A Playground for the Young at Art

In conversation with the cofounder of Artology, Ms Reem Najeeb.

While heavy roller paint brushes gave the final touches to its exterior, the interior of Artology was abuzz with beautiful ladies playing with brush strokes, giving life to their masterpieces. From the ceiling to the floor, everything at Artology speaks for itself. The co founder of this art haven, Reem Najeeb invited us into the bright interiors of the building and we couldn’t conceal our wonder with the versatility of the paintings and artistic work that adorned the studio walls.

“We started off one summer, a place for our family, our kids and friends to come and de-stress and paint to their hearts content,” Reem begins nostalgically. “Inshallah, it then took off and we now have over 60 kids taking art lessons from me and we even have adults joining us for classes and using the studio place for their projects.”

With a major in real estate and investments, Reem believes that art is what makes her complete as a person. Having had passion towards paintings since childhood, every bit of knowledge she carries today is self taught. “If you have a creative heart, you will find it difficult being in an artificial environment,” she says. “The atmosphere in the finance sector has never been my cup of tea. Being a people’s person and getting things done hands on, Artology is the place for me. ”

For Reem, the most relaxing moments are the ones she spends with her students. It is amazing to see this ever-energetic lady going around the place and overseeing the work done by each person individually. “I give my ideas to all and work with everyone. It is like I am painting through them.” In spoite of being a strict teacher in the techniques of art, she is absolutely liberal when it comes to learning the art of using colours. “I let my kids learn and experiment themselves. I want them to understand it as their work and love. Once they understand that, they are good to go and many a time looking at their finished work I can’t help saying ‘Wow! That is a job well done’. ”

“The one major lesson I give my students is not to worry about making a wrong stroke.” She continues, “They can always work around it and get it right.” It is this freedom of expression that makes Artology the favorite art destination for kids, teens and adults. The kids love it in here for the hands on experience they receive through the workshops that allow them to make wooden clocks and tables which otherwise they would buy from the stores. Along with such out-of-the-box workshops they conduct, the teens find the studio a healthy place to come together and unwind with good music and create a great piece of art. “They all love it in here and never want to go home,” Reem says with a smile of satisfaction. “All our workshops are conducted under close supervision and the two adult workshops that we conducted had master artists invited from outside, who gave us an understanding of techniques that were new to us in here. It’s all about making art approachable for everyone.”

Tajba, the co founder of Artology and Reem’s sister is a renowned artist with her artworks being exhibited at many places in the GCC and other nations. An IB art teacher at Ibn Khuldoon National School, she trains teens and adults. “She uses her teaching background to coach IB, GCSCE and A Levels. She also helps students working on their portfolios for higher studies. We are proud to have our students successfully getting into the best schools of architecture under her coaching,” says Reem.

Even with so many talented artists working together, Artology have so far not had any exclusive exhibition of the works done by the students. “I know it is a shame, when we have all the talent you can find right in here. We sure have plans for something like that in the near future,” Reem reveals. With the grown-ups and the teachers at the studio already putting their works on display, it’s now the kids’ art that Reem has on the charts to showcase.

“We have recently started taking art to the next level here with furniture, where we revamp old pieces and create new masterpieces. Our neighbor here is highly talented and helpful and has been a big help with our furniture designs,” she noted on the extensions made to Artology classes. The latest tour de force furniture that got sold even before it was completed was the table made of cigar cases. “I have been collecting cigar cases since long and with his help we were able to build the beautiful table as a collage design; and trust me the process takes longer than one can imagine.”

In a few weeks time there is more coming from the studio in the form of special classes, which will be a mix of art and Yoga. Reem shares, “We are working on this as a workshop for women. We women love to talk over a cup of coffee. So why not add a healthy session of yoga to release the energy followed by expressing it on a themed piece of art. The theme will take four weeks to complete so our sessions will run for 4 weeks.”

With so many different plans to execute, Reem extends her gratitude to her supporters. “I would like to thank our friends and family for their support all these 6 years. The wonderful team that we have here with my sister and the two teachers; without them it would never have been possible to come this far.” It looks like the time is right to take Artology to the next level and that is what we are aiming to do,” she ends with determination twinkling in her eyes.