New art residency programme aims to 'create cultural dialogue' between UAE and Pakistan

Artists from each country will be asked to think about the many facets of rain

One artist from Pakistan will spend  April 1 to 30 at Bayt Almamzar in Dubai. Photo: Bayt Almamzar
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An art residency programme between the UAE and Pakistan is inviting artists to explore the concept of rain.

Dubai's independent art space, Bayt AlMamzar, and the Pakistan's creative platform, Dastaangoi, have launched their inaugural artist exchange residency programme for 2024 with a focus on dialogue and forging a cultural bridge between the two countries.

Entitled Once Upon a Rain, the residency is open to artists who live in either country. One artist from each country will be selected and will spend a month on the exchange, creating work in their new environments. One artist from Pakistan will come to Dubai and do their residency at Bayt Almamzar and one artist from the UAE will go to Pakistan and do their residency at the Dastaangoi gallery.

“Water, and specifically rain, is a very interesting subject for the two countries,” Amad Mian, the co-founder and curator of Dastaangoi told The National.

“Pakistan with its problems with flooding. UAE with its cloud seeding efforts and deficit of water – this is also the first year that Pakistan had cloud seeding done and the UAE government helped facilitate it.”

The residency invites artists to delve into all facets of rain. “There are so many ways of looking at rain, water scarcity, global warming – these are the narratives that are so extremely relevant and important in our time,” added Mian.

“Water and rain are deeply rooted in the essence of our being. Residencies like this can allow us to ascertain research and other ways of communicating on these subjects.”

. Mian believes the residency will provide a cultural connection between countries with historical links.

“The residency touches on the long-standing relationship the two countries have had,” he added. “It's also a unique opportunity for the two artists selected to explore the respective countries, their cultures and methodology of living.”

Dastaangoi’s other artist-in-residence programme, now in its second intake, focuses on inviting artists from all over the world to Pakistan. In 2022, three of the European artists travelled across Pakistan to capture the country’s majestic countryside.

That was shown from the perspective of each three painter in an exhibition entitled The North, at Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Place.

This, Mian believes, is the power of artist in residence programs – to help reshape perspectives and explore new narratives.

“It creates space for artists, curators and creatives to be able to explore new narratives, build relationships and have experiences that would otherwise not be available,” he said.

“It allows the artists to not have to think about space and instead be able to focus on their work and growing through new lived experiences.”

The residency will take place from April 1 to 30 and is open to all forms of artists, with a specific focus on visual artists.

Each organisation will provide the invited artist from each country with accommodation, a studio space to work in and curatorial assistance. They will also assist in applying for funding to cover travel and production costs. Applications for the residency close on March 10.

To apply, artists must fill the form available through the link at @baytalmamzar or @dastaangoi’s Instagram account.

Updated: February 19, 2024, 2:36 PM