November In Alserkal Avenue

Oct 15,2019

Dubai’s leading cultural district will celebrate the crossroads of art, design, and architecture during November in Alserkal Avenue, a month of curated public programming in keeping with a UAE-wide focus on design and architecture, including the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial and Dubai Design Week. 

Alserkal Avenue invites audiences to delve into the rich confluence of art, design, and architecture through groundbreaking original programming, including: 

- The landmark exhibition Is This Tomorrow?, a collaboration between Alserkal Arts Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery, which will be presented in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture shortlisted building Concrete, and will showcase five interdisciplinary installations that offer speculative visions of the future through pairings between leading artists and architects, including a site-specific installation by Rana Begum and Aga Khan Award for Architecture winner Marina Tabassum; 

- We were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd, an Alserkal Arts Foundation public art commission in the warehouse formerly known as Nadi Al Quoz by urban collective METASITU; 

- Absolem, an inaugural design commission by Jeddah-based Bricklab studio that will transform the public realm of Alserkal Avenue; 

- A programme of Majlis Talks curated by FOLIO, Alserkal’s digital publication, featuring speakers from across the art, design, and architecture disciplines; 

- Temporary Spaces: Exchanges in Art, Architecture and Photography in the UAE, South Asia and Beyond, a symposium exploring critical perspectives on shared histories, ongoing exchanges, and connections, organised by Alserkal Arts Foundation and Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, in collaboration with Ishara Art Foundation; 

- New art exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue’s contemporary art galleries and not-for-profit foundations: 1x1 Art Gallery, Ayyam Gallery, Carbon 12, Custot Gallery Dubai, Elmarsa Gallery, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise, Ishara Art Foundation, Lawrie Shabibi, Leila Heller Gallery, Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, Showcase Gallery, SVENM, and The Third Line. 

Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal, says “As Alserkal, we continue to actively participate in the UAE’s cultural dialogue both from the heart of our cultural district Alserkal Avenue, and as Alserkal Arts Foundation by curating an experimental programme at the crossroads of art, architecture and design for both our local community and international audiences.” 

All activities are free and open to the public. Full details are below. 


Symposium | Temporary Spaces: Exchanges in Art, Architecture and Photography in the UAE, South Asia and Beyond 

1 November, 10AM – 6.30PM 

Alserkal Arts Foundation Project Space 

Organised by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational and Alserkal Arts Foundation in collaboration with Ishara Art Foundation, invited speakers, including scholars and practitioners from the MEASA and beyond will discuss critical perspectives on shared histories, ongoing exchanges, and connections. 

The symposium will look at the rapid growth of the city and its impact on artistic practice through the work of artists, architects, photographers, filmmakers and scholars whose research encompasses urban development and transnational exchanges from the 20th century to the present. Participants will share regional perspectives on cities and the representation of urban space, particularly in the visual arts, and how these contribute to, and reflect upon the complex and on-going making of place and identity. 


Public art commission | we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd by METASITU 

6 November – 25 January 2020 

Warehouse 90 

In this public art commission presented by Alserkal Arts Foundation, METASITU, an artist collective (and former residents of Alserkal Residency) is inviting the sand back in. METASITU will transform the building previously known as Nadi Al Quoz into a ruin. In an attempt to return the building’s materials to their ‘original state’, different parts will be repurposed and reused. In the spring of 2020, the space will be further deconstructed into a landscaped environment for the public. 


Exhibition | Is This Tomorrow? 

6-23 November, 10AM – 7PM 


Alserkal Arts Foundation brings the landmark exhibition Is This Tomorrow? to Concrete from 6-23 November in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London. 

The exhibition, curated by Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, responds to timely contemporary issues and offers speculative visions of the future through five pairings between leading artists and architects, including a new site-specific commission by visual artist Rana Begum and architect Marina Tabassum, winner of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which will be unveiled in The Yard. 

The interdisciplinary installations, environments, and pavilions by Amalia Pica and 6a, Cao Fei and mono office, Mariana Castillo Deball and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum Architects reveal the expansive potential of collaboration between art and architecture, in line with the wider November programme in Alserkal Avenue. 

Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum will collaborate on a new iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, originally presented at Whitechapel. The installation is ‘focused on hope’ and will be created specifically for The Yard in Alserkal Avenue. Tabassum says: “It is a place of refuge - a space for reflection - contemplation. The highlight of the installation is Rana Begum’s beautiful art piece around the central oculus that catches the light and frames the sky. The architecture builds around it to create a setting and atmosphere of repose, all the while appropriating the context of Alserkal Avenue.” 

Begum, who is represented by The Third Line in Alserkal Avenue, says: “We live in a world where the boundaries between disciplines are increasingly blurred, and where technology enables us to connect with each other wherever we are. This collaboration is exciting because it pushes boundaries in a playful way, while simultaneously inviting the viewer to consider space in relation to location and existing elements. I have found it interesting to engage with Marina Tabassum’s vision and experience of space, form, colour and light.” 


Majlis Talks by FOLIO 

6, 18, 20, 21 November 

Full schedule to be released soon. 


Design commission | Absolem by Bricklab 

11 November 2019 – 1 November 2020 

Alserkal Avenue Pedestrian Entrance (Street 6A) 

Jeddah-based architects Turki and Abdulrahman Gazzaz of Bricklab studio have been 

commissioned by Alserkal Avenue, to create an intervention to coincide with Dubai Design Week. Located at the Pedestrian Entrance of Alserkal Avenue (from Street 6A), the design will transform how the public interacts with the physical environment through a “synthetic intervention that funnels visitors through”. 

Bricklab tackles the entrance as though it were “the threshold to a French formal garden - a spatial construct that emphasises a position of apprehension and meticulous control found in the composition of an 18th century allée”. A glossy metallic grid, lined with plastic trees, constructs a forced one-point perspective for the public. By manipulating this perspective, the designers challenge the collapsibility of experience into a single, two-dimensional image, and highlight our multisensory comprehension of space. 


Galleries Night 

18 November 

6PM – 10PM 

The contemporary art galleries will open their latest exhibitions, and the creative concepts in Alserkal Avenue stay open late. 

New exhibitions include: 

1 x 1 Art Gallery 

Madhusudhanan | Gandhi - Between Borders 

Ayyam Gallery Faisal Samra | Thriving Emotions - Immortal Moment 

Carbon 12 

Amba Sayal-Bennett | Every Line Makes a Cut 

Custot Gallery Dubai Group exhibition | Tales of Thread 

Elmarsa Gallery 

Atef Maatallah | Les bruissements de la pierre (The rustling of the stone) 

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde 

Latif Al Ani | Vetera Novis Augere 

Green Art Gallery 

Chaouki Choukini | Solo exhibition 

Grey Noise 

Iqra Tanveer | Letters from the seventh cave 

Ishara Art Foundation 

Group exhibition | Body Building 

Lawrie Shabibi Hamra Abbas | Open Cube 

Leila Heller Gallery 

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation Group exhibition | Building Bauhaus 

Showcase Gallery 

Group exhibition | Between Me and the Stone 



The Third Line 

Anuar Khalifi | Forever Is A Current Event 

Collaboration with Kazim Rashid, presenting his film Nothing Looks the Same at Night 


Image Courtesy: Supplied