Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R.) Dubai is a joint partnership between The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Delfina Foundation, Tashkeel and Art Dubai. This unique collaboration brings together expertise and resources from arts organisations in the UAE and the UK to support international exchange through artistic research, production and residencies. A.i.R. Dubai aims to contribute to the burgeoning local art scene in historic Al Bastakiya and to promote international discourse and exposure in the UAE through open studios, educational activities and new commissions, as part of Art Dubai Projects.
For A.i.R. Dubai 2012, three Emirati artists, Zeinab Alhashemi, Hadeyeh Badri and Nasir Nasrallah, along with three international artists Magdi Mostafa, Deniz Üster and Fayçal Baghriche and a curator, Alexandra MacGilp, were given studio spaces in the magnificent setting of House 11. Over nine weeks, the seven shared ideas, stories, space and food. The open studio exhibition was not intended as a curated show but a representation of the residency experience and the artists’ responses to Al Bastakiya, the larger city of Dubai, and most importantly, each other.
Magdi Mostafa’s field recordings of noises from his surroundings in Al Bastakiya formed part of a seven-channel installation at House 11 and the material for two live performances. Magdi also incorporated the well in his studio, a typical feature of Al Bastakiya’s architecture, into his sound installation. Also responding to Al Bastakiya’s architecture, Deniz Üster built three windcatchers dedicated to Istanbul, Glasgow and Dubai, cities with significance to her. The Glasgow tower was installed in Al Bastakiya, while its sisters were situated at Art Dubai. Remnants of the towers’ construction were also on display in her studio. Zeinab Alhashemi designed and produced pieces of modular furniture, which were inspired by the multi-purpose uses of trolleys – or haath gadis – in the nearby souk. The sculptures travelled around Al Bastakiya daily as part of a performance involving a haath gadi wallah. Also creating sculptural forms from objects that surround us, Nasir Nasrallah’s The Useless Machines were inspired by the plethora of technological devices that exist but are not necessary for our existence. His interactive performance at House 11, The Story Converter, was an extension of this theme.
Fayçal Baghriche and Hadeyeh Badri worked with images gathered from the city during their residencies. Fayçal displayed two censored versions of the same image as a diptych, and thus, explored the poetics of these gestures made by non-artists, which transform the meaning of the image. In a different way, Hadeyeh explored aesthetic choices made consciously and unconsciously by a range of people living in the UAE. She continued a body of photographic work that captures different classifications of icons, be it cultural or religious, in a certain space such as a shop, restaurant, or office. For A.i.R. Dubai, she explored the symbolic in regards to outdoor spaces and the integration and assimilation of built and natural environments.
Open studios exhibition:
House 11, Al Bastakiya, Bur Dubai (near Dubai Museum)
16 March, Panel discussion (17:00), Reception (19:00 to 22:00, with performance by Magdi Mostafa at 19:30)
Saturday 24 March 11:00-22:00
Sunday 25 March 11:00-22:00
Monday 26 March 11:00-19:00
Daily performances of Prayer on a Wheel (The Haath Gadi Project) by A.i.R. artist Zeinab Alhashemi, 14:00-14:30 (Fridays and Sunday 26th, 16:00-16:30)
For more info about A.i.R Dubai and the 2012 residents please click here.