National Pavilion UAE and Art Jameel announce open calls for major events - GulfToday

National Pavilion UAE and Art Jameel announce open calls for major events

Jameel art 55

The Art Jameel shop in Dubai.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The National Pavilion UAE has issued an open call for proposals to curate the UAE’s exhibition for the 18th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, to run between May and November 2023.

Curators and curatorial teams — architects, designers, artists, historians or researchers with experience working in the UAE or MENASA region — are invited to submit a concept proposal for an exhibition that will explore an intriguing aspect of the UAE’s architecture or built environment, that contributes to the understanding of and discourse around architectural practice locally, regionally and internationally. “The curatorship of the National Pavilion UAE’s 2023 exhibition presents an opportunity to share an untold story of UAE through the lens of architects at the forefront of international contemporary discourse and culture,” said Angela Migally, Executive Director, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation (SHF), Commissioner of National Pavilion UAE.


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Laila Binbrek, Co-ordinating Director of the National Pavilion UAE, said: “For this round, we continue to seek out diverse perspectives and new voices and we encourage applicants to explore creative, and collaborative ways to reflect the UAE’s contemporary discourse in a globally relevant way.” Concept proposals should present the exhibition theme through a narrative that contextualises the idea within the local, regional and global industry discussions, as well as previous National Pavilion UAE exhibitions. UAE citizens, residents of the UAE and international applicants who can demonstrate local expertise, experience and understanding, are all eligible to apply, individually or as teams.

Jameel art 33 Lest We Forget — Structures of Memory in the UAE, exhibition installation view by National Pavilion UAE, 2014.

Applications will close at midnight UAE time (GMT+ 4) on October 31, 2021. Selected finalists will be invited to present a full proposal for the second round of the process. Full details and submission guidelines are available on the National Pavilion UAE website ( The National Pavilion UAE is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Youth. The current exhibition, Wetland, which marks the pavilion’s 10th participation at the biennale, highlights the possibilities of how salt and mineral compounds found in the UAE’s Sabkha (salt flats) is inspiring the development of renewable building materials. The exhibition was curated by Wael Al Awar, Principal Architect and founding partner of waiwai, an award-winning multidisciplinary architecture, landscape, graphic and urban design studio, and architect Kenichi Teramoto who was a founding partner of waiwai and recently established the Office of Teramoto in Japan.

Since 2009, the National Pavilion UAE exhibitions have explored the nation’s cultural evolution from 20th century experimental artists to the diverse contemporary scene.

In 2019, it presented an acclaimed installation exploring geographic and psychological displacement, from filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem. The National Pavilion UAE’s exhibition will showcase works by ground-breaking painter, sculptor and land artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim at the 2022 edition of la Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale). In parallel with its exhibitions in Venice, the National Pavilion UAE engages with communities in the UAE to support the growth of the local cultural and creative industries, through public programming and professional opportunities. Alongside the pool of artists, curators, researchers and partners who have contributed to its exhibitions over the years, the UAE’s Venice Internship programme has provided training and hands-on experience to more than 200 interns, many of whom are now working successfully in cultural fields.

Jameel art 44 Lifescapes Beyond Bigness exhibition installation view by National Pavilion UAE, 2018. 

SHF is a private not-for-profit foundation committed to the cultivation of a more creative, connected and thriving UAE community. Based in Abu Dhabi, it oversees a diverse portfolio of not-for-profit programmes and initiatives spanning the arts, culture, heritage, human development and early childhood development in the UAE and internationally. The Ministry of Culture and Youth is responsible for empowering and engaging the youth in the UAE, by enhancing their leadership skills, involving them in decision-making process and programmes, and giving them opportunities to contribute to the creative development of the country.

Art Jameel, the independent organisation that supports artists and creative communities, has also announced an open call, inviting exceptional talent from and/or based in the UAE and the SWANA region, to submit existing products and new designs in an opportunity to join the range of limited-edition items on offer at the Art Jameel Shop at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and its online platform.

(SWANA is a decolonial word for the South West Asian/North African region, in place of Middle Eastern, Near Eastern, Arab World or Islamic World that have colonial, Eurocentric and Orientalist origins). In its inaugural edition, the open call — set to become annual — accepts submissions in the months of August and September from creatives ranging from graphic and product designers to ceramicists, jewellers and homegrown, independent publishers. In addition to Art Jameel’s flagship store and online platform, the selected designs will be featured in the shop’s pop-ups in events across the UAE and beyond. All submissions are to be done by September 30, 2021.

The Art Jameel flagship shop is based at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, and the online platform caters to customers and audiences across the UAE, and soon, worldwide.

Currently, the shop stocks a collection of products with a focus on original, exclusive and/or rare items by regional and international artists as well as eco-conscious and award-winning brands such as Reform Studio, Tamashee, n/a Ceramics, Azra LLC, Kaph Books and others. Founded and supported by the Jameel family philanthropies, Art Jameel is headquartered in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and works globally. Art Jameel and the Jameel family are currently celebrating three quarters of a century of philanthropy.

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