UAE-based  curatorial lab launches its Microfund for creatives based in the UAE

  • Dirwaza Curatorial Lab is inviting creative practitioners in the UAE to apply for its inaugural Microfund from May 1st, June 1st and July 1st, 2022
  • The platform curated multiple exhibitions including Zemanna - Replaying the 90s (Manarat Al Saadiyat) and the Year 1 exhibition of the NYU Abu Dhabi Master of Fine Arts exhibition
  • Upcoming projects include a publication with an extensive discussion of the 90’s and a bilingual interactive glossary for the creative community in the UAE

Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, UAE-based creative incubator and projects partner, announces The Dirwaza Microfund for Creative Access in the UAE targeting creative practitioners in the UAE. Co-curated by Dirwaza Curatorial Lab with independent Dubai-based curator Sarah Daher, the Microfund is designed to support the ecosystem with homegrown, multidisciplinary, and collective efforts, while focusing on community-led research.

Along with the initiative, Dirwaza is currently exhibiting Zemanna - Replaying the 90s at Manarat Al Saadiyat and opening an exhibition of in-process works from NYU Abu Dhabi Master of Fine Arts, hosted by Warehouse421 on May 21, 2022.

“We're looking for the curious. Curiosity sits at the core of the Dirwaza Incubator and the Microfund initiative within it, and can be generated into research, whether in its first steps, middle steps, or closing steps,” said Munira Al Sayegh, Founder of Dirwaza Curatorial Lab.

“The Microfund encourages creatives at large to think cyclically and in throughlines, so that curatorial practice as well as artistic practice, has a beginning, a theme, a particular exploration, and the right to a  conceptual framework. The incubator invites the creative community to come and think thoroughly, without having an end result or an exhibition in mind. The idea is that we are working with you, and we're thinking alongside you.

The collaboration on the Microfund with curator Sarah Daher includes outreach, application reviews, and mentorship to selected participants. This joint effort has given both Dirwaza and Sarah a framework to generate research in the long-run and foster collaborations between different thinkers across the Emirates. Together, we are questioning what a curatorial space actually is, so we are open to seeing people who are working outside of the curatorial sphere come in and generate questions as well as add new terms and language to the conversations that we've been having in a rather enclosed space,” Al Sayegh added.

Dirwaza Lab Microfund Open Call

Season 1: May - July 2022

Rounds of Application: May 1 - 20, 2022, June 1 -20, 2022, and July 1 - 20, 2022

The Dirwaza Microfund for Creative Access was conceived as a resource for UAE-based practitioners exploring pressing questions. The Microfund encourages cultural instigation through research and community.

The Dirwaza Microfund for Creative Access is co-curated by Independent Curator Sarah Daher.

A few other projects by Dirwaza across the UAE

Exhibition: Zemanna - Replaying the 90s

Date: closing on June 13, 2022

Zemanna is a visual exploration of reinterpreted memories from the 1990s in Abu Dhabi— dissecting, reflecting, and responding to a time of change, flux, and expansion. In this exhibition, artists were commissioned to present nine interactive installations that address the remnants of the 1990s and how they have contributed to the present. Through these installations, the exhibition reflects the vibrancy and density of this period of the past, showcasing the surfacing of a community undergoing rapid transformation. This multiroom experience highlights key characteristics of that time such as the Volcano Fountain, the re-rooting of migrating families into the UAE, and the role of pop culture, media, and play. This exhibition is curated by Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, founded by Munira Al Sayegh.

Exhibition: In Process | In Progress - NYU Abu Dhabi Master of Fine Arts - Year One Exhibition

Date: Spring-Summer, 2022. Opening May 21, 2022

Candidates of NYU Abu Dhabi’s two-year Master of Fine Arts program present their works in progress after a year of rigorous academic and practical research, and material and visual explorations. The five students will be presenting their pieces at Warehouse421 from May 21 extending through the summer of 2022. The exhibition is an initiative by the NYU Abu Dhabi MFA Program and curated by Dirwaza Curatorial Lab.

Zemanna : A Day in the 90s Publication: May 2022

In addition to the current programs and exhibitions, Dirwaza Lab will also launch an original publication in collaboration with Manarat Al Saadiyat responding to the 90s and the Zemanna exhibition. It shall feature a series of original writings, set to release in May 2022.

Interactive Glossary: Summer 2022

Dirwaza’s summer project includes an online interactive glossary, where creatives, curators, and researchers can submit a word they use or observe in their practices; along with a definition they propose that is specific to the contexts they experience. The glossary will be available in Arabic and English as well as the languages spoken by neighboring regions and their diasporas in the Gulf.


For all press inquiries, please contact;
Azar Al Kilani

About Dirwaza Curatorial Lab:

Dirwaza Curatorial Lab is an Abu Dhabi-based creative incubator and projects partner founded by curator Munira Al Sayegh. As a creative incubator, Dirwaza builds communities in the Gulf through non-profit mentorship for multidisciplinary research, archive building, critique, and artistic programming. As a projects partner, Dirwaza advises institutions, decision-makers, collectors, and businesses. We specialize in cultural projects, manage collections, design exhibitions, and propose bespoke arts-driven programs. The organization works with a growing network of artists, arts professionals, and institutions to participate in a dynamic environment with homegrown ideas.