While we typically supported each other's practices from afar, the momentous 2020 compelled us to put our minds together and deepen our practices through collaboration.
Nahla is an artist, pedagogue and culinary researcher. Interested in urban research, materiality, and alchemy, she works within these realms to create social impact.
Her interest in co-founding The Alchemy of Dyeing stems from her commissioned body of research supported by Campus Art Dubai and the Art Jameel Research and Practice Fund. The work explores the ways Dubai could be mapped through colour making, capsuling fleeting moments and bridging the old world sacred practice of alchemy and depositing it in a fast paced, urban lifestyle.
She earned her MA in Curatorial Practice from the Bath School of Art and Design (2012), and her BFA in Sculpture from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design (2009). She previously led and developed the community programme at Sharjah Art Foundation, and currently develops education projects independently and in collaboration with institutions including Art Jameel, Warehouse 421, and the Beacon House National Trust University. She is also a culinary navigator and ethnographer with Frying Pan Adventures, and the co-founder of Daftar Asfar, a mobile sketchbook publishing platform.
Mehru is a fashion and textile designer.
She started developing her own practice after working in the family fashion business for 4 years. In 2019, she launched her namesake slow fashion label, Mēru. Melding past, present and future, the collections reimagine her South Asian heritage, the concepts of femininity, androgyny and function.
The source and soul of fabrics has always been an obsession. During lockdown, she got a chance to explore surface design, with resist dye and painting techniques and started creating her own unique textiles. A quarantined conversation with Nahla led to a serendipitous realization of the overlapping of their separate practices, and The Alchemy of Dyeing was conceived.
Mehru started her formal training in Fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York with an Associates Degree (AAS) in Fashion Design, Womenswear. She is still training.
Photo credits: Augustine Paredes and Andrea Salerno Jacome.
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