15 March 2017
Alserkal Residency, a not-for-profit initiative designed to give cultural practitioners an opportunity to explore and experiment with their work, will launch in Fall 2017. Founded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal and the Alserkal family, the programme is open to emerging and mid-career artists with an emphasis on socially engaged and research-based practices, in addition to curators, writers and researchers working in related disciplines. The Residency encourages application proposals that reflect an interest in and engagement with local and regional contexts. Local architecture collective, a hypothetical office, has been appointed to design the space.
Located in Alserkal Avenue, the Alserkal Residency will run three cycles over the course of a year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. The Spring and Fall cycles will welcome proposals from candidates nominated by a Selection Committee, while the Summer Cycle will be dedicated to cultural practitioners living in the Gulf states. Residents are encouraged to contribute to a programme that engages local and regional audiences, establishing dialogue with both their peers and the UAE public.
"Alserkal Residency is a natural extension of the work we have done through Alserkal Programming for the past two years. By bringing dynamic creatives together from across the region and around the world, our goal is to make interdisciplinary dialogue part of the fabric of the UAE, and the regional arts and culture scene,” said Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder and Patron of Alserkal Avenue and Alserkal Residency.
The bi-annual, rotating selection committee, appointed for the 2016-18 period, comprises regional and international experts including: Vassilis Oikonomopoulos - Assistant Curator, Collections International Art, Tate Modern; Diana Campbell Betancourt - Artistic Director of Dhaka-based Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit; Amanda Abi Khalil - an independent curator and founder of Temporary Art Platform; Uzma Rizvi - Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn, NY, and Visiting Researcher in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah; Luigi Fassi - visual arts curator at the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, Austria; and, Aquamarina Adonopoulou, Residency Director at Alserkal Avenue.
Alserkal Residency's inaugural cycle
will host four visual artists, and will run from 15 October until 15 December 2017. The four selected residents are:
- Mona Ayyash, lives and works in Dubai.
- Ali El Darsa, lives and works between Berlin and Montréal.
- Franziska Pierwoss, lives and works between Berlin and Beirut.
- Jaret Vadera, lives and works between New York, Toronto, and India.
"By nurturing artists, curators, writers, and researchers from within the GCC, as well as creating a platform for international artists to engage with our region, we hope to contribute to the further establishment of the UAE as a centre for cultural production," said Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue.
Alserkal Residency will be located in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, in a purpose-built, 6000-square-foot warehouse designed by locally-based architectural practice, a hypothetical office. “The design of the residency grows out of its environment and the historical context of the site, which used to be a marble factory. We want to explore how the by-products of the present industrial landscape can inform the materials used in the space,” the architects said.
About Alserkal Avenue
Located in Al Quoz, Dubai, Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost arts and culture neighbourhood. Since it was established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue has grown to become an essential platform for the development of homegrown artistic and cultural initiatives, supporting a vibrant community of contemporary art galleries and alternative art spaces, together with design, media and industrial studios. In 2015, in addition to its commitment to the community, Alserkal Avenue affirmed its position as an arts organisation with the launch of Alserkal Avenue Programming. The programming arm produces an annual homegrown programme for local, regional, and international audiences, working primarily with artists living and working in the MENASA region.
About Alserkal Programming
Alserkal Programming is a platform for exhibitions, public art commissions, performances, films, talks and workshops that critically and creatively investigate themes pertinent to the region's arts community. Together, these programmes provide a platform to support the development of new ideas, open dialogue and collaboration across disciplines. The annual programme is thematically developed to focus on a particular issue, bringing artists and professionals from different fields together to examine a concept through wide-ranging means and perspectives.
About a hypothetical office
a hypothetical office is a collaborative body that enables environments through speculative research and built conditions.
The office proposes alternatives that are extracted through systemic analysis of places and projects material explorations onto social relations through objects, enclosures and surfaces.
Based in Dubai, the office was founded by Meitha Almazrooei, Hatem Hatem and Fortuné Penniman.”
Alserkal Residency Artist Biographies
In her art practice, Mona Ayyash reflects the themes of memory, the everyday, and her interest in the relationship between belonging and place. Ayyash is Palestinian, born in Kuwait City in 1987 and raised in Dubai. She holds an MFA in Studio Arts at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada and recently took part in the Campus Art Dubai 5.0 Core Programme. Selected group exhibitions include Loaning Sister Cities at Casino Artspace in Hamilton, Ontario, Collision 11 at Parisian Laundry in Montreal, SIKKA Art Fair in Dubai, Regarding Borders at Maraya Art Center in Sharjah, and Dubai Episode at The Third Line in Dubai. She lives and works in Dubai.
Ali El-Darsa’s practice in video, sound, installation, performance and printmaking, deals with issues of identity, concepts of the self and personal histories – examined within the margins of public and private structures. He holds a Master of Visual Studies from Daniels Faculty at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia/Cyberarts from Concordia University in Montréal. Recent exhibitions and screenings include: Hellerau - European Center for the Arts (Dresden), Dazibao Gallery (Montréal), Darling Foundry (Montréal); Imago Mundi Collection of the Luciano Benetton Foundation (Palermo); Bitasarof at The Lebanese National Library (Beirut); Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival (Kassel); Brooklyn Film Festival (New York); Festival International du Cinéma Méditerranéen (Montpellier). Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Ali El-Darsa lives and works between Berlin and Montréal.
Franziska Pierwoss is a performance and installation artist, who also works as an organiser and initiator of various cultural projects. She graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig, Germany. With a strong focus on durational performance and collaborative practices, she develops site specific installations that create situations of personal and political engagement. She was awarded the Young Artist Prize by the Goethe Institut in 2010. Her work has in the past been shown in Eigen+Art Lab; Kunstverein Leipzig; Beirut Art Center; and recently in Galeria OMR and MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico City. She co-initiated the Kino Projekt, a temporary cinema screening amateur Super 8 films and artist's video works in cities including Beirut, Naples, and Minneapolis.
Jaret Vadera is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores how different social, technological, and cognitive processes shape and control the ways that we see the world around and within us. Vadera’s paintings, prints, photographs, videos, and installations have been exhibited and screened at: the Queens Museum, MoMA and the Smithsonian APAC in New York; the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai; and the Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah. In parallel, Vadera has worked as a curator, researcher, writer, editor, educator, and designer on projects that focus on art as a catalyst for social change. He has organised a number of exhibitions, events, and collaborative experiments. Jaret Vadera lives and works between New York, Toronto, and India.
Selection Committee biographies
Amanda Abi Khalil
An independent curator currently based in Beirut, Abi Khalil has focused her curatorial projects on socially engaged practices and exhibitions that critically address modes of production and exhibition in the art world today. She is the founder of Temporary Art Platform, a curatorial platform that aims to shift artistic and curatorial discourse towards social and contextual concerns in Lebanon through residencies, research projects and commissions. Abi Khalil lectures in curating and sociology of arts at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA), and the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut.
Diana Campbell Betancourt
As Artistic Director of Dhaka-based Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of the Dhaka Art Summit, Diana Campbell Betancourt has developed the Dhaka Art Summit to be the world’s leading research and exhibitions platform for art from South Asia, bringing together artists, architects, curators, and writers from across South Asia through a largely commission based model where new work and exhibitions are born in Bangladesh.In addition to her exhibitions making practice, Betancourt also is responsible for developing the Samdani Art Foundation collection. She has consulted the New Museum and MCA Chicago and many other leading institutions on their inclusion of South Asia in their exhibitions programs and has presented her research as part of MoMA’s C-MAP initiative. She is a nominee for the 2016 Independent Curators International Independent Vision Curatorial Award and a part of MoMA’s 2016 International Curatorial Institute.
Since 2012, Luigi Fassi has been visual arts curator at the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, Austria. He has curated exhibitions for different institutions internationally, including Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland; Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden; Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy; GAM-Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, Italy; Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland; ISCP, New York, US; Prague Biennale, Prague, Czech Republic. A Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum ISP in New York in 2008, he was director of the ar/ge kunst Kunstverein in Bolzano (2009–12). He is a contributor to Mousse Magazine and Camera Austria and has been commissioned different texts for catalogues and books for Alfredo Jaar, Danh Vo, Roman Ondak, João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Diango Hernandéz, and others. In 2016 he was fellow of the Artis Research Trip Program in Tel Aviv and curator of the XVI Quadriennale in Rome, Italy. In 2017 he is a nominator to the Prince Claus Award in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Uzma Rizvi is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn, NY, and Visiting Researcher in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. Rizvi has been a lead tutor (with Murtaza Vali) of Art Dubai’s seminar program, Campus Art Dubai since 2014 and directed (with Amal Khalaf) Art Dubai’s 2016 Global Art Forum, The Future Was. Her writing can be found in The New Inquiry and LEAP. Recent academic publications include Decolonization as Care (2016); Crafting Resonance: Empathy and Belonging in Ancient Rajasthan (2015); Decolonizing Archaeology: On the Global Heritage of Epistemic Laziness, (2015); and The World Archaeological Congress Research Handbook on Postcolonial Archaeology (2010).
Vassilis Oikonomopoulos is Assistant Curator, Collections International Art at Tate Modern, London. He is responsible for acquisitions, working closely with Tate’s Middle East and North Africa Acquisitions Committee. Oikonomopoulos organised the Hyundai Commission Anywhen with French artist Philippe Parreno at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2016. Previously he has co-curated the exhibition Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture. He is currently working on the retrospective exhibition of Fahrelnissa Zeid, which is set to open at Tate Modern in June 2017. His work appears in journals, books and online publications regularly.
Aquamarina holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Art Theory and Classics from the University of Kent and an M.A. in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art London, where she specialised in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art. Her knowledge of the MENA region’s artistic landscape further developed while she was Associate Director at Green Art Gallery, Dubai. Prior to her return to the UAE, Aquamarina was Artist Liaison at Carroll / Fletcher Gallery in London. At present, Aquamarina is spearheading the development of Alserkal Residency alongside managing a prolific year-round homegrown programme.
© Press Release 2017