Commission
22 September 2021–31 March 2022

Homecoming | A space for you

22 September 2021–31 March 2022 | Part of Alserkal Art Week

Welcoming audiences back to Alserkal Avenue for the fall season, the celebratory intervention Homecoming takes over Alserkal Avenue from September 2021 to March 2022.

Starts 22 September 2021

Ends 31 March 2022

Venue Alserkal Avenue

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The project launches with three works by Artist Lakwena Maciver: Lift You Higher and Just Passing Through, which appear at the pedestrian entrance, while The Best is Yet to Come embellishes the outer facade on the corner of 17th Street and First Al Khail Street.

Homecoming | A space for you is Curator Janine Gaëlle Dieudji's (France/Cameroon) response to Alserkal Arts Foundation’s invitation to reinvigorate our public realm. The series, featuring works by Lakwena Maciver (UK), Kameelah Janan Rasheed (USA) and Augustine Paredes (Philippines/UAE), deploys the power of language through the capacity of text-based artworks to inhabit physical and psychological space, generating a collective experience while acknowledging the importance of identity and self-recognition.

Lakwena Maciver

“I like to create dazzling imagery”, says Lakwena Maciver when asked about the aesthetic behind her work.

Eye-catching and celebratory, Lakwena’s multilingual flags Nothing Can Separate Us transform our public space with a positive message of collectivity, welcoming local and international communities in the UAE. London-based artist Lakwena’s name means “messenger” in the northern Ugandan language Acholi, and she takes up the gauntlet to create synergy between word, cultures and colour through uplifting messages. Through bold, large scale interventions, she playfully evokes the power of positivity, togetherness and joyfulness. Inspired by pop culture, music, spiritual verses, and affirmations as well as traditional ornamentation, Lakwena uses words as icons and turns them into memorable graphic slogans, an accessible and generous invitation for collective empowerment and renewed aspiration.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed defines herself as “a learner” and in doing so invites us to reflect upon our own position in relation to the consistently unfinished task of learning and unlearning. Her works are a collage and remix of fragmented texts, archival sources, and visual indicators that grapple with the cognitive tendency to seek and perceive notions of clarity in our reading and re-reading.

The window installation on Alserkal Avenue’s facade Are we reading closely? and the mural Having abandoned the flimsy fantasy of certainty, I decided to wander. ask us to reflect upon proximity and comprehension.

The act of reading is always accompanied by a sense of guesswork in relation to the meanings of words, as we understand them through the context in which we find them, as well as the context and experience of our own beings as embodied readers. The artist invites us to shift our distance to the work and to words, and to reconsider all that we have read or learnt in the past as in need of a closer and more attentive reading.

The distilling of these works into the words themselves is in keeping with the artist’s interest in revisions, restatements, re-readings and re-assessments as a “public ritual” carried out both by artist and viewer. The relative quickness with which we can take in the textual information of these installations is troubled by the artworks’ invitation to slow down and activate the archive embedded in our memories. It is an invitation to pause and take the time to read deeper, to engage in the infinite temporal spectrum of learning.

Augustine Paredes

Buffet

2021, Reproduced image, originally acrylic on canvas

Buffet is a part of Augustine Paredes’ series of paintings entitled Amalgamation of Tenderness. In Buffet, the artist explores what it means to celebrate in the midst of colorful chaos; writing, “to grow in pain is a rebelling celebration.”

A Poem, A Garden

A Poem, A Garden is an installation inspired by poetic free verse, where the artist has planted steel stems, each carrying a line from a poem. Each fragment, which he considers a seed, is accompanied by dangling charms that represent light, safety, strength, and belonging as they catch the wind and light. You are invited to start and finish reading the poem in multiple ways, creating your own narrative through an imagined maze, freely connecting the verses.

As part of Homecoming, Augustine has invited the two artists Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Lakwena Maciver, and curator Janine Gaëlle Dieudji, to contribute their verses to the garden.

Click here to watch Augustine's full performance during the 11 December 2021 Jubilee celebrations.

Augustine Paredes

A Poem, A Garden and Buffet

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Lakwena Maciver

Nothing Can Separate Us

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Are we reading closely?

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Having abandoned the flimsy fantasy of certainty, I decided to wander.

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Lakwena Maciver

The Best is Yet to Come

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Lakwena Maciver

Lift you Higher

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Lakwena Maciver

Just Passing Through

Installation shot at Alserkal Avenue

Dubai, 2021

Biographies

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji is currently Exhibitions Director at the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakesh (Morocco). As a cultural activist and multilocal, at MACAAL she’s committed to building an inclusive museum, through the curation and production of exhibitions, as well as educational programs and artists residencies. A native of France and Cameroon, Janine moved to Florence (Italy) in 2011 and has gained a broad range of experience in arts and culture over the years.

Experiences include exhibitions and projects in collaboration with Le Murate Art District, American Academy in Rome, Villa Romana, Gallerie degli Uffizi as Co-director and Vice-President of the cultural association BHMF (Black History Month Florence).

Lakwena means ‘messenger of the chief’ in the northern Ugandan language Acholi. Born in 1986, her name is reflected in her artistic practice, which is concerned with messages. Utilising bright colour and bold text, her eye-catching paintings explore and gently subvert ideas relating to decolonisation, redemption, escapism, afrofuturism, and utopia.

Currently based in London, her work has been shown internationally in cities including London, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and more. Perhaps best known for her murals, her work has also appeared in public spaces from Tate Britain, Somerset House, Facebook and the Southbank Centre in London, to the Bowery Wall in New York, a juvenile detention centre in Arkansas and a monastery in Vienna.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed was born in East Palo Alto, CA. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Rasheed has a MA in Secondary Social Studies Education from Stanford University (2008), a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College (2006), and was an Amy Biehl U.S. Fulbright Scholar - South Africa at the University of Witwatersrand (2006-7). A learner, Rasheed’s work grapples with the poetics, politics, and pleasures of the unfinished. Engaging primarily with text, Rasheed works on the page, on computer screens, on walls, and in public spaces.

Rasheed’s work has been exhibited nationally at the Brooklyn Museum; New Museum; MASSMoCA; Queens Museum; Bronx Museum; Studio Museum in Harlem; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; Institute of Contemporary Art - Philadelphia; Jack Shainman Gallery; Brooklyn Public Library; Brooklyn Historical Society, among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally at NOME; Transmission Gallery; Kunsthalle Wien; Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche; Contemporary Art Gallery-Vancouver; Artspace Peterborough; 2017 Venice Biennial; and National Gallery of Zimbabwe, among others. Her public installations include Ballroom Marfa, Brooklyn Museum, For Freedoms x Times Square Art, Public Art Fund, Moody Center for the Arts, The California Air Resources Board, and several others.

Rasheed is the author of three artist’s books, An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019), No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019) and Scoring the Stacks (digital publication - Brooklyn Public Library, BPL Presents, 2021). Her writing including longform essays and interviews have appeared in Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry, Shift Space, Active Cultures and is forthcoming in the November issue of The Believer.

She is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts.

Augustine Paredes is a Filipino artist and photographer based in Dubai. Augustine’s lyrical, contemporary, and sensuous visual narratives are derived from his many-storied travels, South East Asian consciousness, and queer gaze. He is an alumna of SEAF, Campus Art Dubai, and International Summer School of Photography, and has been exhibited internationally including the Philippines, Malaysia, Latvia, Australia, USA and the United Arab Emirates.

He is a co-founder of Sa Tahanan Collective along with Anna Bernice, he aims to help and create a platform for Filipino art and creatives through exhibitions, art sales, and collaborations.

Augustine is an author of two self-published art books Conversations at the end of the universe (2020) and Long Night Stands With Lonely, Lonely Boys (2021).