Art Dubai Projects is a curated, not-for-profit programme of new commissions. Selected artists are invited to create works that engage audiences and interact with and comment on the fair and its environment. This dynamic programme includes established and upcoming artists and artists’ collectives from across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Artists selected for Art Dubai Projects 2014 include Nadia Ayari, Youmna Chlala, Clark House Initiative, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan, Sara Al Haddad, Shuruq Harb, Amina Menia, Maryam Al Qassimi, Mounira Al Solh, and Hajra Waheed.
The programme includes site-specific installations, performances, video and research projects developed and organised with this year’s Projects Curator, Fawz Kabra.
Over the past seven years, Art Dubai Projects has become recognised as an ‘incubator’ for the most exciting artists and curators coming out of the Middle East and Asia, and is instrumental in fostering talent from the region. The commissions will be presented throughout the fair-grounds of Art Dubai, and intervene in the catalogue and related digital platforms. For the first time, artists and collectives will engage with Art Dubai Modern—the newly launched gallery hall dedicated to 20th century art from the Arab world, Iran and South Asia as well as Art Dubai’s contemporary gallery halls; Marker: Central Asia and the Caucasus; and the Global Art Forum.
Art Dubai Projects is held in parallel to A.i.R Dubai— the residency programme run by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Tashkeel, Delfina Foundation and Art Dubai. The selected artists participating in A.i.R 2014— Nadia Ayari, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan, Sara Al Haddad and Maryam Al Qassimi—will be resident in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood between January-March and will create works for the Open Studios Exhibition in Sikka, as well as their projects at Art Dubai. Art Dubai Projects marks the fair’s commitment to sustaining a dialogue with its immediate environment and working in partnership with institutions and artists.
The collaborative approach of Art Dubai Projects reflects the fair’s spirit, as a place to meet, reflect and exchange knowledge and ideas. "Art Dubai Projects produces a dynamic mix of works, installations, performances, and draws on content as diverse as that of the fair," says Antonia Carver, Fair Director. "The programme offers an alternative and experimental way to activate, challenge and respond to the more formal structures of the fairs."
Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Cartier and Emaar. Madinat Jumeirah is home to the event. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is a strategic partner of Art Dubai, and supports the fair’s year-round education programme.
Setu Legi / Pseudopodia, 2012, Art Dubai Projects 2012 / Courtesy of the Artist and Art Dubai
Mohammed Kazem / Window 2012/2013, Transfer on paper, 25x25cm, Art Dubai Projects 2013 / Courtesy of the Artist and Art Dubai
Basim Magdy / Investigating the Color Spectrum of a Post-Apocalyptic Future Landscape II, Art Dubai Projects 2013 / / Courtesy of the Artist and Art Dubai
Sophia Al Maria / SciFi Wahabi, Take a tour from the future at Art Dubai 2012, Art Dubai Projects 2010 / Courtesy of the Artist and Art Dubai
Artists Selected for Art Dubai Projects 2014
- Nadia Ayari moved from Tunisia to the United States in 2000 where she earned her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Focusing on political landscapes, her explorations in fresco add a third sculptural dimension to her richly dense paintings.
- Youmna Chlala is an artist and a writer who lives and works in New York. Her work investigates the relationship between fate and architecture through drawing, video, prose and performance. Her recent solo shows include Days of Being Wild, at Art In General, New York (2013), and I Am Who You Say I Say Who You Are at the Cultuurcentrum, Belgium (2013).
- Sunoj D lives and works in Bangalore. His work explores our multi-faceted relationship with nature, drawing on his move from a rural environment to urban dwellings, and subtly revealing the fissures between these two living conditions. He has participated in Spell of Spill Utopia of Ecology, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi (2013), and 'When you watch them grow…' at National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi (2012).
- Emirati artist Maitha Demithan chooses her subjects from the family and friends close to her. She uses scanography to document intense moments of encounter in her various series of installation, video, and transfers on cloth. She has exhibited her work at the UAE Pavilion, Shanghai Expo (2010), and Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (2011).
- Sara Al Haddad lives and works in Dubai. She activates interior architectures, and visualises affect through the knitting of life-size sculptural forms and the weaving of text. She has shown her work at The Pavilion, Dubai (2013), and SIKKA Art Fair, Dubai (2013).
- Shuruq Harb is a visual artist and writer based in Ramallah. She co-founded a number of independent initiatives: ArtTerritories, an online publishing platform, and 'The River has Two Banks' an ongoing initiative connecting artists across Jordan and Palestine. She has shown her work at the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012), and Columbia University GSAPP, New York (2013).
- Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative established in 2010 by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma in Bombay. Their experiments in re-reading of histories, and concerns of representation and visibility, are ways to imagine alternative economies and freedom.
- Amina Menia lives and works in Algiers. Her spatial and architectural interventions are subtle arrangements that interact with viewers and the spaces they occupy. She has shown her work at the 11th Sharjah Biennale, and in 2012 undertook a residency in Marseille, working on the displacement of an "extracted" element of Algiers.
- Mounira Al Solh works between Amsterdam and Beirut. Using sociology and anthropology, Al Solh’s work operates according to Ginzburg’s notion of microhistory, aspiring to ask large questions in small places. Her work was shown at the first Lebanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007), and at the New Museum, New York (2012).
- Maryam Al Qassimi is a visual artist living and working in Sharjah. Her work uses found imagery and material to explore the vernacular of the UAE and how its merging of languages has shaped local pop-culture.
- Hajra Waheed is a Montreal-based artist whose mixed media practice explores issues related to political history, popular imagination and the broad impact of colonial power. Her exhibitions include (In) the First Circle at Tapies Foundation, Barcelona (2012), and Sea Change at Experimenter, Kolkata (2013).
Art Dubai Projects, curated in 2014 by Fawz Kabra, is a not-for-profit programme of new commissions that features both established and upcoming artists from across the Middle East and Asia. An MA graduate of Bard College, Fawz Kabra is a writer and curator currently living in New York. Fawz previously curated public programmes at the Cultural District, Abu Dhabi (2011), and co-curated the ongoing project Brief Histories, Sharjah (2011), and worked for WS: Paul McCarthy at the Park Avenue Armory, New York (2013). She is an editorial correspondent for Ibraaz. Art Dubai’s not-for-profit programme also includes live radio, children’s art programmes and film. The latter includes ‘Moving Images’, a new partnership between Dubai International Film Festival, Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai. ‘Moving Images’, dedicated to artists’ films and filmmakers’ art, features discussion programmes and film screenings throughout the year. The initiative launches with a day of debate on December 9, 2013 open to delegates at the Dubai International Film Festival and part of the Dubai Film Market’s discussion programme.