Majlis Talks by FOLIO

Curated by FOLIO, Alserkal's digital publication, Majlis Talks feature speakers from across the art, design, and architecture disciplines. 

Free and open to all however RSVP is necessary via eventbrite.


Wednesday, 6 November



Time | 8PM

Location | Concrete


Monday, 18 November



Two generations of Iraqi photographers in dialogue, as Latif Al Ani, the founding father of Iraqi photography, speaks with Tamara Abdul Hadi, co-founder of RAWIYA Collective.


Time | 4.30PM

Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58




Dayanita Singh pushes the boundaries of photographic practice with great care and attention to form and composition. Her mobile museum and book projects draw on an extensive archive of images from previous bodies of work. Hear her in conversation with Ishara Art Foundation’s Nada Raza.


Time | 5.30PM

Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58




The artist collective METASITU will discuss the notion of ruin, particularly in the Gulf region, and degrowth urbanism, in relation to the public art commission we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd


Time | 6.30PM

Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58


Wednesday, 20 November



Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia states: "In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together..." Moderated by Nazneen Shafi, regional coordinator GULF for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Director of d.Academy, The Young Architect and Design Programme, and panelists DIDI’s Hani Asfour, and ibda Design and National Pavilion UAE La Biennale de Venezia 2020 Curators Wael Alawar and Kenichi Teramoto will discuss how we can imagine these spaces.

Time | 5.30PM
Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58 

Wael Al Awar Bio
Wael Al Awar founded ibda design in 2009 after moving back to the Middle East from Tokyo. He has extensive experience in designing projects of various scales and programs, including art centres and parks, school and university campuses, mixed-use developments, private villas and mosques. With interests in natural phenomena, landscape and formless diagrams of relations, Wael has a multi-disciplinary approach to design and is always looking to challenge conventional processes to push the boundaries of design.

Kenichi Teramoto Bio
Kenichi Teramoto joined ibda design as a principal architect and partner to Wael Al Awar in 2012. Previously, Teramoto worked with renowned architects in Tokyo and Rotterdam, on local and international projects, building an extensive design experience in both Asia and Europe. His architectural design proficiency includes a diverse range of projects including art centres and parks, school and university campuses, mixed-use developments, private villas and mosques. Teramoto's working experiences have trained him to develop an understanding of culture, geography and materiality. His approach to design is multi-disciplinary, and he has a deep interest in natural phenomena and structure. He is always re-questioning the design approach with the aim of delivering a distinctive design.

Hani Asfour Bio
Hani Asfour is the Dean of  Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). He is an MIT and Harvard-trained architect with over 20 years of experience as a practicing designer. Prior to joining DIDI, he was an Adjunct Faculty at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Asfour was named one of the 45 most influential architects in MENA by Middle East Architect magazine, where he also won the 2017 award for best cultural building. Founding President of the Beirut Creative Cluster, advisor to Beirut Design Week, and Founding Partner of Polypod, an award-winning multidisciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon, Asfour is also a public speaker in many events, including his talk, Design Matters at TEDX Beirut

Nazneen R Shafi Bio
Nazneen R Shafi is the Executive Director of Engage ME, an education and culture consultancy and project management entity based in Dubai. With a background in Cultural Studies, Art History & Design, and International Relations, she spearheads projects related to strategic planning and execution of Master Plans including the development of new artistic directions, partnerships, and collaborations in the government and non-governmental sector including culture, cultural diplomacy, and education with institutions. As a consultant, she is responsible for several pioneering projects and initiatives related to education in the realm of culture, museums, stewardship, and management of art collections both private and corporate in the region. She is the Founder Director of the Young Architect and Design Programme, under the mentorship of The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, at the d. Academy space at Alserkal Avenue. She is also the Regional Co-Ordinator GULF for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and a nominator for the 2017-2019 Cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. She is a Committee Member for the Aga Khan Museum Toronto’s Global Patrons Program - Gulf and South Asia Chapter.


Majlis Talks | Reza Derakshani, in conversation with Rebecca Anne Proctor

The artist Reza Derakshani incorporates the forgotten tales and symbols of Iran's cultural heritage during a time when those very traditions are under threat. This conversation with former Harper’s Bazaar Art editor-in-chief Rebecca Anne Proctor will shine a light on Derakshani’s recent trip to Russia, its effect on his work, and the parallels he draws between Iranian and Russian culture in his latest body of work.

Time | 6.30PM
Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58


Reza Derakshani Bio
Born in 1952 in Sangsar, a small village in the North East of Iran, Reza Derakshani is a painter, musician and performance artist. Graduating from The University of Tehran in 1976, Derakshani continued his studies at Pasadena School of Art, going on to teach at the University of Tehran before leaving the country in 1986. His work is featured in many public art collections including the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Derakshani also performed as a musician at festivals such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He now divides his time between Dubai, UAE, and Austin, USA.

Rebecca Anne Proctor Bio
Rebecca Anne Proctor is the former Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Art and Harper’s Bazaar Interiors. Her writing has been published in The New York Times Style Magazine; Bloomberg Businessweek, Canvas, Artnet News, Frieze, BBC, Galerie, FOLIO, The National, ArtNews, and The Business of Fashion. She has also written several texts for books and catalogues on Middle Eastern art and culture. Proctorobtained her M. Litt from Christie's London in Modern and Contemporary Art Historyafter which she worked at Gagosian Gallery before moving to Paris to pursue a double MA in Middle Eastern Studies and Conflict Resolution from the American University of Paris, and a Master’s in Sociologie des Conflits (Sociology of Conflicts) from the L’Institut Catholique.


Majlis Talk | What is the role of the artist in society?
In the context of shifting definitions surrounding the role that the artist plays in nation building and place-making, Stephen Hobbs (Director of Johannesburg’s The Trinity Session) and Laila Binbrek (Coordinating Director of the National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia) unpack insights that reflect on current trends and possible futures.
Time | 7.30PM
Location | Majlis, Warehouse 58

Laila Binbrek Bio
Laila Binbrek is the Coordinating Director of the National Pavilion UAE, which presents the United Arab Emirates’ annual exhibition at the Venice Biennale. She has worked to set the pavilion’s ongoing strategy and vision in collaboration with its commissioner, the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and manages its operations and team. Additionally, she oversees the development of the Venice Internship, a training program that to date has sent around 200 interns to Venice as ambassadors for the UAE and its rich culture. Laila has significant experience within the region’s cultural industry. Before joining the National Pavilion UAE, she spent 6 years at The Third Line, one of Dubai’s leading contemporary art galleries, where as gallery director she worked to develop a platform for MENASA artists from across the region. Prior to that, Laila managed the Art Centre at the Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC), with the goal of promoting community engagement within the local community of the UAE.


Stephen Hobbs Bio
Since 1994, Johannesburg has served as a critical reference point for Stephen Hobbs’ artistic and curatorial insights into the apartheid city turned African city - with a particular interest in the impact of defensive urban planning and architecture on the behavioural aspects of city and society. The resultant urban decay that develops in such conditions evolved Hobbs' practice into consultative processes on the role of art in public space relative to urban renewal and place making initiatives commissioned by the city. Hobbs’ near 10 year relationship with David Krut Projects has broadened his artistic repertoire through print making, book making and publishing. In addition David Krut Projects New York has produced a variety of Hobbs’ talks, presentations and workshops in numerous Universities and Institutions through-out the USA. Stephen Hobbs was the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries (Johannesburg) from 1994 to 2000, Co-Director of the purpose-built Gallery Premises (2004-2008) at the Joburg Theatre. Since 2001, he has co-directed the artist collaborative and public art consultancy – The Trinity Session. And since 2004 has co-produced a range of multi-medium urban and network-focused projects with Marcus Neustetter, under the collaborative name Hobbs/Neustetter. In 2017, Hobbs joined the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, as Unit Leader and resident critic.