I’m about to start a FIND fellowship at New York University Abu Dhabi called ‘Searching for Ancient Arabia’ and I’m looking for artists, curators, critics and scholars to participate in this research project.
Searching for Ancient Arabia is a research project performed by artists and cultural scholars/researchers based in the UAE and the region. The artists explore the ancient cultural heritage of the Arabian peninsula from the perspective of current cultural challenges, while the scholars and researchers provide input for the artists and comment on their work. The process of dialogue and research will be fully documented online. The project will result in exhibitions of the work and the process in Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam and Paris, public presentations in the UAE and an online discussion forum.
This project is inspired by the surprising absence of Ancient Arabia in contemporary culture and self-perception among Gulf Arabs. I wish to work with artists on retrieving the rich aesthetics of the ancient Arabian civilizations (Dilmun, South Arabia, Nabataeans etc) guided by the question: what can be gained by establishing a dialogue with this past? With scholars and researchers I hope to provide more depth to the explorations of the artists and provide the required handles to engage a wider audience in the UAE and the region in this discussion about its past.
I’m looking for the following kind of participants based in the UAE or the region, to help me accomplish this research and work towards the exhibitions:
- Confimed artists with an interest in this topic, used to doing research
- Scholars and students of art, history, cultural studies, architecture and design
- Emirati archaeologists
- Curators and art critics interested in this topic
If you are interested please let me know (contact details can be found on this website). I plan to put together the research team early February so let me know before then!
The research project will run from early February to early May 2014, and comprise the following activities:
- Field trips with Emirati and other archaeologists, in the UAE and Oman in Feb.
- A seminar/workshop for the research team members in Feb.
- Discussions with the art community (for example Campus Art Dubai) and scholars and students (at NYU) in Feb and March.
- Personal guidance by me for each individual team member throughout the program.
- A public event to discuss the results of the research program in May.
Output will include a dynamic website to reach out to interested communities and host an online exhibition, and physical exhibitions of the work in Abu Dhabi, Paris and Amsterdam during 2014.