A shoemaking workshop.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Warehouse421, the home-grown arts and design centre dedicated to showcasing and nurturing creative production across the region, has announced its summer programme, running till September.
It caters to children, adolescents and creative practitioners in the UAE.
Collaborators are Makerspace Al Zeina, Cairo-based film festival Film My Design, Dubai’s Cinema Akil, and also individual creative practitioners such as Rand Abdul Jabbar, Hala Al-Ani, Fatima Al Zaabi, Noora Al Awar, Afnan Saeed Amin (Studio D04), Dima Srouji, Suzy Sikorski of Mid East Art, Riem Ibrahim, Faysal Tabbara and Zuhoor Al Sayegh.
The programme also sees a permanent architectural intervention by artist Talin Hazbar titled ‘bah-rah’. Workshops include those dealing with Mapping and Tablescaping (online and in-space) and shoemaking.
The talks programme begins with Acts of Recognition, in two parts, by Jabbar (July 10).
The artist showcases an initial presentation that provides an overview of the conception and development of her latest work, Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives. It explores the varied and often conflicting shades of diasporic experience through a research-based participatory process, involving a multi-generational group of contributors from London’s Iraqi and Arab communities.
She will then be joined by a small group of project participants and contributors, to examine personal and collective attitudes towards remembrance, migration and legacy. Every Act is commissioned by Shubbak Festival 2021 and supported by Warehouse421’s Homebound Residency.
The programme also features Dukkan421 talks, a design-focused series on critical design approaches and theoretical and conceptual articulations of design and its role. It aims to situate our knowledge and cultural production in a global context.
The talks series will feature designers such as Hala Al-Ani (July 14), Studio D04 (Fatima Al Zaabi, Noora Al Awar, Afnan Saeed Amin) and Dima Srouji (Aug. 25). Iraqi designer Al-Ani’s work has been shown at several internationally recognised exhibitions, including Sharjah Biennial, Istanbul Design Biennial, Amman Design Week, Jogja Biennial, and Dubai Design Week.
She co-founded the Dubai-based Möbius Design Studio in 2010, working with Du, Tashkeel and the UAE National Pavilion at Venice Biennale.
Studio D04 focuses on producing designs that are niche in nature and unique, while leveraging indigenous elements and concepts to achieve progressive, modern designs.
Al Zaabi is an Emirati architect and designer. Her work focuses on digital technology, exploring different material processes with advanced digital fabrication methods.
She is a founding partner and a managing director in studio D04. Her work spans a range of scales and materials that incorporate interior design, installations and products, exploring traditional local crafts and culture.
Al Awar is an Emirati architect and designer. Her work focuses on exploring different material processes through traditional concepts derived from her surroundings. She is a founding partner and creative director in studio D04. Srouji is a Palestinian architect, designer and artist.
Her work explores the power of the ground and its artifacts in revealing forgotten, silenced or hidden narratives, in historical Palestine. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture. Dukkan421 is a store design, inspired by the architecture themes of Warehouse421 and Mina Zayed.
Additionally, the summer programme also includes Whistle While You Work, a series of discussions led by Suzy Sikorski of MidEast Art (Apr. 25 – Oct. 17). It is dedicated to humanising the artist and embracing diverse interdisciplinary activities, thoughts and frames of mind during the pandemic. The programme is part of the Warehouse421 Conversations Series.
Faced with a heightened sense of awareness of their emotional and technical functions during the quarantine, artists and creatives from across the GCC share their newfound ideas, paying attention to their mental and physical processes, as they channel them through daily habits, movement/dance/play, fantasy/myth-making/childhood memories and identity (sense of place and collective and individual consciousness).
How does daydreaming, fantasy, myth-making and childhood nostalgia impact creativity? In what ways does fantasy reinforce an understanding of our realities? How much of this impacts artwork production? Is it a constant part of the thought process? Sikorski discusses these questions and more with artists Maitha Abdalla and Hassan Meer.
Abdalla’s work oscillates between the diaphanous, vibrant and surreal, and is always marked by an atmosphere of reminiscence and nostalgia. Theatre is particularly influential in her work, as she further explores the difference between the imaginary and the real; she plays out many questions of social and cultural identity.
Meer was born in Muscat, where he lives and works. He is very much inspired by the changes in culture identity and studies individual identity and the community in a globalised age, through installation works and artworks. Sikorski is an art researcher based in Dubai, running Mid East Art, a digital storytelling platform covering modern art analysis and contemporary practices.
It seeks not only to contextualise the contemporary within regional modern art history, but also attempts to bridge Western and Middle Eastern audiences, within global art historical discourse.
Exhibitions at Warehouse421 included the just-concluded Total Landscaping (April 10 – July 4), curated by Murtaza Vali. It investigates the ways in which plant life is commonly understood, encountered, represented and consumed in the Gulf, and in similar urban spaces in the global South.
Makers in the Sun is a series of Egyptian designed shorts in collaboration with Film My Design, a Cairo-based film festival of screenings and talks that spotlight local design studios, artisans and craftspeople. The screening series (Aug. 1 – Aug. 28) focuses on locally produced original shorts and includes pre-recorded conversations with the filmmakers and directors of the festival. It is held in partnership with Cinema Akil.
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