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Alserkal Avenue Announces New Homegrown Programme Featuring Premieres During Dubai Art Week 2015

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Alserkal Avenue announces the launch of a new homegrown programme dedicated in support of dialogue and the production of performance, public art and social practice with special consideration and programmatic support for artists living and working in the MENASA region. The new programme, to include new commissions to premiere during Dubai Art Week this March, comes on the heels of a new $14 million USD expansion open for preview on Monday, March 16, 2015.

Alserkal Avenue Founder and Patron of the Arts, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, is delighted to announce the Avenue’s new creative direction including a homegrown programme and a new Programming Committee – an international assembly of curators, historians, patrons and art-world professionals – to advise it. The programme looks to include international projects in Venice and London in summer 2015.

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, comments, “The breadth and reach of Alserkal Avenue as an organisation has developed alongside the galleries and creatives who have shaped Alserkal Avenue as both a destination and community over the past eight years. Together, we have contributed to the legacy of arts and culture in the region and its role in the international context.”

Since the first gallery joined Alserkal Avenue eight years ago, Al Quoz - the industrial quarter of Dubai – has become a critical hub for the region’s burgeoning art scene – a space where artists, gallerists, curators and other creative professionals socialise, share ideas, strengthen networks and work together to realise uncommon visions.

As the district looks ahead to welcome more than 40 new creatives in art, architecture, design, fashion and food in fall 2015, Alserkal Avenue will mark a significant development as an arts organisation, introducing its own homegrown programme of artist residencies, exhibitions, performance, film and talks. 

“With the introduction of more than 40 new creatives to the Avenue this fall, it is critical to also grow in our support of the artists alongside the businesses and organizations that encourage them,” Director of Alserkal Avenue, Vilma Jurkute explains.

Building on its support for the art eco-system in the UAE, Alserkal Avenue’s homegrown programme will help realise its mission to support open dialogue and provide a collaborative platform for uncommon thinking, experimentation and creative actions across disciplines.

Alserkal Avenue’s new homegrown programme is dedicated in support of dialogue and the production of performance, public art and social practice with special consideration and programmatic support for artists living and working in the MENASA region. By encouraging art making that is collaborative, participatory and ephemeral, Alserkal Avenue looks to further strengthen the art eco-system by ensuring artists have opportunities to make work not easily supported by the regional market. Alserkal Avenue aims to provide curatorial and programmatic support for local art-making, and will also seek to collaborate with arts organisations locally, regionally and internationally to develop shared programming and establish critical networks of creative imaginings and art-making across borders.
Alserkal Avenue’s new homegrown programme will provide artists with additional platforms for engagement from special commissions and exhibitions to future artist studios and residencies. We look forward to giving artists an elevated voice in the cultural landscape of Dubai and helping to share those voices internationally as the programme develops,” comments Tairone Bastien who recently joined as Alserkal Avenue’s Programming Director.
Alserkal Avenue’s new homegrown programmes will develop in concert with ongoing annual events including Galleries Night (launched in 2012), Quoz Arts Festival (launched in 2012) and Urban Market (launched in 2014), in addition to regular programming in the Avenue’s collective A4 Space.

More information on the components of Alserkal Avenue’s new homegrown programme below.

NEW PROGRAMME COMMITTEE
Alserkal Avenue also announces the establishment of the Alserkal Avenue Programming Committee. The Programming Committee is made up of an international assembly of curators, historians, patrons and art-world professionals who will lend their expertise and experience to the development of Alserkal Avenue’s homegrown programme.

The committee includes: Myrna Ayad, Canvas Magazine; Aaron Cezar, Delfina Foundation; Salwa Mikdadi, NYU Abu Dhabi; Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani, Samdani Art Foundation; and Peter Scarlet, Film Historian and Festival Programmer, Savita Apte, Art Dubai with additional names being announced in the coming weeks.

MARCH PROGRAMME
Starting in March 2015, Alserkal Avenue will gradually introduce new programming in the months ahead, including artist commissions, artist studios, residencies and exhibitions in dedicated art spaces in the expanded areas, as well as film and music programming, workshops and talks in the community-focused A4 Space.

In March, Alserkal Avenue will unveil two site-specific art works in The Yard, a new outdoor public square in the heart of the Avenue. Commissioned by Art Dubai Projects in collaboration with Alserkal Avenue, the two artworks respond to the recent construction and expansion of Alserkal Avenue as well as to the surrounding industrial neighborhood of Al Quoz. Mehreen Murtaza’s Deep Sky Object II is an uncanny spherical object that appears to have fallen from the sky and crash-landed in Dubai. Nearby, Maria Thereza Alves’ Wake: Flight of Birds and People in Dubai is made up of Seed Catcher a living installation in The Yard, and an exhibition in a nearby warehouse. The exhibition is made up of archival and new photographs, drawings and found objects that constitute the artist’s research into plants and seeds in the UAE, connecting botanical histories to the migrations of people and animals and movement of goods via centuries of globalization. As part of her research, Maria Thereza Alves also excavated the history of Alserkal Avenue, studying its origins as a marble factory established by the Alserkal family in 1980, importing marble from Italy. Both works will be on view after Art Week, through June 2015 with accompanying programming to be announced at a later date.
The site of Alserkal Avenue, its development and expansion is further investigated by a three-channel video installation by Hazem Harb that blends video with found objects from the construction site of the expanded areas. Commissioned by Alserkal Avenue, the new work, the artist reflects on the people and industry that built the site refracted through the abstracting lens of its architecture. This work follows the artist’s presentation in 2014 of large-scale photographs set amidst the frames of the future warehouses.

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About Alserkal Avenue
Alserkal Avenue is an arts and culture hub within the industrial quarter of Dubai; it houses contemporary art galleries, as well as alternative arts and community spaces. Established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue started with just 20 spaces, and has recently launched a US$ 14 million expansion that has trebled the size of the Avenue, creating a vibrant regional nerve centre for the support and development of arts and culture. In addition to prominent regional and international galleries, the extension brings a wide spectrum of creative spaces to life, including a black box theatre, independent cinema, artists’ studios and outdoor performance venue. Alserkal Avenue has redefined the cultural landscape of Dubai and has earned the ideal space for the exchange of ideas and the development of home- grown cultural and artistic initiatives. www.alserkalavenue.ae

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue and Patron of the Arts
Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal was born and raised in Dubai. After graduating from university in the United States, he began his career in real estate and development in the UAE. A patron of the arts, he conceived of Alserkal Avenue, combining his passion for the arts with his interest in real estate. He is the driving force behind Alserkal Avenue, which today houses some of the region’s most prominent contemporary art spaces. Looking to extend the reach and cultural impact of Alserkal Avenue, Abdelmonem initiated the Alserkal Avenue expansion, which was launched in early 2015. In addition to more gallery space, the expansion is home to salient features such as a black box theatre, independent cinema and outdoor performance venue, affirming Alserkal Avenue’s presence as an arts and culture hub of international standing. Abdelmonem and the Alserkal family have long been supporters of the arts and have been awarded the Patron of the Arts award twice, in 2012 and 2013, by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

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