Art Jameel has set in motion a series of multi-year programmes to support the arts, with Art Jameel Commissions: Sculpture being the first. Won by Kuwaiti artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub for a proposal for their immersive installation Contrary Life, using light technologies to create a botanical garden of hybrid-trees, each artificial element of flora will be custom-designed and offer a contentious commentary on humanity’s relationship to the natural world.
Selected by a jury including the Art Jameel team; writer and curator Shumon Basar, who organises Art Dubai’s Global Arts Forum; curator and art historian Reem Fadda; Artangel co-director James Lingwood; curator and lecturer Elvira Dyangani Ose; and president of Sharjah Art Foundation Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Farid and AlYaqoub’s piece was chosen from a high calibre group of proposals for its poignant observation of how humans orchestrate nature. They will complete the work with the accompanying $70,000 grant.
“We were impressed by Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub’s thoughtful environmental and social research in the development of the work,” said the jury in their statement. “AlYaqoub and Farid’s installation reflects on regional symbology, flora and popular culture, as well as the specific design of the Jameel Arts Centre building. Contrary Life also responds to the ebb and flow of community, providing a space for communal gathering and individual reflection – the perfect first commission for a cultural centre with the mission of engaging with diverse audiences and conceptual practices.”
Shortlisted artists included Mohamed Kazem, Anahita Razmi and Mounira Al Solh. The next round of Commissions will launch summer 2018 with an open call focused on a theme of research, while the 2020 edition will emphasise drawing and painting.
The final work Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees will be open to the public later this year at the soon-to-be-opened Jameel Arts Centre in Jadaf at Dubai Creek. Artjameel.org