Alserkal Avenue to celebrate art, design, and architecture during November through special exhibitions, public art commissions and more, as part of a UAE-wide discourse

Alserkal Avenue to celebrate art, design, and architecture during November through special exhibitions, public art commissions and more, as part of a UAE-wide discourse

(Image credit: METASITU, we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd, inspiration image, courtesy the artists and Alserkal Arts Foundation)

November in Alserkal Avenue
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai

Dubai’s leading cultural district will celebrate the crossroads of art, design, and architecture during November in Alserkal Avenue, a month of curated public programming in keeping with a UAE-wide focus on design and architecture, including the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial and Dubai Design Week.

Alserkal Avenue invites audiences to delve into the rich confluence of art, design, and architecture through groundbreaking original programming, including:

  • The landmark exhibition Is This Tomorrow?, a collaboration between Alserkal Arts Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery, which will be presented in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture shortlisted building Concrete, and will showcase five interdisciplinary installations that offer speculative visions of the future through pairings between leading artists and architects, including a site-specific installation by Rana Begum and Aga Khan Award for Architecture winner Marina Tabassum;

  • we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd, an Alserkal Arts Foundation public art commission in the warehouse formerly known as Nadi Al Quoz by urban collective METASITU;

  • Absolem, an inaugural design commission by Jeddah-based Bricklab studio that will transform the public realm of Alserkal Avenue;

  • A programme of Majlis Talks curated by FOLIO, Alserkal’s digital publication, featuring speakers from across the art, design, and architecture disciplines; 
  • Temporary Spaces: Exchanges in Art, Architecture and Photography in the UAE, South Asia and Beyond, a symposium exploring critical perspectives on shared histories, ongoing exchanges, and connections, organised by Alserkal Arts Foundation and Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, in collaboration with Ishara Art Foundation;

  • New art exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue’s contemporary art galleries and not-for-profit foundations: 1x1 Art Gallery, Ayyam Gallery, Carbon 12, Custot Gallery Dubai, Elmarsa Gallery, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise, Ishara Art Foundation, Lawrie Shabibi, Leila Heller Gallery, Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, Showcase Gallery, SVENM, and The Third Line.

Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal, says “As Alserkal, we continue to actively participate in the UAE’s cultural dialogue both from the heart of our cultural district Alserkal Avenue, and as Alserkal Arts Foundation by curating an experimental programme at the crossroads of art, architecture and design for both our local community and international audiences.”

All activities are free and open to the public. Full details are below.

Symposium | Temporary Spaces: Exchanges in Art, Architecture and Photography in the UAE, South Asia and Beyond
1 November, 10AM – 6.30PM

Alserkal Arts Foundation Project Space

Organised by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational and Alserkal Arts Foundation in collaboration with Ishara Art Foundation, invited speakers, including scholars and practitioners from the MEASA and beyond will discuss critical perspectives on shared histories, ongoing exchanges, and connections.

The symposium will look at the rapid growth of the city and its impact on artistic practice through the work of artists, architects, photographers, filmmakers and scholars whose research encompasses urban development and transnational exchanges from the 20th century to the present. Participants will share regional perspectives on cities and the representation of urban space, particularly in the visual arts, and how these contribute to, and reflect upon the complex and on-going making of place and identity.


Public art commission | we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away_FINALFINAL3.psd by METASITU
6 November – 25 January 2020

Warehouse 90

In this public art commission presented by Alserkal Arts Foundation, METASITU, an artist collective (and former residents of Alserkal Residency) is inviting the sand back in. METASITU will transform the building previously known as Nadi Al Quoz into a ruin. In an attempt to return the building’s materials to their ‘original state’, different parts will be repurposed and reused. In the spring of 2020, the space will be further deconstructed into a landscaped environment for the public.


Exhibition | Is This Tomorrow?
6-23 November, 10AM – 7PM

Alserkal Arts Foundation brings the landmark exhibition Is This Tomorrow? to Concrete from 6-23 November in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London. The exhibition, curated by Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, responds to timely contemporary issues and offers speculative visions of the future through five pairings between leading artists and architects, including a new site-specific commission by visual artist Rana Begum and architect Marina Tabassum, winner of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, which will be unveiled in The Yard.

The interdisciplinary installations, environments, and pavilions by Amalia Pica and 6a, Cao Fei and mono office, Mariana Castillo Deball and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum Architects, and Hardeep Pandhal and APPARATA reveal the expansive potential of collaboration between art and architecture, in line with the wider November programme in Alserkal Avenue.

Rana Begum and Marina Tabassum will collaborate on a new iteration of Phoenix Will Rise, originally presented at Whitechapel. The installation is ‘focused on hope’ and will be created specifically for The Yard in Alserkal Avenue. Tabassum says: “It is a place of refuge - a space for reflection - contemplation. The highlight of the installation is Rana Begum’s beautiful art piece around the central oculus that catches the light and frames the sky. The architecture builds around it to create a setting and atmosphere of repose, all the while appropriating the context of Alserkal Avenue.”

Begum, who is represented by The Third Line in Alserkal Avenue, says: “We live in a world where the boundaries between disciplines are increasingly blurred, and where technology enables us to connect with each other wherever we are. This collaboration is exciting because it pushes boundaries in a playful way, while simultaneously inviting the viewer to consider space in relation to location and existing elements. I have found it interesting to engage with Marina Tabassum’s vision and experience of space, form, colour and light.”


Majlis Talks by FOLIO
6, 18, 20, 21 November
Full schedule to be released soon.


Design commission | Absolem by Bricklab
11 November 2019 – 1 November 2020
Alserkal Avenue Pedestrian Entrance (Street 6A)
Jeddah-based architects Turki and Abdulrahman Gazzaz of Bricklab studio have been commissioned by Alserkal Avenue, to create an intervention to coincide with Dubai Design Week. Located at the Pedestrian Entrance of Alserkal Avenue (from Street 6A), the design will transform how the public interacts with the physical environment through a “synthetic intervention that funnels visitors through”.

Bricklab tackles the entrance as though it were “the threshold to a French formal garden -  a spatial construct that emphasises a position of apprehension and meticulous control found in the composition of an 18th century allée”. A glossy metallic grid, lined with plastic trees, constructs a forced one-point perspective for the public. By manipulating this perspective, the designers challenge the collapsibility of experience into a single, two-dimensional image, and highlight our multisensory comprehension of space.


Galleries Night
18 November

6PM – 10PM

The contemporary art galleries will open their latest exhibitions, and the creative concepts in Alserkal Avenue stay open late.

New exhibitions include:

1 x 1 Art Gallery

Madhusudhanan | Gandhi - Between Borders 

Ayyam Gallery
Faisal Samra | Thriving Emotions - Immortal Moment 

Carbon 12
Amba Sayal-Bennett | Every Line Makes a Cut

Custot Gallery Dubai
Group exhibition | Tales of Thread

Elmarsa Gallery
Atef Maatallah | Les bruissements de la pierre (The rustling of the stone)

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
Latif Al Ani | Vetera Novis Augere 

Green Art Gallery
Chaouki Choukini | Solo exhibition

Grey Noise
Iqra Tanveer | Letters from the seventh cave 

Ishara Art Foundation
Group exhibition | Body Building

Lawrie Shabibi
Hamra Abbas | Open Cube 

Leila Heller Gallery

Jean-Paul Najar Foundation
Group exhibition | Building Bauhaus

Showcase Gallery
Group exhibition | Between Me and the Stone


The Third Line
Anuar Khalifi | Forever Is A Current Event
Collaboration with Kazim Rashid, presenting his film Nothing Looks the Same at Night




Press enquiries:

Rania Habib

+97150 100 1105


About Alserkal
Founded by Emirati businessman and patron, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, in 2007, Alserkal is a socially responsible cultural enterprise, which is deeply engaged with the arts locally, regionally and internationally. Through Alserkal Avenue, its renowned cultural district of contemporary art galleries, non-profit organisations and homegrown businesses, Alserkal has cultivated a creative economy in Dubai, supporting cultural production and spearheading disruptive business models, including the OMA-designed Concrete, a state-of-the-art exhibitions and alternative space. In addition, Alserkal supports public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes through its non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation.


About Alserkal Avenue
Established in 2008 by Alserkal, Alserkal Avenue is a renowned cultural district of contemporary art galleries, non-profit organisations and homegrown businesses in the Al Quoz industrial area of Dubai. Alserkal Avenue is a vibrant community of visual and performing arts organisations, designers, and artisanal spaces that have become an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates. As one of the region’s foremost platforms for contemporary art, Alserkal Avenue provides cultural experiences for local, regional and international audiences. Alserkal Avenue features Concrete, a multi-disciplinary space conceptualised and programmed by Alserkal.

Concrete was inaugurated in 2017 as the first building in the UAE to be completed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas, and is an adaptable venue whose ability to metamorphose to bring creative visions to life makes it suitable for international, museum-grade exhibitions as well as events across art, design, fashion and the performing arts. Concrete was shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.


About Alserkal Arts Foundation
The Alserkal Arts Foundation supports socially engaged, multi-disciplinary practices and facilitates cross-cultural exchange through its four core initiatives: public art commissions, residencies, research grants and educational programmes. The Foundation offers cultural practitioners – either based in Dubai, or whose practice critically investigates themes pertinent to the region's artistic community – opportunities for research, scholarship, and artistic production. All of Alserkal Arts Foundation’s activities are supported by Alserkal, an Emirati family business spearheaded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.