Rare photos of 1970s Dubai to be shown as part of Jameel Arts Centre's autumn programme

The 2021-2022 schedule of events begins in September and also includes new commissions and a major group show

View of Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park at Jameel Arts Centre. Photo: Mohamed Somji; Art Jameel
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Rare architectural photographs of Dubai, the return of the Artist’s Room and a major group show are among Jameel Arts Centre’s autumn/winter 2021-2022 programme, which begins in September.

In addition, the centre will present the first exhibition of late Filipina artist Pacita Abad in the Middle East and debut a sound and video installation by artist Samson Young.

The highlight of the programme is the exhibition Off Centre / On Stage, curated by architect and writer Todd Reisz. It traces Dubai’s aspirations of becoming a global city through architectural photographs from the 1970s.

About 60 photographs will be exhibited as part of the show, along with documentation gleaned by Reisz over a decade from archives and newspapers of the time. Most of the images relate to Reisz's architectural interests, with photographs by architects Stephen Finch and Mark Harris included in the show.

Taken between 1976 and 1979, their photographs capture the materialisation of the city and its then-inhabitants, workers who would build Dubai’s future. Reisz has also recently edited a book with Sultan Al Qassemi about Sharjah’s architectural history, and Al Qassemi’s Barjeel Art Foundation is supporting the show. It opens at Jameel Arts Centre on Wednesday, September 29.

A 1977 photograph at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Photo: John R. Harris Library

Opening before that, on Wednesday, September 8, is the group exhibition The Distance From Here. It includes works from the collection of Art Jameel, the organisation behind Jameel Arts Centre, as well as loans and new commissions. Themed on the idea of the body as a vessel, a tool and material that houses our experiences, lives and memories, the show will be accompanied by talks, workshops, tours and film screenings that will continue until January 2022.

The show includes works by 11 artists, namely Yto Barrada, Hrair Sarkissian, Shilpa Gupta, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Do Ho Suh, Anup Mathew Thomas, Mona Ayyash, Jason Dodge, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.

A solo show by Pacita Abad will open in the same week. Titled I Thought the Streets Were Paved with Gold, it includes a number of the artist’s major works, including Abad's vibrant trapunto tapestries and significant paintings from various periods in her career.

Pacita Abad's 'I Thought the Streets Were Paved with Gold', a 1991 trapunto painting from the 'Immigrant Experience' series. Photo: Art Jameel

Born in the Philippines in the 1946, Abad moved to the US in the late 1960s. Her work was tied to issues of social justice, including the immigrant experience in America, as well as the Cambodian humanitarian crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.

Art Jameel director Antonia Carver calls the show a “landmark in local and regional exhibition histories”, considering it is the first survey of Abad’s work in the Middle East and South Asia.

She says the show is part of the organisation’s aims to present diverse practices to local audiences. “We’re particularly interested in tracking and illuminating artists’ networks through history and across geographies, and in dwelling on the UAE as a dynamic site of city-making through the exchange and confluence of multiple ideas and experiences."

I Thought the Streets Were Paved with Gold is also the first solo show by a Filipino artist in the Gulf.

Also this season, Jameel Arts Centre’s film programme will screen The Jump by Palestinian artist Shuruq Harb. Set in the Jordan Valley, the film is constructed as a “visual poem” filled with unique landscape shots and a narrative centered on “a Palestinian man's jump into the Mediterranean.”

Part of an international collaboration with institutions in Singapore, the Philippines, Spain and Belgium, the work will be presented across five cities in the same period.

In October, Jameel Arts Centre’s Artist’s Room will return with a new site-specific, interactive sound and video installation by Hong Kong artist Samson Young. Its previous Artist’s Room exhibition, which ended in January, featured Turner Prize winner Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

Titled TTC #1, the commissioned piece by Young comprises a stage built with 3D-printed sculptures, smartphones and other communication devices, as well as computer-generated imagery, reflecting our information-saturated world.

An iteration of the work will be presented at the next Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

More information on Jameel Arts Centre’s 2021-2022 programme is available at jameelartscentre.org

Updated: August 23, 2021, 11:33 AM