Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week

This is one of the region’s foremost destinations for contemporary art and home to Dubai’s risk-takers, makers and creative communities.

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai's Contemporary Arts And Culture District, Commences Alserkal Art Week

Alserkal Avenue was established in 2008 by Alserkal Initiatives following the visionary thinking of its founder, Emirati businessman and cultural patron Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, who sought to cultivate a vibrant creative community and support cultural production in Dubai. Today it is a vibrant cultural district in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai, and is home to a community of over 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations, designers, homegrown and entrepreneur-led businesses, and community spaces across 500,000 sqft and 90 warehouses. 

This district provides an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the region’s foremost destinations for contemporary art, and home to Dubai’s risk-takers, makers and wide-ranging creative communities, Alserkal Avenue provides cultural experiences for local, regional and international audiences through its extensive year-round programming.

Alserkal Art Week is currently taking place from February 25 to March 3, 2024. The week-long arts and culture programme, will open with the impactful and immersive work Can You Hear Me? by leading artist and pioneering video art practitioner Nalini Malani setting the tone at Concrete including curator Nada Raza in conversation with the artist.

Alserkal Arts Foundation’s public art projects return to our public realm with a new commission by Dima Srouji, curated by Zoé Whitley, who is also the curator for this year's compelling edition of Majlis talks on February 27. This will be followed by the much-loved Alserkal Lates, which will see the Avenue activated from 10AM until 10PM with exhibitions, slow art walks, and community workshops and pop-ups. 

Nalini Malani’s Can You Hear Me? 
25 February - 3 March 

Textual and visual quotations, annotations and snippets of sound and music — what the artist calls ‘thought bubbles’— come together, intersect, and are taken apart in Nalini Malani’s ‘animation chamber’, for this solo exhibition for Alserkal Art Week. A powerful expression of outrage against the persistence of social violence and global injustice, this exhibition projects a large-scale, nine-channel video installation of over 88 iPad-drawn animations made from 2017-2020. The work inhabits the architectural expanse of the OMA-designed Concrete with unprecedented theatrical impact. 

This presentation of Can You Hear Me? will be accompanied by special outdoor screenings of an adapted version of the artist’s seminal work, In Search of Vanished Blood, a paean to the horrors of war and imperialism. As we face the world today and ask what culture can do, Malani’s commitment to amplifying messages of principled resistance offers a beacon, a loud cry in the darkness. The screenings will take place on Sunday, 25 February, Tuesday, 27 February and Saturday, 2 March.

Walk With Me, responsive site-specific public art commissions curated by Zoé Whitely

Launch date: 27 February 

Our 2024 edition of public art commissions is thoughtfully curated by Zoé Whitely, who was particularly struck by Alserkal Avenue’s accessibility and cultural and experiential offerings for audiences on foot rather than by car, effectively issuing an invitation to forge new discoveries by walking the site. Her project takes two points of departure, from Rumi’s poem ‘Keep Walking’ and American poet Brenda Hillman, who in the poem Walking the Dunes observed, “It is the artist’s job to make form. Not even to make it, but to allow it. Allow form. And all artists have a different relationship to it, and a different philosophy of it … I think that when you are trying to open up a territory…”

Defined as Alserkal by inclusion, imagination and ideas – primarily centred on presenting the work of artists, the 2024-25 commissions will realise ambitious new works by artists Dima Srouji, Abbas Akhavan, Vikram Divecha and Asma Belhamar whose expressive modes make concepts physically palpable, immediately relatable and widely accessible. What one uncovers on a walk can give new form and meaning to one’s experience of a place, rendering it unforgettable. The project launches with Dima Srouji’s This is Not Your Grave.

Majlis Talks Let the beauty we love be what we do
27 February

The majlis has always provided the necessary form to plant the seeds of connections; a common ground for discussion and sharing. From the majlis we begin a convergence of differences, mingling vantage points, allowing new questions to rise. In March 2024, we convene a dynamic cross-section of artists, architects, playwrights, musicians and filmmakers to discuss how we can collectively make and hold space. Inspired by the lines of Rumi’s poem, this will be an evening of  participation and discussion. 

‘Let the beauty we love be what we do. 
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.’

The Forgotten Place, a talk with Muhannad Shono & curator Tairone Bastien 

Muhannad Shono, a multi-disciplinary artist, will be speaking about his public art installation, A Forgotten Place on March 2, with curator Tairone Bastien. The work is part of the Global Co-commission project A Feral Commons, helmed by Alserkal Advisory.

The work itself carries water condensate from air conditioning units inside warehouses on either side of the laneway in the Avenue to irrigate a garden of feral plants. It is a microcosm of the inadvertent and varied plant-life that grows largely unnoticed around Al Quoz, fed by unintended lifelines of condensate drip.

A Forgotten Place draws attention to what the artist calls “AC ecologies” representing nature’s resilience and adaptation to anthropocentric climate change. The project sets out to think with AC ecologies, to consider the potential of an abundant yet untapped irrigation source that can be found in water-scarce parts of the world.

 Alserkal Lates 

Alserkal Lates returns on Tuesday 27 February, from 10AM-10PM, inviting visitors to explore the Avenue after dark. Slow Art Walks will take place throughout the evening, where young curators and artists will draw comparisons between the new exhibitions on display, and the themes they aim to portray. The night will host 12 new compelling exhibition openings by the Avenue’s contemporary art galleries, a conversational Majlis Talks, inviting slow art walks, and responsive public art commissions. 

Gallery Exhibitions

Carbon 12 brings an exhibition by one of Germany's most relevant contemporary artists, André Butzer, founded the Akademie Isotrop in Hamburg. The Third Line presents Farah Al Qasimi's exhibition, providing a unique approach to visual storytelling. Lawrie Shabibi introduces Mandy El-Sayegh in A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, curated by Sara Raza, an exhibition that collages fragments of information, such as newspapers, aerial maps, her father’s calligraphy, alongside hand-painted elements and non-traditional materials such as latex, investigating the relationship between them. The exhibition will also include a performance by the artist. 

Green Art Gallery introduces the work of Ana Mazzei, How to disappear, inviting viewers to explore the complex nature of identity. Leila Heller Gallery promises a solo exhibition by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The gallery will also present Carpets of Eden, Gardens of Fantasy, a curated exploration of the mystical qualities of carpets in the realm of fantasy, and Immortal Mirror by Aref Montazeri, featuring handmade mirrors that invite audiences to discover themselves in new situations.

Ayyam Gallery's Immortal Moment, Coping with the Shock by Faisal Samra delves into the concept of an immortal moment and the coping mechanisms associated with it. 1x1 Art Gallery presents two exhibitions: Owais Husai's solo exhibition featuring his latest artistic endeavours, and Graciela Magnoni's Watan, curated by Salima Hashmi, exploring themes of identity and belonging. 

Firetti Contemporary will host two exhibitions; The Fifth Wife, a group exhibition curated by Mara Firetti, Celine Azem, and Ali Cha'aban, and Metamorphosis, curated by Mara Firetti and Celine Azem, which showcases Laura Lappi's sculptures inspired by ancient basilicas, cathedrals, and mediaeval Scandinavian wooden structures.

Gallery Isabelle introduces the upcoming duo exhibition, "Rest," featuring the works of Dubai-based artists Mohammed Kazem and Vikram Divecha. The exhibition will run from February 27 to April 15, 2024.

Ishara Art Foundation is currently displaying Sheher, Prakriti, Devi, an exhibition that marks artist and photographer Gauri Gill’s first extensive curation. Ruminating on the interwoven relationship between dynamic cities, the natural environment and the inseparable sacred. Volte Art Projects presents a solo exhibition of modernist master of the figurative genre, Manjit Bawa, one of the few artists who took figuration right from the outset.