Art Dubai Commissions, as part of the extensive not-for-profit programme, gives regional and international artists the opportunity to develop dynamic site-specific works for the grounds of the fair.
Atfal Ahdath, A Pillar of Salt, 2017, Courtesy of the Artists
In 2017, Beirut-based art collective Atfal Ahdath (Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin) created The Room: Cooking Liberty, a surrealist visual and gastronomic experience. Taking cues from Salvador Dali’s cookbook, Les Diners de Gala and through exaggeration and repetition, Atfal Ahdath invited guests to experience its live visceral installation, open to the public during the fair in March.
The Collective presented guests with a seated gala dinner each night, in an immersive setting reminiscent of a grandiose banquet; a truly surprising experience that flirted with familiarity and expectation. Spread over two richly decorated rooms within Mina A’Salam hotel, Cooking Liberty delivered a unique drinks reception followed by a seated twelve-courses dinner, whilst the delights of this live visceral installation unraveled before your eyes.
During the day, the installation was open to the public and included daily performances by Raed Yassin and Jazz pianist Tarek Yamani.
Atfal Ahdath is an art collective founded by Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin in Beirut in 2010. They copy, steal and recycle material to assemble a set of deconstructed and rewired objects, images and situations. In their work Atfal Ahdath exploit dynamics of reproducibility and standardisation to create works that are as familiar as imaginary worlds and as uncanny as everyday reality. Their work has been shown in Arts Santa Monica (Barcelona), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Sharjah Biennial 10, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery (New York), Sultan Gallery (Kuwait) as well as venues in Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon.