The start of 2022 has seen an abundance of cultural and art initiatives featuring regional and global talent. Combined with the ongoing draw of Dubai Expo 2020, the city has been at the center stage of the international landscape with a promising outlook for further growth and development within the local arts community.
The collective eagerness to seek inspiration and cultivate new talent from the city’s residents, visitors and art community has ensured an eclectic and diverse offering of activities to be explored in the month of March 2022, especially during Art Dubai Week.
Art enthusiasts should take advantage of the chance to explore the various commissioned artworks at Dubai Expo 2020. Some noteworthy mentions are the contemporary artworks featured in The Public Art Programme, a platform of work inspired by the famous Arab mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al Haytham’s Book of Optics (c. 11th century). Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, the programme acts as a showcase of specially created immersive artworks from a selection of local and international artists. The commissioned artists include Monira Al Qadiri, Hamra Abbas, Olafur Eliasson, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Khalil Rabah, Yinka Shonibare, Haegue Yang, and Emirati artists Afra Al Dhaheri, Asma Belhamar, Shaikha Al Mazrou, and Abdullah Al Saadi.
Chimera © Monira Al Qadiri 2021. Commissioned by, and collection of, Expo 2020 Dubai
Jitish Kallat: Order of Magnitude at Ishara Art Foundation marks the artist’s first major solo exhibition in West Asia and the Levant. Kallat’s body of work sits between fluid speculation, precise measurement and conceptual conjectures producing dynamic forms of image-making. Presenting new works that include paintings, multimedia installations, drawings and site-specific interventions, the exhibition reflects Kallat’s deliberations on the interrelationship between the cosmic and the terrestrial.
The exhibition will be accompanied by physical and virtual tours, educational and public programmes, and a newly commissioned text by Amal Khalaf and artist conversations over the duration of the exhibit.
Jitish Kallat, Detail view of Covering Letter (terranum nuncius), (2018-20). Courtesy of the Artist.
In the multi-sensory exhibition, The Sonic Image, award-winning artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan presents various studies of factions of aural leaks and a new form of image making through experimentation and examination. ‘What does it mean to sonify images?’ asks Abu Hamdan. In The Sonic Image, the artist maps out an aesthetic atlas for how we see sound—that leaking of substances, which cannot be held by the membrane of either state or person; body or apparatus.
Curated by Omar Kholeif, this is the largest solo exhibition of recent works by the artist to date. Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image at Sharjah Art Foundation features installations, a major new commission, Air Conditioning (2022) and a site-specific performance that question the boundaries between voice and speech; translation and testimony; representation and reincarnation, and the power of sound and image.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Earshot (2016) Installation View. Courtesy The Artist, Portikus, Frankfurt/Main And Maureen Paley, London. Photograph By Helena Schlichting
A Space of Celebration by Taus Makhacheva at Jameel Arts Centre is the first survey show of the Moscow-born artist in West Asia. The exhibition includes the artist’s installation, sound and performance works which demonstrates complex histories through a cast of characters including her alter ego, Super Taus. Anthropomorphic figures move, freeze, play, dance in the halls, trying to establish a way of interacting with the outer, while using humor and irony as instruments.
Much of Makhacheva’s practice is grounded from her roots in the Republic of Dagestan, the artist is known to create works that explore the restless connections between historical narratives and fictions of cultural authenticity. Over the course of her practice, the artist repeatedly looks at the history and heritage of the post-Soviet era region as a source of inspiration.
Makhacheva will present a new commission at Jameel Arts Centre, an inflatable work that will playfully connect the indoors and outdoors spaces of the arts centre.
Taus Machcheva – ‘A Space of Celebration’ 2009. Copyright the Artist.
The Dubai Collection’s first physical exhibition, When Images Speak: Highlights from the Dubai Collection, is on show at the Etihad Museum until 6 May 2022. Curated by Dr. Nada Shabout, the exhibition comprises of contemporary and modern artworks from the collections of 10 patrons of the Dubai Collection, providing a unique opportunity to engage with works that would not usually be accessible to the public, including museum-quality pieces by Baya Mahieddine, Naziha Selim, Fateh Moudarres, Dia al-Azzawi, and Abdul Qader Al Rais.
When Images Speak Highlights from the Dubai Collection curated by Dr. Nada Shabout is at the Etihad Museum
Presented by Alserkal Arts Foundation at Concrete, A Slightly Curving Place curated by Nida Ghouse, responds to the practice of self-taught acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi and proposes possibilities for listening to the past and its absence which remains. Centred around an audio play and a video installation, it brings together writers, choreographers, composers, actors, dancers, musicians, field recordists, and sound, light, and graphic designers who engage and transform not just each other’s work, but also that of many others. Elements from Umashankar’s biography serve as a compass amid the material in vitrines, as a dancing body positions the endlessness of time in relation to a series of ruptures that is history.
The significant amount of cultural programming during the annual Art Dubai Week in March 2022 is a clear testament to the rise of the arts and cultural community in Dubai. While planning your visits, please ensure to visit the websites of the organizations and exhibitions for more information as well as updated COVID-19 protocols.