A whimsical summer pop-up is taking place at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi.
Inspired by Farah Al Qasimi’s photographic exhibition General Behaviour, currently on view at the Cultural Foundation, the Cake and Sprinkles pop-up is a temporary show that features 25 artists in the UAE, 12 who have created artworks that interpret their love of desserts and 13 who have dressed mini mannequins on display in the pop-up cafe.
In addition to the exhibition, there’s also a gaming space and a cafe that serves sweet treats and drinks, including milkshakes or coffees, making it suitable for the entire family, as it is open to all ages.
Emirati artist Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, who is also the community programme's head at the Cultural Foundation, curated the show.
“One of the parts of her [Al Qasimi’s] exhibition is behaviour and how people behave around things, how they spend their money, what they buy, their lifestyle,” she says.
The Cultural Foundation, she says, wanted to do something that was between Al Qasimi's show and that of Emirati artist Mohamed Al Astad. The latter's Another Perspective is currently also on view on the first floor of the centre.
"So either you are well known and everybody knows you or no one knows you. So that gap is where we come in as a community to bridge it," says Al Suwaidi. "So we have 13 artists — they are fashion designers, architects and interior designers. For the light boxes, we have  illustrators. So as many [artists] as we can bring together, that's our job, that's our mandate."
When deciding which works to display, Al Suwaidi says there were two things she was looking for: the quality and how it spoke to the theme of cake and sprinkles.
Asim Mohamed is one of the artists whose work has been chosen for the exhibition. He says it took four to five days to go from sketching to making the piece in 3D.
"I always play with Arabic letters. I try to mix them and usually, it's always flat," he says. "This was my second time making it in 3D. When I work, I'm trying to get inspired by nature. But with this limitation of having this summer vibe of cakes; sprinkles, I tried to think, 'OK, what if I play with the word and then make the colours with the theme we have here?' So this is what I came up with here."
However, Cake and Sprinkles isn't just an art exhibition. There's also an area for children to enjoy that includes a pool filled with sprinkles and a pink flamingo, as well as a zone to play games such as mini-golf or mega chess. The space also includes a pop-up cafe that offers items such as Kinder, Lotus and pistachio cakes and a variety of gelato flavours.
“Parents can bring their children, so they can see both exhibitions and explore the summer activation," Al Suwaidi says. "So the whole family can enjoy the place."