18 November 2021

Conversations at Warehouse421

18 November 2021 | Part of Stepping Away: Performance as Practice in the Non-West

Join us at Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi, where the first set of conversations around performance practice and its multiple histories in the region bring together three sets of dialogues.

Starts 5:00 pm

Ends 8:00 pm

Venue Off-Site


Each conversation sets out specific positions based on practice, drawing together artists, curators, writers and researchers who share concerns around the modes in which performance and performativity is framed, received and archived.

These dialogues and responses will inform our ongoing enquiry, leading to a more expansive public symposium in 2022.


Nada Raza and Mays Albaik

5.00 PM | Embodiment/Appearance

Sarah Ibrahim

Cristiana de Marchi

Q&A in conversation with Nora Razian

6.00 PM | Time/Positions

Reem Shadid

Nadine Khalil

Q&A in conversation with Mahnaz Fancy

7.00 PM | Presence/Defiance

Dina Akhmadeeva & Adomas Narkevičius

Saira Ansari

Q&A in conversation with Sabih Ahmed


Mays Albaik is a Palestinian artist with an interdisciplinary practice, and the Program Manager at Warehouse421, a creative center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In her practice, she explores the triangulation of place, body, and language through video, sculpture, and installation next to expanding into collaborative methods of art production. At Warehouse421, she focuses on researching, setting, and executing the broader vision for programs that prioritize the needs of the creative community, while working towards a horizontal approach to institutional operation. Mays holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BArch from the American University of Sharjah.

Nada Raza is a curator and researcher with a focus on South and West Asia. She was the founding Artistic Director of the Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai, where she curated Altered Inheritance: Home is a Foreign Place with Shilpa Gupta and Zarina Hashmi, and Body Building, a thematic exhibition of lens-based work, both in 2019. Prior to this, Raza was Research Curator at Tate Research Centre: Asia, with a particular focus on South Asia. Raza co-curated Bhupen Khakhar: You Can't Please All (2016), and organised displays of work by international artists including Meshac Gaba, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Zarina Hashmi, Sheela Gowda, Amar Kanwar and Mrinalini Mukherjee. She was guest curator of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (2014) and curated a thematic exhibition, The Missing One, for the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh and the Office for Contemporary Art in Norway (2016). She has also worked on international art at the Institute for International Visual Art (Iniva) and at Green Cardamom in London. She holds an MA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and is a doctoral candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Sarah Ibrahim is a Saudi artist living in Riyadh. Sarah Brahim is a visual and performance artist interested in experiences of the body. Her work is rooted in experiences of the body such as identity, loss, borders, and migration. Studying gestures of the body to form languages that can be used to voice narratives of themes such as grief, home, language, metamorphosis, and our relationship to the natural world. She grew up studying, choreographing, performing, and teaching all styles of dance going on to train at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and in 2016 she graduated from London Contemporary Dance School with a BFA (Hons).

Cristiana de Marchi (b. Italy) is an Italian-Lebanese visual artist and writer who lives and works in Beirut and Dubai. She received her MFA with honours in Archaeology from The University of Turin, Italy and is currently a PhD candidate in the Artistic Research Programme at the University of applied Arts, Vienna. Her practice explores social and political terrains, from memory, places of the past and present, identity and contested borders to the paraphernalia of contemporary nationhood. Using textiles, embroidery, film and performance, she instigates processes that draw attention to currencies of power by exploring their structures.

Nora Razian is the Head of Exhibitions at the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai where she has curated solo presentations by Mounira Al Solh, Farah Al Qasimi and Chiharu Shiota. She oversaw the Jameel’s 2018 opening program of exhibitions and publications. Previous roles include Head of Programs and Exhibitions at the Sursock Museum, Beirut, and Curator of Public Programs at the Tate, London. She has an MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics from Goldsmiths College, London, where she also designed and taught the MA course Critical Pedagogy in Contested Space at the Centre for Arts and Learning. She has curated several solo and group exhibitions, including I will return, and I will be millions as part of Homeworks 8, Beirut in 2019, Phantom Limb at the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai in 2019 and Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis in 2016 and 2018 at the Sursock Museum, Beirut and the Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou.

Reem Shadid is an art and cultural organizer and curator, she is the producer and host of Radio Alhara’s show Listening with Reem Shadid; a monthly listening session with artists, researchers and curators working at the intersection of sonic, visual and literary productions. She is also a contributing editor at Infrasonica, a digital platform of non-western cultures. Working at the intersection of socio-economic forms, the imaginary and emancipatory possibilities of artistic practice she co-organizes Exit Plans; collective bi-monthly assemblies that put into question what kind of relations, structures and habits we seek to exit and which ones we would like to engender. Previously, she was the Deputy Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, where she served in various capacities, focusing mainly on organizing, managing and producing the Sharjah Biennial from 2006-2020.

Nadine Khalil is an independent arts writer, researcher, curator and content specialist. After a decade-long stint in art publishing, she is currently advising art institutions such as the Ishara Art Foundation, Goethe-Institut and the NYUAD Arts Center on editorial strategy and content development. She is former editor of Dubai-based contemporary art magazine, Canvas (2017-2020) and Beirut-based magazines A mag and Bespoke (2010-2016). Her writing can be found in Art Agenda, Art Review, The Art Newspaper, Artsy, Brooklyn Rail, FT, Ocula and the Women’s Review of Books. She has authored a series of artist monographs (Paroles d'Artistes) on Lebanese artists Samir Sayegh, Hanibal Srouji and the late filmmaker Jocelyne Saab, and curated video art for European film festivals such as MidEast Cut and the Arab Independent Film Festival.

Mahnaz Fancy is a Cultural Critic raised in Karachi, Paris, Abu Dhabi and New York with over 15 years of experience in leading nonprofit institutions. After pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago that concentrated on colonialism and aesthetics, she launched several initiatives for supporting contemporary arts communities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Most recently, she served as Executive Director of ArteEast, the leading US-based organization in the field. Working closely with local, regional, and international stakeholders from philanthropic, academic, and creative sectors, Fancy has organized exhibitions, festivals, conferences, professional workshops, and public educational programs. She continues to write and speak on regional arts and their social impact in an interconnected world.

Dina Akhmadeeva is a London-based art historian, writer and curator. She is Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern, London where she works on exhibitions and displays, as well as on acquisitions into the collection with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Her recent independent projects include Baltic Triennial 13 (Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga, 2018), the exhibition Avoidance at Futura, Prague (2021), and the sound programme In the mouths of others as part of the exhibition EURASIA: a Landscape of Mutability at M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (2021-22), a research project which connects to her ongoing research within the space of Eurasia and concentrates on the artistic mobilisation of the somatic, the communal and the ancestral through sonic practices. She holds a BA and Master’s in History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council Master’s Scholarship and the Association for Art History Postgraduate Dissertation Prize. She has contributed to numerous publications, including Tate Etc and Cura Books.

Adomas Narkevičius is a Lithuanian curator and art historian based in London and Vilnius, and the Associate Curator at Cell Project Space, London. He is interested in nonlinear aspects of historical time as well as the body, sexuality, and the limits of representation. His current research focuses on the notion of the untimely artwork to reconsider the ‘belatedness’ of twentieth-century art in the Baltics and the broader non-West. In 2020, his MA dissertation ‘Defiant Bodies: Untimely Art in the Baltics Under Soviet Rule’ at UCL, London, was awarded the Oxford Art Journal Prize. He also holds a BA in Philosophy from Vilnius University. Between 2017 and 2019, Adomas Narkevičius was a Curator at Rupert Centre for Art, Residencies and Education, running the Alternative Education Programme for emerging art practitioners as well as curating the Public and Residencies programmes. In 2016, he initiated Rupert’s Reading Room and Live Art programming. Among his recent curatorial projects are groups exhibitions ‘Authority Incorporeal’ at Rupert, part of the 14th Baltic Triennial; ‘Avoidance’ at FUTURA, Prague (co-curated with Dina Akhmadeeva); international symposium ‘Enacting Knowledges’ at KAH (co-curated with Vaida Stepanovaitė), the JCDecaux Emerging Artist Award at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (with Monika Kalinauskaitė). He is a member of the experimental pop band Without Letters.

Saira Ansari is an independent writer and researcher who employs creative non-fiction to think about art practice and criticism, feminist histories, gardens, grief, science fiction, and South Asia and its real and imagined peripheries. Ansari has served as a Contributing Editor (Art) for South Asian literary journal Papercuts; Managing Editor of Art in the Age of Anxiety (Sharjah Art Foundation/Mörel Books, 2020), and monographs of Abbas Akhavan (SKIRA/Works on Paper, 2018) and Pouran Jinchi (Akkadia Press/Works on Paper, 2019); and as Arts Correspondent at The Rio Times (2010). Ansari works in Publications and Research at the Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE) and coordinates artist books and catalogues, as well as the FOCAL POINT art book fair. Previously, Ansari was the Director of Communications at The Third Line, Dubai.

Sabih Ahmed is an independent researcher and curator. He was formerly a Researcher at Asia Art Archive where he led the organisation’s research initiatives pertaining to modern and contemporary art in India from 2009 to 2019. Ahmed’s recent curatorial projects include “In the Open or In Stealth” (2018-19) curated by Raqs Media Collective in MACBA, Barcelona, where he worked as a Curatorial Collegiate member, and ‘Solarised’ (2019) at the Chobi Mela-X in Dhaka where he served as Curatorial Advisor. In 2016, he worked as a member of the Curatorial Collegiate of the 11th Shanghai Biennale curated by Raqs Media Collective. Ahmed has served as a Visiting Faculty in Ambedkar University’s School of Culture and Creative Expression, Delhi, from 2014 to 2019. His recent writings have been published by Mousse Publications, The Whitworth, and Oncurating.