Warehouse421, the Abu Dhabi hub for art, culture, design, performance, nestled in two former industrial warehouses, showcases the works of local and international talents while offering the public a unique overview of the design’s processes and techniques. And it’s a 3 in 1 event that’s happening there from March 7th. The structure, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and supported by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation will be simultaneously hosting “Untold Stories Retold: Recent Exhibitions from the UAE’s National Pavillon at the Venice Biennale”, Galleries Week and are opening their new production facilities to the public.
While Galleries Week runs until March 11th, “Untold Stories Retold” will be shown until June 24th. Two exhibitions are held under this title, one being “Transformations: The Emirati National House” (2016), exploring the development and historical context of Sha’bi (folk) house alongside the contemporary experiences of the family who are still living in these neighborhoods today. From the 1970’s onwards, these Sha’bi houses were offered as homes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ’ population as part of a national expansion plan. They were first constructed on a standard model then modified over the years by their inhabitants, reflecting the lifestyles evolution in the UAE.
The second returning exhibition is the 2017 “Rock, Paper, Scissors; Position in Play”, a group show presenting the works of 5 UAE-based artists: Najeem Alghanem, Vikram Divecha, Sara Al Haddad, Lantian Xie and Dr. Mohamed Yousif.
The theme for this exhibition was “playfulness” as a link between different generations of practice in the UAE, through various installation works.
Now Galleries Week only lasts 5 days, a good reason to make your way to Warehouse421, presto. In partnership with Abu Dhabi Art and Festember, 6 selected commercial galleries will be exhibiting works by local designers that will be available to purchase from 650 AED.
Saudis are a key-player of Galleries Week, present with two Jeddah-based platforms, ATHR and Hafez Gallery. From Hafez, we’d like to point out the presence of artists Ali Cha’aban with a Halal Haram black acrylic engraved with sand piece and Khalid Zahid’s 140x100cm photo entitled “The Simplicity Of Islam”. Artist Afsoon’s “Egyptian Magic” collages also caught our attention, mixing retro elements in a very contemporary way. Present with the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, the Palestinian – Swedish artist Alaa Mahmoud Alqedra, who graduated with Honours from the University of Sharjah’s College of Fine Art and Design is presenting a striking installation made out of concrete, mixed with memories from her childhood – here a Teddy Bear.
Other talent to notice, the very young Sharjah born Taqwa Al Naqbi (1994) exhibiting “The Book of Six Dresses”, a paper and thread piece honoring her grand mother’s dresses.
Still from the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, Maisoon Al Saleh, an Emirati artist and entrepreneur who majored in Interior Design, here presenting one of the 3 photos of her digital photo series “No.Si” , featuring both traditional Emirati symbols and pop-modern elements.
Other exhibiting galleries include Cuadro Fine Art Gallery and Meem Gallery (Dubai) and Salwa Zeidan Gallery (Abu Dhabi) from which we particularly retained the works of Fatema Al Mazroui, an Abu-Dhabi born and based Visual artist. Her piece “Year Of Zayed” – mixed media and calligraphy of Sheikh Zayed poetry on wood panel- manages to funky-up with collage effects an a priori formal theme (portrait and family pictures of Sheikh Zayed).
Last but not least, the unveiling of the new studio spaces for artists and designers with the inclusion of the first permanent home of design studio Nagwa is also something to look after while at Warehouse421 from March 7th.
Nagwa specializes in product design inspired by the people, places and stories of the UAE, using their new space to create, engage with the public, commercialize their creations but also enabling the visitors to read in their library.
The Artist Studios is a lot of 3 new spaces for artistic production within Warehouse421 that will be inaugurated through a partnership with Art Dubai residencies. 3 international fine artists, Iabadiou Piko from Indonesia, Kristina Alisauskaite from Lithuania and Faris Alosaimi from Saudi Arabia are occupying the studios for a maximum of 8 weeks in order to enrich and explore their practice in the UAE.
Faisal Al Hassan, Manager at Warehouse421, commented “Since its inception, Warehouse421 has been dedicated to supporting the creative community. The development of our space – accompanied by enhanced programming and events for our audiences – marks a significant step in our mission to provide for the evolving needs of the creative ecosystem here in the UAE. We are excited to build on the exhibitions, discussions, workshops and other events we have held here to incorporate new offerings and facilities. We know that creative people need spaces to work, think and engage with others in the field, and this fuels our drive to develop Warehouse421, both in terms of facilities and programming, to become an important hub for the UAE’s artists and designers.”
Finally, and because coffee can be artsy too, Warehouse421 sees the opening of their first pop-up café in the presence of Blacksmith Coffee, celebrating culinary arts and local entrepreneurship. Good muffins, good brews, good vibes.
Visit Warehouse421 for additional informations.
From Abu Dhabi City:
Follow the (E10) or Corniche Street towards Port Zayed (Secondary Entrance). Join 20th Street and at the 2nd roundabout turn left.
From Dubai (Travelling on E11):
Take Saadiyat Island / Yas Island exit onto Sheikh Khalifa Highway (E12), Continue onto Sheikh Khalifa Highway following the signs for Port Zayed (Secondary Gate). Join 20th Street, and at the 2nd roundabout, turn left.
Key landmarks nearby Warehouse421 are Abu Dhabi Vegetable Market and Mina Center.