Art Jameel’s latest course of action has involved helping grow facets of the contemporary art scenes in London, UK, and Dubai, UAE, through funding and programming.
It’s undisclosed financial contribution to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has allowed the museum to unlock a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of the £15m Catalyst: Endowment scheme, which is a match-funding initiative supported by the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport department. “The target was achieved thanks to Art Jameel, with significant support from the [London-based] Porter Foundation and two individual donors who wish to remain anonymous, amongst others,” a V&A spokeswoman told The Art Newspaper. “The Jameel Gallery at the V&A was just named as one of the most atmospheric places in London by Time Out," shares Art Jameel director Antonia Carver with Bazaar Art. "The collaboration between Art Jameel and the V&A focuses on the legacy and contemporary relevancy of Islamic art and design, and through our joint programmes, we’re able to reach an extraordinary breadth of audiences, in London and across the world.”
This marks one of several fundraising goals the V&A has planned over the next two decades. Endowment funds are largely dependent on private donors, of which UK institutions have been turning towards as further budget cuts are put in place. The V&A has used these funds thus far to open five new curatorial posts in the jewellery and Middle Eastern departments at the museum.
Art Jameel – who collaborates with the V&A on the Jameel Prize for contemporary art and design, of which "the fourth edition of the Jameel Prize just opened in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the first time the Prize has toured to Central Asia," shares Carver – has also recently announced a three-year commissions programme. With a deadline of 21 November, the launch and first edition will see a sculptural focus on works using light technologies. The winner will be announced February 2018 and be exhibited at the Serie Architects-designed Jameel Arts Centre, due to open in Dubai Creek in the second half of 2018.
Also in Dubai, on 1 November, the Saudi foundation has opened an interactive studio dedicated to the Emirati cultural scene of the 1980s. Following a recent emphasis on the Golden Years of the UAE’s creative sphere, the Research Studio at Project Space Art Jameel – located in Alserkal Avenue – will highlight the multidisciplinary approaches of artists, poets, playwrights and writers through an experimental approach to presenting research and work-in-progress. The Research Studio falls under the same remit as Jameel’s Research Library – also due to open winter 2018. It builds off of Art Jameel’s efforts and role in the Emirati National Pavilion Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play at the current Venice Biennale, which was inspired by an interview between poet Khalid Albudoor and artist Nujoom Alghanem entitled A Dialogue between Rhythm and Form.
With the programming running through 21 December, the space will host talks, workshops and poetry nights alongside an archive of videos, interviews, documents and music to allow visitors insight into the time period. Highlights will include Emirati poet and writer Adel Khozam in conversation with Bana Kattan, exhibitions curator at NYUAD Art Gallery on 22 November, while on 19 December, ethnomusicologist and research advisor at the UAE National Archives Dr Aisha Bilkhair will speak with artist Hind Mezaina.