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Middle East textile Journal February Digital Issue

All eyes on deck: The Skateroom INDEX-bound for first UAE visit

A social enterprise that is transforming skateboards into wall art by finishing decks with the works of world famous artists is heading to INDEX.

The Skateroom has turned skating into an interiors art-form, styling the underside of boards with paintings and photographs by the likes of Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry, Paul McCarthy and Chéri Samba.

Rather than being used to swoop and swerve through the streets, the decks are put on display as stunning singular or polyptych pieces, giving the wood new life as décor.

“We believe it’s like a 21st century totem,” explained the team behind the Skateroom brand. “We specialise in doing triptychs [one image set across three decks] which ultimately have a format that works really well with interiors: given the shape and material, it really pops out on a wall!”

Based out of Belgium, the Skateroom was founded in 2012 by Charles-Antoine Bodson, a skate fan who sold his massive personal collection of artist-adorned boards to get the firm rolling. He was joined in the venture by Oliver Percovich, an Afghanistan-based skater who five-years earlier launched Skateistan – a development initiative that combined skateboarding with education on the streets of Kabul, and has since spread internationally.

Together, the pair created an enterprise that allowed skating and art to be celebrated in a way that empowered young people. Profits from their board sales – which can cost more than US$1,000 each – go towards Skateistan and other non-government organisations that back local and educational initiatives internationally.

“The importance is in selecting artists and artworks that will work in a wide variety of environments, like the home, at work, in restaurants, hotels, or with kids or adults,” explained the team. “We make selections of artists we like and simply reach out to them, explaining our concept and mission. Sometimes, they contact us showing interest in doing a limited edition; sometimes we work with galleries and/or institutions who want to be part of the adventure.

“One of our most exciting collaboration to date was with American artist Paul McCarthy, with an exclusive launch event at the MoMA in the presence of the artist during the Armory Show in 2015. Through this collaboration we funded the entire construction of Skateistan’s new skate school facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, with US$250,000 raised.

“We also work with the Andy Warhol Foundation, with who we share a very strong bond in promoting art to the greater public and helping those in need.”

March’s trip to INDEX – where they will exhibit a number of boards across the show’s four days – will be the Skateroom’s first venture into the Middle East.

During their visit, the enterprise will reveal several new designs for 2018 – and hopefully meet some new artists to work with in the future.

They said: “We are eager to introduce our editions to Dubai, the main cultural hub of the Middle East. We are confident this opportunity will open many doors to explain our socially engaged business model and foster future collaboration with Middle Eastern artists to launch in partnership with regional cultural institutions in the years to come. We are also hoping to meet local artists and new distributors in the region.”

About Kohan Journal

Kohan Textile Journal is the leading magazine for the Textile industry, Textile machinery, Synthetic Fibers and Nonwovens in MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa) and is published every two months. It basically emphasizes on textile machinery, textile products, carpet and synthetic fibres distributed among the factories, manufacturers, and traders of floorcovering industries.l

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