November 13, 2018 - Jameel Arts Centre - New cultural hub opens in Dubai
November 13, 2018

Jameel Arts Centre

Jameel Arts Centre, designed by Serie Architects. Photo: Mohamed Somji.


New cultural hub opens in Dubai

Jameel Arts Centre
Jaddaf Waterfront
United Arab Emirates

T +971 4 873 9800
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Innovative new cultural hub opens in Dubai; dedicated arts research library, public sculpture park, youth assembly and ongoing public programming accompany curated exhibitions

Jameel Arts Centre, an innovative cultural destination, opens today in Dubai, UAE—the culmination of years of engagement with communities in the region and globally by Art Jameel, the independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East. Jameel Arts Centre is the first non-governmental contemporary arts institution of its kind in the Gulf.

The 10,000-square-metre, three-storey, multi-disciplinary building designed by UK-based Serie ArchitectsArt Jameel’s first dedicated space—is home to multiple exhibitions and new commissions. The Centre opens with group show Crude, curated by Murtaza Vali and featuring 17 artists and collectives, plus four Artist’s Rooms, capsule shows dedicated to single artists (Maha Malluh, Mounira Al Sohl, Lala Rukh and Chiharu Shiota). In addition to acting as an unparalleled public resource for research and documentation, Jameel Arts Centre will act as a cultural hub to encourage and develop innovative avenues for engagement with diverse communities: youth, academics, artists and the general public.

Ongoing programming, Research Library and Sculpture Park
Jameel Library, an open-access research centre, features a bilingual collection of nearly 3,000 books, journals, catalogues and theses, materials collaboratively crowd-sourced in part from Art Jameel’s extensive network of academic and cultural organisations. Free and open to all, the library will be the site of knowledge-generating programmes including talks, research projects, symposia and reading groups, intended for a wide ranging audience of students, artists, researchers, writers, professionals and “the curious.” With an Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) that can be searched entirely online, Jameel Library is designed for both a local and global audience. The Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research (featuring an open call for proposals through December 1, 2018) is the second in a three-year cycle, annual opportunity that is foundational to the programming of Jameel Arts Centre and the Jameel Library in particular.

The Youth Assembly, a pioneering peer-to-peer programme serving and led by the next generation of creatives, opens its inaugural session from November 2018 through April 2019. The initiative will lead to the production of art, design, research, interventions and public events geared towards youth aged 18-25. The inaugural session features a diverse group of nine young artists, writers, architects, creative designers, animators, social entrepreneurs and coders.

The Centre’s opening also marks the launch of Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park, Dubai’s first open-air art park, designed by UAE-based ibda design and developed in partnership with Dubai Holding. The inaugural installation includes sculptures by Helaine Blumenfeld, Talin Hazbar and Latifa Saeed, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, David Nash, and Slavs and Tatars. A series of public events and activations curated by Art Jameel for the park kicks off with the regional premiere of WATERLICHT, an immersive light installation by Daan Roosegaarde, presented by Dubai Holding.

Six months of staggered exhibitions, including new works and solo installations by artists such as Hemali Bhuta, Hassan Khan, Seher Shah, Randhir Singh and Farah Al Qasimi, will be announced in the coming months. The symposium and corresponding book launch Past Disquiet—exploring histories of trans-national and anti-imperial solidarity within the arts and museums in the ’60s and ’70s—will take place in January 2019. 

Opening exhibitions and commissions
Crude, curated by Murtaza Vali (on view November 11, 2018–March 30, 2019) and featuring 17 artists and collectives, explores oil as an agent of social, cultural and economic transformation, as well as a driver of geo-political upheaval. Works from the 1950s and 1960s are juxtaposed with more recent works, including several new commissions. The exhibition considers some of the complex histories of oil as a catalyst of modernity across the Middle East, tracing its effects through the archives, infrastructures, and technologies it has produced. Crude is accompanied by a specially produced catalogue and a series of educational programmes, including a film series and a symposium in spring 2019.

Artist’s Rooms, a series of solo exhibitions (on view November 11, 2018–February 9, 2019), opens with four featured artists: Chiharu Shiota, Maha Malluh, Lala Rukh and Mounira Al Solh. Characteristic of this ongoing programme, the installations draw from the Art Jameel Collection and include a commission—a significant site-specific piece by Shiota—as well as diverse mediums including works on paper, video, sculptures and textile pieces.

A selection of large-scale installations and sculptural works, several newly commissioned, are on view at the Centre’s roof terrace and within a series of permanent gardens designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel. The Jameel Arts Centre’s seven garden installations reflect local and global desert biomes. At the Centre’s opening, the lobby features a new interactive work by Lara Favaretto, and Shaikha Al Mazrou presents the first in an annual series of commissioned projects for the Artist’s Garden. A site-specific installation by Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub—the winning work from the first edition of Art Jameel Commissions—will remain on view through September 2019, and a sculptural work by Vikram Divecha will also be installed within the garden spaces in the coming months.

A series of artist’s films and related programming will be on view in Gallery 9, starting with the feature-length work Wild Relatives (2018) by Jumana Manna.


Press contact
Ciara Phillips
T +971 55 686 9488 / ciara [​at​]

Jameel Arts Centre
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