areas of the city like Deira and Karama. This follows on from Khalid's series of drawings of architecture in these areas, which feature in our first print collection. Visit our website to see our available selection.

A page from 'never forget'
A page from 'never forget'

A UAE-born graphic designer, illustrator and artist, Mezaina, graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a BS in Visual Communication. Mezaina has been included in group exhibitions, projects, and residencies, both in the UAE and internationally, , including most recently in the exhibition Past Forward, which toured the USA. Visit khalidmezaina.blogspot.ae for more info.