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A.i.R Dubai 2013

A.i.R Dubai 2013 featured six artists from across the Middle East and Asia: Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Ammar Al Attar, Dina Danish, Reem Falaknaz, Joe Namy and Yudi Noor, who worked alongside acclaimed curator Bérénice Saliou.

The artists and curator were in residence and worked from studios in Dubai (January 7 to March 31); their stay culminated in an Open Studios exhibition, held parallel to SIKKA Art Fair (March 14-24, 2013). Additionally the international artists were commissioned to create site-specific works for Art Dubai Projects, which form part of the fair’s extensive non-commercial programming. The projects were exhibited at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, March 20-23, 2013.


The international artists-in-residence were identified through a nomination process by A.i.R Dubai’s selection panel, consisting of all partners and the 2013 guest juror, Cairo-based curator and writer Sarah Rifky, while the Emirati artists were selected by the same panel following an open call for application. The curator-in-residence was chosen through A.i.R Dubai’s selection panel with ArtAsiaPacific, a leading international art publication, and partner on the curator-in-residence programme.
Ebtisam Abdulaziz and Dina Danish collaboratively undertook research into the legacy of the neighbourhood. Based on archive materials relating to House 11, Ebtisam Abdulaziz created three artworks ranging from sculpture to video-performance and installation, interrogating the idea of preservation, while Dina Danish produced a series of site-specific drawings highlighting the relationship between memory and architecture. The two artists also collaborated on two interventions disrupting perceptions of time and place.
In a video observing the public’s interactions with the aquarium at Dubai Mall – the world’s largest shopping mall – Dina Danish questions the idea of spectacle and entertainment, a consideration that also lies at the core of Joe Namy’s sculpture and sound installation of an interactive disco floor that illuminates according to a mix of traditional Mdema rhythms and experimental compilations purchased from local shops.
Reem Falaknaz took advantage of her residency to develop the first stage of an ongoing project dealing with social issues and the notion of value, while questioning how personal narratives exist within the ever-changing urban environment of Dubai.  Dealing with similar social issues, Ammar al Attar's photographs and videos of water coolers give an insight into a rather unknown practice in the UAE that subtly references a distinctive form of wealth distribution. Responding to Ammar al Attar’s video triptych, Joe Namy’s subtle sound installation releases atmospheric sounds collected around Dubai. The two works overlap and interact with a water well, one of the original features of the room where their works are presented.
Invading the central space of the house, a sculpture by Yudi Noor of horizontal water pipes foreshadows the artist’s main work, which is concentrated around a room that shelters the house’s barjeel or wind tower. Inspired by this architectural feature, the artist created a series of installations that bear witness to his accumulative and joyful practice based on chance encounters.
An essay by curator-in-residence, Bérénice Saliou,, accompanies the open studio exhibition.
Multidisciplinary Emirati artist, curator and writer Ebtisam Abdulaziz incorporates her unique perspective on mathematics and the structures of systems to explore issues of identity and culture through installations, performance pieces and works on paper. Selected exhibitions include ‘Belief’, Singapore Biennial (2006); and Sharjah Biennial 7 (2005) and 10 (2011). Abdulaziz is represented by The Third Line Gallery.
Born in Dubai, Ammar Al Attar has attended numerous photography courses and is a member of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), Photographic Society of America (PSA), and the Abu Dhabi International Photographic Society (ADIPS). Ammar’s group exhibitions include ‘Emirati Expressions’, Manarat Al Saadiyat (2011) and the Thessaloniki Museum, Greece (2011).
Egyptian artist Dina Danish’s work combines conceptual art's preoccupation with language and structure with an interest in humour, misunderstanding, mistranslation and superstition. Winner of the Illy Present Future award at Artissima 18, Danish’s recent exhibitions include solo shows ‘Re-Play: Back in 10 Minutes’, SpazioA, Pistoia (2012); ‘A Matter of Time’, Galerie Barbara Seiler, Zurich (2011); and group exhibitions at Kunsthall Oslo and CIC in Cairo.
Visual Communications graduate Reem Falaknaz currently works for the Dubai Media Incorporated group, allowing her to travel around the Emirates, where she collects and documents narratives from the city’s inhabitants. Through her work, Falaknaz aims to translate the story of the city through sounds and visuals.
Joe Namy works with sampled sounds, documentary/music videos and photography, to investigate aspects of identity, memory, power and currents encoded in music. Namy participated in Ashkal Alwan's Home Workspace (2011-12), and has studied jazz, Arabic and heavy-metal drumming. His work has been exhibited at the Detroit Science Center; Queens Museum and Brooklyn Museum, New York; and Beirut Art Center, among other venues.
Yudi Noor was born in 1971 in West Java, Indonesia, and lives and works in Berlin. In a practice based on accumulation and observation, Noor explores the relational state of material as an abstract visualisation, working in sculpture, installation, photo and collage. Selected exhibitions include ‘Preloaded Key; Colour’, Galerie Stadtpark, Krems (2010) and ‘We Have Time’, Kunstverein Arnsberg (2009). Noor is represented by Nettie Horn, London.
Bérénice Saliou’s curatorial practice explores the ideas of borders, territory, public space, dialogue and negotiation. She holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College (2010); her exhibitions include ‘No Signal Found’ (Younes Baba Ali), Gallery Arte Contemporanea, Brussels (2011) and ‘Duty Free’ (Katia Kameli), Vidéochroniques, Marseille (2012). As Artistic Director of the Moroccan organisation Feddan, she develops its large-scale permanent residency and exhibition project Trankat Street, Tétouan (2013).
About guest juror Sarah Rifky
Sarah Rifky is co-director of Beirut in Cairo and founder of CIRCA (Cairo International Resource Center for Art). She was curator of Townhouse (2009-2010) and has taught at the American University in Cairo (2010). Since 2010, she works with Wael Shawky on MASS Alexandria, an independent study program for artists in Egypt; in 2011 she was an Agent for dOCUMENTA (13). She writes for Art Agenda Bidoun, Mousse, The Exhibitionist, Egypt Independent, Spike Art and other publications.
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