Alserkal Programming and UAE Unlimited announce partnership to showcase UAE-based artists at Concrete

Alserkal Programming has announced a partnership with UAE Unlimited to create the 2018 edition of the annual exhibition that showcases the work of emerging UAE-based artists. The exhibition, curated by Sharjah-based artist and curator Karim Sultan, will take place in Concrete from 5 March to 1 April 2018.

Following the unique format of mentorship that UAE Unlimited has adopted since its inception in 2015, Dubai-based artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian have been selected as guest artists and will work in an advisory capacity with emerging artists from the UAE to develop new artworks for the exhibition. The guest artists live and work together out of their Dubai-based studio and are known for their ingenious use of materials, working across various mediums. Their practice resonates strongly with young artists from across the UAE.“His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal have a shared vision of nurturing and supporting emerging artists from the UAE. Their commitment to the arts is reflected in the work of UAE Unlimited and Alserkal Programming respectively. We look forward to bringing the immense talent of contemporary artists and curators from the UAE to Concrete — a multi-disciplinary space that was designed with museum-grade exhibitions in mind,” said Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue.

The partnership between Alserkal Programming and UAE Unlimited will not only offer emerging UAE-based artists the opportunity to work with more established artists to create works of relevance to the local area, but they will also have their work shown in a world-class exhibition.

“Alserkal Programming’s commitment to the UAE’s art scene has made this partnership a natural one; the organisation has made an indelible contribution to artists and curators in the UAE. A space like Concrete raises the bar for the artists and curators in the region, giving them the freedom to create innovative works,” said Shobha Pia Shamdsani, Executive Director of UAE Unlimited.

The emphasis on learning and exchange extends to the curator as well; Laura Metzler, a respected UAE-based curator, has been named senior advisor on the project to assist Sultan and provide guidance through the six-month-long process. The exhibition will feature works by the guest artists as well as new commissions by selected emerging artists from the UAE.

In keeping with previous years, the March 2018 exhibition has a central theme — language and its use as a medium for communication. The theme aims to enable artists to create works that engage with the development of shared languages.

Explaining the significance of the theme, Sultan, who is also the director of Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, said, “When an artist uses language in their work, they cannot assume that their audience will understand a particular reference, or share the same language as them. The artists in this exhibition will be challenged to produce works that negotiate spoken, written, and visual languages, and that take into account a multiplicity of visual and cultural histories, and experiences of home and migration.”