Art Jameel Announces Inaugural Exhibitions

Sep 06,2018

Art Jameel, the independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East, today announces the much-anticipated inaugural programming for Jameel Arts Centre, an innovative cultural destination opening in Dubai on November 11, 2018. Designed as a 10,000-square metre, three-storey, multi-disciplinary space by UK-based Serie Architects, Jameel Arts Centre is the first non-governmental contemporary arts institution of its kind in the Gulf.

Reflecting the institution’s commitment to dynamic programming that resonates with a diverse audience, Jameel Arts Centre launches with a series of four solo shows – Artist’s Rooms – by eminent artists from the Middle East and Asia, drawn in part from the Art Jameel Collection; a curated group exhibition, ‘Crude’, that considers the complex theme of oil within both historic and contemporary contexts; and a selection of large-scale installations and sculptural works, several newly commissioned for the Centre’s roof terrace and gardens.

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, explained,After years of engaging with communities in the region and globally through heritage, educational and arts-related programming, we are excited to launch our first dedicated space, here in the United Arab Emirates. Jameel Arts Centre is set to not only expand the public’s engagement with our extensive collection and library, but also present museum-quality exhibitions in partnership with local, regional and global collaborators. Through new commissions of immersive works, a dedicated research space, and ongoing public programming for many communities of all ages, Jameel Arts Centre aims to be a truly innovative new cultural hub.”


Opening Exhibitions

Spread across five galleries and 500 square metres, the inaugural group exhibition – ‘Crude’ – brings together 17 artists and collectives from the region and beyond to explore oil as an agent of social, cultural and economic transformation across the region, as well as a driver of geo-political upheaval. Developed by Sharjah- and New York-based curator Murtaza Vali, ‘Crude’ considers some of the complex histories of oil as a catalyst of modernity across the Middle East, tracing its effects through the archives, infrastructures, and technologies it has produced. 

In addition to gallery-based exhibitions, Jameel Arts Centre features major installations by local and international artists that interact with the building itself: the lobby features a new, interactive work by Lara Favaretto; a sculptural work by Vikram Divecha is suspended above one of the seven gardens; and Shaikha Al Mazrou presents the the first in an annual series of commissioned projects for the Artist’s Garden. Al Mazrou has opted to create a sculptural sectioned glass house for this experimental, light-filled, creekside outdoor space.

Further details will be announced over the coming weeks regarding the public programming that accompanies the exhibitions; Jameel Library workshops and talks; Gallery 9, devoted to film and video; plus further cultural developments in the Jaddaf area.


Ongoing Programming

In addition to 10 galleries of dedicated exhibition space and a 300-square metre research centre and library, Jameel Arts Centre houses a project space, writer’s studio, members’ lounge, a restaurant, a shop and a series of gardens – embedded in the architecture and designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel that reflect local and global desert biomes. The gardens feature a collection of sculptural plants native to the world’s deserts, while striking vegetal textures, subtle mineral hues and unusual paving provide each garden with a unique character.

The winning work from the first edition of Art Jameel Commisions will be revealed on the Roof Terrace during the Centre’s opening, and will remain on view through September 2019. Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees (2018) by Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub.


Jameel Arts Centre Inaugural Exhibitions include:

Gallery 1: Artist’s Room: Maha Malluh. On view November 11, 2018-February 9, 2019

Gallery 2: Artist’s Room: Mounira Al Solh. On view November 11, 2018-February 9, 2019

Gallery 3: Artist’s Room: Lala Rukh. On view November 11, 2018-February 9, 2019

Gallery 4-8: ‘Crude’ curated by Murtaza Vali. On view November 11, 2018-March 30, 2019

Gallery 9: Curated programme of film and new media works

Gallery 10: Artist’s Room: Chiharu Shiota. On view November 11, 2018-May 25, 2019

Roof Terrace: Art Jameel Commissions: Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub. On view November 11, 2018-September 2019

Artist’s Garden: Shaikha Al Mazrou. On view November 11, 2018-September 2019


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Image Courtesy: Flower Drill By Monica Al Qadri - Supplied