The chance to intern with the National Pavilion UAE at the Venice Biennale is one of the best opportunities available to young arts enthusiasts interested in a career in curating (and it’s not bad if you just want to experience Italy, or the Biennale, or interaction with a particular kind of public). Applications for next year’s programme have just opened.
The internship offers training opportunities to UAE residents with an interest in arts and architecture; selected interns spend a month in Venice staffing the UAE’s exhibition at the 16th Biennale, which runs from 26 May to 25 November.
Interns get hands-on experience overseeing the daily operation of the exhibition. They also take part in an educational programme run in partnership with Venice-based Ca’ Foscari University and other cultural institutions in the UAE and Venice.
The Venice Internship program is open to Emiratis and long-term residents of the UAE aged 21 and above (so not just national citizens). Applications should be made via the National Pavilion UAE’s website before 3 December.
More than 150 interns have taken part in the Venice Internship over the years, according to Laila Binbrek, Co-ordinating Director for the National Pavilion UAE. “We are very proud to see how many of them have pursued successful careers in the UAE’s leading cultural institutions, including Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Art Foundation and Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. Others have gone on to become working artists and architects themselves, including 2013 intern Sara Al Haddad, whose artworks are included in the UAE’s current Biennale exhibition, Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play. As the UAE continues to develop into a global centre for arts and culture, demand is rising for skilled professionals in the sector.
Sara Al Haddad (left) turns out to be a great advertisement for the programme: “Being accepted as an intern with the National Pavilion UAE in 2013 was one of the defining moments in my journey towards a career as an artist,” she said. “Participating in the Venice Internship gave me valuable exposure to the art industry beyond the UAE’s borders, and encouraged me to really explore my creative and professional skills.
“Because it offers training, teaching and mentoring, the internship is a wonderful platform for young adults who are passionate about the arts or architecture to see what careers in creative fields are really like. The program provides a unique and very special experience.”
Incidentally, Sara Al Haddad contributed three crocheted textile installations to this year’s show, two of them new commissions: don’t you ever leave me alone, a hanging screen, and can’t you see how i feel, which Haddad sheaths one of the black steel pillars supporting the pavilion in different sized layers of pink yarn – towards the back in the overview pic below.
The current Venice Biennale runs until 26 November. The ongoing exhibition at the National Pavilion UAE, titled Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play, presents the work of five UAE-based artists: Nujoom Alghanem, Vikram Divecha, Lantian Xie and Mohamed Yousif as well as Sara Al Haddad. Curated by Hammad Nasar, the exhibition explores the theme of playfulness in artistic practice as a source of vitality and inspiration, and a mode of experimentation with movement, sociality, times and places.
The National Pavilion UAE is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.