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Feb 27 2018

Art Jameel Announces Winners Of First Artist Commission

by Sophie von Wunster

Kuwaiti artists ASEEL AL-YACOUB (left) and ALIA FARID (right) have been awarded the first artist commission for the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Courtesy the artists.

On February 26, the non profit organization Art Jameel announced that Kuwaiti artists Alia Farid and Aseel al-Yacoub have been awarded the first artist commission for the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, which is scheduled to open later this year.

Titled Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees (2018), the winning proposal features a pseudo-botanical garden of trees, some of which allude to native plant species, while others are hybrid species imagined by the artists. The work reflects on our relationship with nature and the surroundings, and will be built on an elevated terrace that connects the two wings of the Jameel Arts Centre.

Farid and al-Yacoub will receive a production budget of USD 70,000, as well as access to a support network of architectural, engineering and technical experts. The winners were selected from a shortlist that included Mohammed Kazem, Anahita Razmi and Mounira al-Solh.

Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees (2018) is the winning work of Art Jameel’s first artist commission. Courtesy ASEEL AL-YACOUB and ALIA FARID.
Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees (2018) is the winning work of Art Jameel’s first artist commission. Courtesy ASEEL AL-YACOUB and ALIA FARID.
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The jury was comprised of writer and curator Shumon Basar; independent curator and art historian Reem Fadda; James Lingwood, co-director of London-based Artangel; Elvira Dyangani Ose, senior curator at New York public arts organization Creative Time and visual cultures lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London; and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, president and director of Sharjah Art Foundation. They were impressed by the artists’ view and use of environmental and social research “reflecting on regional symbology, flora and popular culture, as well as the specific design of the Jameel Arts Centre building,” as stated in the official announcement. 

The Art Jameel Commission is expected to be a multi-year program in support of artists and their creative projects. Art Jameel states that the 2019 edition will focus on research, while the 2020 iteration will be for drawing and painting.

Sophie von Wunster is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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