Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Office of the UAE Pavilion achieves numerous milestones through its successful initiatives

United Arab Emirates, December 16TH, 2009: The conclusion of the UAE’s participation in the 2009 Venice Biennale has officially marked the nation’s emergence as a hub of cultural dialogue locally and internationally, formally cementing the UAE’s vital role in communicating the region’s dynamic contemporary art agenda to the rest of the world.

Initiated at the federal level by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the UAE Pavilion has been established to showcase the nation’s burgeoning pool of local talent and demonstrate that the UAE is also a place of artistic ferment.
The UAE’s debut has also brought the Emirates to the limelight as the first Gulf country ever to participate in the highly prestigious art event and has gained the recognition of the global art community for its talented artists and renowned curator Tirdad Zolghadr whose experimental exhibition entitled “It’s Not You, It’s Me” confronted international audience expectations of a debuting National Pavilion and the challenges of exhibition making in Venice.

One of the UAE’s most promising creative minds is Lamya Gargash, chosen as the featured artist to headline the art showcase at the UAE Pavilion. Gargash created a seminal series of 31 photographs titled "Familial”, documenting one-star hotels in the UAE. The Pavilion also showcased Tarek Al Ghoussein, Hassan Sharif, Huda Said Saef and Ebtisam Abdullah Aziz with work that in some way touched on issues of infrastructure in the UAE.
Another important feature is a specially commissioned video installation, “Nation Builders”, by the Berlin-based artist, dramaturge and curator Hannah Hurtzig. Housed in a kiosk, the installation featured conversations with key figures in the cultural panorama of the UAE – Dr. Aref Al-Sheik, Dr. Anna Klingmann, Armen Vartanian, Lana Nusseibeh, Dr Zaki Nusseibeh, Lee Tabler, Mishaal Al Gergawi, Antonia Carver, Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, and Rashed Omar Al Kharji.
The pavilion was designed by a collaboration between Traffic and D’Haeseleer & Kimpe & Poelaert. The unique scenography of the space allowed for an experimental presentation of material which ranged from artists’ works, architectural models of various cultural structures existing and planned for the UAE, to a performance space which housed the Jackson Pollock Bar rendition of the initial press announcement for the UAE Pavilion for the 53rd Venice Biennale in December 2008 at Art Basel Miami Beach.

In addition to showcasing the UAE as a platform for vibrant cultural exchange, a significant part of the mission of the office of the UAE Pavilion was to help people based in the Emirates to have a better understanding of the arts, and to provide infrastructure to support the nation’s diverse and thriving art scene. This was demonstrated through the establishment of the UAE Pavilion Volunteer Programme, which sent over 40 UAE-based volunteers to Venice through the support of the Emirates Foundation’s Takatof Programme and Emirates Airline. The volunteers assumed the role of cultural ambassadors for the UAE and gained free admission to a number of historic museums in Venice.
Another initiative led by the UAE Pavilion is the UAE Art Archive, an online portal which aims to offer a platform for people interested in the art scene across the UAE to have a better understanding of art and the cultural infrastructure of the country. The platform allows artists to showcase their work and contains information on artists, arts organisations, and related events. It also offers a network through which the contemporary arts community can communicate.

Aimed at giving talented local artists in the UAE national recognition, the UAE Pavilion design contest complemented the launch of the UAE Art Archive and invited submissions from UAE citizens and residents 18 years and over to create an artwork representative of the nation’s art scene for the banner image of the UAE Art Archive. Photographer Ozant Kamaci won the competition and received plane tickets for two to Venice plus hotel accommodation and the chance to experience the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Due to its resounding success, the UAE Pavilion has garnered extensive media presence for the duration of the six-month exhibition, with coverage from over 200 media outlets across the globe. The UAE Pavilion was initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Emirates Foundation, and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

UAE Pavilion

UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Universally recognized as the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event, the Venice Biennale will present its 53rd International Art Exhibition from June 7 through November 22, 2009. In recognition of the emergence of the UAE as a cultural hub, and of the historic importance of this first national pavilion to be created by a Gulf state, the Biennale has provided a large and highly visible site in the Arsenale for the UAE Pavilion.
Ministry of Culture, Youth & Community Development The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development was launched in 2006 to highlight the UAE's fast-growing community and thriving youths while not losing sight of its heritage and cultural scene.

The Ministry aims to revive the UAE's heritage by inspiring and encouraging the creative talents abundant among the youths of today. It is responsible for promoting and investing in the energies of young people, inspiring them and adding to their artistic abilities. In doing so, the Ministry has raised much awareness towards the community's cultural practices and in turn, has promoted innovation and enrichment of cultural communication. It is constantly working at creating an integral framework for providing detailed information regarding the country's culture, youth and community development. In addition, the Ministry also organises ongoing activities and develops mechanisms to secure the necessary support required to achieve its goals.

The Emirates Foundation The Emirates Foundation is one of the UAE’s foremost philanthropic organizations. It offers financial and technical support to projects that enrich the lives of people in the Emirates, particularly in the areas of youth development, knowledge creation, and national society and heritage.

The Foundation facilitates links between commercial businesses and the public sector to devise new projects and strengthen existing non profit initiatives throughout the country. Its funding comes from annual donations and an endowment fund supported by the Abu Dhabi government and private companies. Its six key areas of interest are Education; Science and Technology; Arts and Culture; Social Development; Environmental Awareness and Public Awareness.

Launched on April 12 2005 by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, its Board of Directors is chaired by H.H.Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs. Further information from:Emirates Foundation

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority was launched in March 2008 by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to highlight Dubai as a dynamic culture, heritage and arts centre.

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority aims to create, drive and support cultural strategies while preserving national identity. With a vision to create a vibrant Arabian, global city that shapes 21st Century culture and art in the region and the world, it will build upon Dubai’s status as a multicultural city, inspiring and encouraging its more than 200 resident nationalities to contribute to its culture and arts renaissance.

The Authority is responsible for developing best policies, institutional and regulatory framework and funding within the cultural industry of Dubai. It will create physical infrastructure to position Dubai as an overall culture, heritage and arts venue as well as increase awareness in cultural activities by initiating a robust dialogue with the public. It will nurture talent through development of culture, heritage and arts curricula in schools and through partnerships with leading educational institutions to attract artists and cultural professionals to Dubai and inspire local talent to travel abroad.

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