A new 10,000 square metre arts centre will open on Dubai Creek at the end of next year. The Jameel Arts Centre is set to be a non-profit contemporary art institution housing a gallery space, research centre, sculpture garden, library, artist studios and a roof terrace with event capacity.
Its size and scale mean it will contribute vastly to the art scene already existing in the UAE, providing much needed resource for artists of many disciplines.
“We hope it will greatly enhance the cultural landscape of the city,” says Antonia Carver, the director of Art Jameel. “Dubai is known around the world as a commercial hub but now for the first time the city will have an open access, contemporary, cultural institution.”
In the library, there will be books, magazines, digital resources and international texts as well as extensive materials on the art history of the UAE and the GCC. Carver says that they will also be funding the production of archivical and historical texts and documents to “ensure recovery and creation of art history, which will in a way, protest against forgetting.”
There will be regular artist residencies hosted at the centre, for writers and researchers as well as artists and an ongoing programme of exhibitions. This programming will begin immediately in the Art Jameel Project Space in Alserkal Avenue, which will act as an interim space until the centre opens at the end of 2018.
“When the centre opens, it will not only be a milestone for Art Jameel but a major milestone for the local art scene as well as, having a great regional impact,” she says.
In addition to the art centre announcement, Art Jameel also unveiled a new partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (The Met), where they will fund acquisitions of Middle Eastern art for the American museums permanent collection. To date, these include video and photographic works by the Egyptian artist Maha Maamoun.
Clare Davies, the assistant curator of Middle Eastern, North African, and Turkish art at The Met says this is a crucial relationship.
“What is important about this partnership is that Art Jameel are really helping us to launch a core collection of works from the region within The Met but I am also personally happy this is being supported by a regional institution because for me it is central to not only have those pieces of art but to have relationships with the region.”
She added that when considering acquisitions, she will be looking back over the past 150 years at artists who are necessary to tell the story of the region.