UAE-based artists can now apply for Art Dubai’s residency programme

Open call for artists and curators for Campus Art Dubai 8.0 will run until September 15

Visitors at the Campus Art Dubai exhibition during Art Dubai 2019. Photo Solutions
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Art Dubai’s annual residency programme, Campus Art Dubai (CAD), has put out an open call for Emirati and UAE-based artists and curators to apply for its eighth edition.

Taking place from October 2019 to March 2020, the programme follows a curriculum of seminars, group discussions, field trips, and a production-based two-month residency that will require participants to create works for an exhibition at Art Dubai in 2020.

This year, CAD 8.0 will centre on the theme of Animal/Vegetable/Mineral: Symbiotic Life in a Parasitic World. The curriculum’s activities will examine this topic further, as artists look at the climate crisis and its urgent threat to life on Earth. There will be a particular focus on the rapid urbanisation of the Gulf, and the consequences that this has had on nature and the environment.

During these six months, the 10 to 12 selected candidates will develop their practices under the mentorship of three tutors, Murtaza Vali, Uzma Rizvi and Munira Al Sayegh. Vali, a curator who is based between New York and Sharjah, and Rizvi, an anthropology professor at The Pratt Institute of Art and Design in Brooklyn, have been CAD’s lead tutors since 2014.

As part of their application, artists and curators must outline a project linked to the theme that they will work on during the programme. The applicants must also have a previous body of work or works-in-progress to present to the tutorial committee.

“We are looking for artists who, though emerging, have already demonstrated a commitment to their practice, who are interested and engaged in critical thinking, and have a clear proposed project in mind,” said Vali in an email interview.

CAD is one of a handful of residency programmes in the UAE, with Sharjah Art Foundation, Tashkeel, Art Jameel, and Alserkal Residency also organising their own initiatives. Residencies not only afford artists and other practitioners the studio space and at times financial support to focus on their practice, they also open up opportunities to learn and build networks.

“Firstly, they enter into a structure where their work and career choice are taken seriously and validated,” explains Vali. “Secondly, they are challenged critically so they gain confidence and conviction in their vision and expression. Thirdly, they enter a safe space where they can openly discuss vital issues that, maybe, cannot or have not been discussed elsewhere.”

He adds that the participants will also receive mentorship from CAD’s guest tutors, who range from established artists, curators and gallerists, as well as develop a network of peers who they can collaborate with beyond the residency.

“Finally, the programme supports the creation of new work. Showing at Art Dubai was nerve-wracking, but also exciting and ultimately quite satisfying for last year's participants. The fair is an important international platform giving the artist's a great deal of visibility to both local audiences and the many professionals visiting from across the globe.”

Initiated in 2013, Campus Art Dubai has supported a number of Emirati and UAE-based artists who have advanced their practices, exhibiting works both locally and internationally. These include Farah Al Qasimi, who has had solo shows in New York’s Helena Anrather gallery and Art Basel, and Vikram Divecha, who participated in the 2016 Sharjah Biennial.

Aspiring CAD residents can apply through the Art Dubai website. The deadline for submissions is on September 15.