Art Jameel has launched a commissioning programme based on the Jameel Arts Centre, its forthcoming contemporary arts institution in Dubai (currently being built in Jadaf, on the south side of Dubai Creek, and due to open in winter 2018: architects’ render above). The programme runs as a three-year sequence, cycling between sculpture (2018); a research and lecture series (2019); and drawing and painting (2020).
Each commission will play a central role in the Jameel Arts Centre’s programming and is expected to embrace the Jameel Arts Centre’s aims of being a multidisciplinary, exploratory space appealing to a broad local, regional and international audience. Art Jameel Commissions aim to support artists in the development of their practice, and to enable audiences to connect with works outside of the gallery space.
The sculpture commission is themed around the medium of light, but the medium could be just a starting point – “envisaging the genre in its widest sense”. Art Jameel says “the work should have the capacity to push one’s understanding of the role of light in a dynamic, nocturnal city such as Dubai, and the ways in which artists and architects have embraced the medium”. So artists who have not previously worked with light as a medium are encouraged to apply.
The work will be installed at the Jameel Arts Centre initially, though it may travel. Ideally it should work well during daylight hours as well as at night, and it should “create an added visual and conceptual dimension to the Centre”.
Applicants can be from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey – and indeed could be anyone from anywhere else if they have links to the wider ‘Middle East region’ and “a meaningful understanding” of it. You must have had some experience of working to commission in the public realm, and a track record of meeting budgets and deadlines would be useful …
The deadline for submissions is 21 November. Initially Art Jameel wants to see an outline proposal with concept drawing and a draft budget. All proposals will be considered by the jury, and it will select a shortlist of three proposals that will each get $500 for more detailed concept drawings and budgeting.
The jurors will then select a winning commission from the three shortlisted artists. The winning commission gets a $70,000 production budget, which includes the artist’s fee; Art Jameel will provide engineering and architectural advice, transportation of the work, installation and art handling, and the artist’s travel and accommodation during the installation.
The jury includes some big names: writer/ curator Shumon Basar, curator/art historian Reem Fadda; Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi from Sharjah Art Foundation; James Lingwood, co-director of Artangel, the London-based arts organisation that has commissioned and produced a string of notable site-specific works; and Elvira Dyangani Ose from Creative Time, a kind of New York equivalent. There will also be Art Jameel people on the panel, presumably including its director Antonia Carver.
It may still be new to Dubai, but Art Jameel has a long track record of working with artists to produce and exhibit works for the public realm. In collaboration with Jeddah Municipality, for example, Art Jameel founded an open-air museum, restoring and showcasing 20 major sculptures in a public park on the Corniche in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; recent new commissions include a major outdoor work by Maha Malluh.