Alserkal Art Week returns from 26 February to 5 March with what looks to us like its best programme yet as a taster for Art Dubai and the Sikka Festival. Most of the happenings are concentrated at the start of the week, of course; and they are all free, but it makes sense to pre-register via the website where spaces might be limited …
Rana Begum’s Dappled Light – Alserkal Avenue’s first artist solo exhibition – will explore the interaction of light, colour and form in dialogue with OMA’s Concrete, responding to the building’s architectural aesthetic. We’ve already previewed this show, and we think it’s going to be one of the highlights of the year.
Concrete, opens 26 February
Navigate with The Follower
New site-specific public art commissions by Fahd Burki (represented by Grey Noise), Ala Ebtekar and Sahand Hesamiyan (The Third Line), Timo Nasseri (Lawrie Shabibi), and Sarah Almehairi (Carbon 12) have been installed within Alserkal Avenue. Their ideas inspired a wider curatorial framework, The Follower, which encourages keener observation of the natural elements – the wind, the sun and the stars – as a means of wayfinding and regaining cultural knowledge. This hour-long tour of the commissions is led by curator Nada Raza with artists Timo Nasseri and Sarah Almehairi; it starts at Alserkal Arts Foundation (Warehouse 50/51).
28 February 3-4pm
Always a buzzy pleasure: a chance to see the new gallery shows opening in time to catch the Art Dubai crowd – virtually all of them will be open late, and many will have nibbles and (usually non-alcoholic) refreshments (not that this should influence you, of course). There will also be art installations, talks and art walks as listed here; expect some al fresco live music and f&b from the Avenue caffs.
28 February 4-10pm
Mahnaz Fancy has curated this series of six 25-minute session that brings together artists, curators, researchers and art-world professionals for an evening of thoughtful and inspiring conversations. At this year’s Majlis Talks you will hear from Fatima Ali, Lubnah Ansari, Loa Haagen Pictet, Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, Sara Raza, Rana Begum and Dr Cliff Lauson.
The Yard, 28 February 4-7pm
Slow Art Walk with Jill Magi
Aligned with mindfulness and ‘alternative ways of being’, Slow Art Walks invite visitors to take the time to slow down and reflect as they spend around 45 minutes with artworks in the Avenue and the guidance of an interesting/interested “critical voice”. This one is from Jill Magi, an artist and writer based between Abu Dhabi and Vermont; the author of six books of poetry and numerous handmade books, Jill Magi works in text, image, and textile; she has had several exhibitions locally. Slow Art Walks start at A4 Space.
28 February 7-8pm
Slow Art Walk with Auguste Nomeikaite
This second Slow Art Walk is led by Auguste Nomeikaite, a photographer, filmmaker, and “intermittent writer” living in Abu Dhabi. Meet at A4 Space.
28 February 9.30-10.15pm
The Tree School
This interesting exercise is described as “a gathering place for groups and individuals interested in learning from each other and in sharing common urgencies based on lived experiences” and in theory the Tree School can last for days, months, or years, “depending on the participants’ interests”. It’s been developed by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti of DAAR (Decolonising Architecture Art Research, an ongoing process of applying social justice to cultural and built environments) and will be held during the week in four locations across four days: 27 February at Creek Park, 28 February at Warehouse 51 in the Avenue, 1 March at a desert location, and 2 March at Mazmi Coffee. “Learning under the shade of a tree is a common practice found in many cultures around the world,” say the organisers; “the tree is a living being with its own particular story and mythologies. Its connection with other plants offers a physical and metaphorical space for sharing knowledge”. Meet at Alserkal Avenue for each session; transportation will be arranged for the externally locations. Definitely needs pre-registration.
From 27 February
Spring 2023 Residencies – Open Studios
Alserkal Arts Foundation’s 2023 Spring Cycle Residents, a multidisciplinary cohort comprising Shada Safadi, Mhamad Safa, Jalila Haider, and Masaru Iwai, will each be giving a 15-minute presentation on their work – followed by brunch.
4 March 11.30am-1.30pm
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