With the arrival of Art Dubai, mid-March is peak crazy for Dubai’s art and design calendar with a host of satellite events around the city. The galleries of Al Quoz will be thick with activity and Alserkal Programming has announced four artist commissions for its Art Week programme, launching on 13 March and running for five weeks.
The 2017 artists are Farah Al Qasimi, Ammar Al Attar, Karim Sultan, and Raja’a Khalid, all are based in the UAE. Each will produce a work that, says Alserkal Programming, is “inspired by the physical, social and cultural framework of Alserkal Avenue and its surrounding industrial neighbourhood of Al Quoz.”
While the first season examined the idea of Dubai as “home” to an emerging generation of artists, the 2017 season considers it as a workplace.
Most of these works represent a continuation of a series of commissioned pieces at Alserkal. For example, photographer Farah Al Qasimi and the sound artist and curator Karim Sultan presented their first works in November 2016.
Al Qasimi’s two-part commission It’s Not Easy Being Seen explores the work of women in the Gulf through photography, performance and video. The first element in November took the form of a billboard in The Yard at Alserkal Avenue. The second, in March, will be a series of short videos.
Sultan’s three-part performance piece Different Air looks at movement, migration, and how accurate memory of a place is lost over time after a person moves away from home.
In January, Ammar Al Attar showed Plaza Cinema, in which he created 30 movie posters from a decommissioned theatre in Dubai. In March, he creates an installation of the ephemera he rescued from the cinema, looking at film’s capacity to connect different migrant communities who move to the UAE to work
For these three, the March edition will represent the final phase of their projects and the first and final for the commission by Raja’a Khalid, titled Change Your Life. In this she examines the fashion for “performative masculinity”, or in layman’s terms working out, through creating a gym, which will be open for the full five weeks to pre-selected young, male fitness professionals where they will participate in a workout regime.
“Support for the arts and culture can take on a number of different forms. This year, Alserkal Programming’s strategic focus is on supporting locally-based artists in order to contribute to the wider vision of Dubai and the UAE as a centre for cultural production,” says Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Avenue.
Vilma Jurkute, director of Alserkal Avenue, added “The four artists we’ve chosen are testament to the strength of the UAE’s developing arts scene and are an indication of how the country is becoming more accessible to artists and cultural producers from across the region and the world.”
Alserkal Programming Season 2 runs in Al Quoz from 13 March for five weeks. For more information see Alserkalavenue.ae