Emirati businessman and cultural patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal announced today the launch of a non-profit foundation dedicated to fostering artistic development in Dubai, and to creating cross-cultural exchange between local and international artists and scholars. Alserkal Arts Foundation will offer cultural practitioners – either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community – opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production, through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants, and educational programmes.
“Today we cement our commitment to fostering artistic development in the region and beyond, with the establishment of Alserkal Arts Foundation. When I founded Alserkal, I wanted to make a meaningful contribution to arts and culture in the UAE and in the region – one that was befitting of the values of the Alserkal family.” said Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.
Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal has a longstanding commitment to the arts, both as a philanthropist and as the founder of Alserkal. A socially responsible cultural enterprise, Alserkal has cultivated a creative economy in Dubai through Alserkal Avenue, its renowned cultural district of contemporary art galleries, non-profit organisations, and homegrown businesses, and has supported cultural production through its initiatives.
The Foundation will serve as the non-profit arm of Alserkal, providing a new, formalised structure for the organisation’s existing non-profit activities, such as Alserkal Residency and its annual public art commissions, in addition to developing new initiatives that promote discourse in Dubai. All of Alserkal Arts Foundation’s activities will be supported by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family.
Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal, added: “Giving back to our homegrown artistic community was always very important not only for us as an organisation, but for Abdelmonem and the entire Alserkal family. In establishing Alserkal Arts Foundation, we’re continuing to challenge convention by fostering artistic development in Dubai and by supporting collaborative, socially engaged and multi-disciplinary practices.” The Foundation will offer cultural practitioners a singular opportunity to advance their projects through its four core initiatives. The Alserkal Residency programme was established in 2017 as a platform for artistic experimentation and dialogue, seeking to support multi-disciplinary practitioners as they research themes pertinent to their respective practices. The programme is designed to be immersive, and to engage the local interdisciplinary community through a series of public events and conversations. The Residency directly supports the Foundation’s broader mission, focusing on research-based and socially engaged practices. Alserkal Arts Foundation’s public art commissions critically and creatively investigate themes pertinent to the region’s arts community, and support practitioners whose projects are collaborative, participatory, and ephemeral.
Today, Rhodiola, a project by Athens-based collective 3 137 exploring the idea of maintenance in everyday life, opens in Warehouse 90 (formerly Nadi Al Quoz), marking the 19th artist commission. Alserkal Arts Foundation’s commissions take place annually each spring. Alserkal Arts Foundation’s Educational Programmes will be delivered through colloquia, seminars and reading groups that are open to the general public and are interactive and participatory in nature. Alserkal Arts Foundation’s Research Grants are designed to support radical, innovative and contemporary research that challenges traditional modes of practice in a variety of fields.
The grants are intended to support interdisciplinary proposals, comparative studies, and societal discourses that link the arts, humanities and social sciences in the context of the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia). Individuals and collectives that dynamically aim to disrupt conservative boundaries between conventional disciplines are invited to apply. Potential grant awardees can include, but are not limited to, multidisciplinary artists, architects, writers of fiction and non-fiction, independent publishers, documentary filmmakers and educators, geographers, historians, economists, and social scientists.
Applicants who demonstrate a strong interest in pursuing broad, intersectional, and experimental approaches to research in their respective fields are preferred. Submissions for the 2020 grants will open on 1 October 2019, and remain open until 31 January 2020. Grants will be issued for individuals up to US$5,000, duos and collectives up to US$10,000, and independent publishers up to US$10,000.
The first grant recipients will be announced in Fall 2020. Further details on each of the above initiatives will be announced in the coming months.