news, project Social Enterprise 81 Designs Launches at Art Dubai 2017

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Tunisian artist eL Seed’s artworks recreated by Palestinian refugee women
Co-founder Nadine Y Maalouf will host a talk with eL Seed on March 17 at Julius Baer Lounge, Madinat, Jumeirah

Dubai, UAE; February 13, 2017: 81 Designs, created with the desire and compassion to use art as a social enterprise vehicle, is launching at the 11th edition of Art Dubai taking place on 15-18 March 2017 at Madinat, Jumeirah. While empowering women refugees by providing them with jobs based on their skill set, the enterprise is also a platform for artists to share their expertise and add value to the thriving art scene in the Middle East. Each project curated by 81 Designs collaborates with an artist from the region.

Palestinian women refugees embroidering

The launch project is held in collaboration with internationally acclaimed ‘calligraffiti’ artist eL Seed who is renowned for his larger-than-life spray painting murals and mixes traditional Arabic calligraphy and graffiti to express his thoughts. His select artworks are recreated by women refugees from 81 Designs. Aiming to preserve ancient techniques by using them to interpret modern designs, each tapestry is handmade using methods passed down from one generation to another.

Unfinished tapestry by 81 Designs

Underscoring her commitment to social betterment of the community, 81 Designs co-founder Nadine Y Maalouf, said: “Capacity building approach is key to the success of our ongoing social programme. Our vision is to empower as many skilled artisan women refugees as possible by giving them hope, renewed sense of purpose in life, and a sustainable future. Currently, we employ ten Palestinian women refugees based in South Lebanon.”

Women refugees empowered by 81 Designs recreating eL Seeds work

“Launching 81 Designs at an international platform such as Art Dubai that will surely help us reach out to a greater segment of the community gives us immense pleasure. Collaborating with eL Seed, who shares the same vision to bring people and humanity together, will play a vital role in strengthening our cause and raising awareness on enduring challenges that are happening in this part of the world,” she adds.

To officially launch the enterprise, 81 Designs will host a talk with eL Seed at Julius Baer Lounge, Fort Island, Madinat, Jumeirah on Friday, 17 March from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. A short documentary will be shown as part of the event.



81 Designs is a UAE-based social enterprise co-founded by Nesrine El-Tibi Maalouf and Nadine Y Maalouf in 2015. It comprises a group of skilled women artisans that are Palestinian refugees living in South Lebanon. With a vision to employ as many skilled artisan women refugees as possible by giving them hope and a renewed sense of purpose in life, each project curated by 81 Designs collaborates with an artist from the Middle East and North Africa region. The enterprise will be officially launched at the 11th edition of Art Dubai on 15-18 March 2017 in collaboration with Tunisian ‘calligraffiti’ artist eL Seed.

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