26 February 2024
Walk With Me
Curated by Zoé Whitley
Part of Alserkal Art Week
Starts 10:00 am
Venue Alserkal Avenue
Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Our 2024 edition of public art commissions is thoughtfully curated by Zoé Whitley, who was particularly struck by Alserkal Avenue’s accessibility and cultural and experiential offerings for audiences on foot rather than by car, effectively extending an invitation to forge new discoveries by walking the site. Her project takes two points of departure, from Rumi’s poem Keep Walking and American poet Brenda Hillman, who in the poem Walking the Dunes observed, “It is the artist’s job to make form. Not even to make it, but to allow it. Allow form. And all artists have a different relationship to it, and a different philosophy of it … I think that when you are trying to open up a territory…”
The 2024-25 commissions will realise ambitious new works by artists whose expressive modes make concepts physically palpable, immediately relatable and widely accessible. What one uncovers on a walk can give new form and meaning to one’s experience of a place, rendering it unforgettable.
Commissioned by Alserkal Arts Foundation
Dr. Zoé Whitley is Director of the non-profit Chisenhale Gallery in London. She co-curated the acclaimed Tate Modern exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and its subsequent international tour (2017-2020). Whitley has distinguished herself working in UK institutions on exhibitions, research and collections (as curator of the British Council's 2019 British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; 2014-2019 Tate Modern; 2013-2015 Tate Britain; 2003-2013 V&A). Alongside exhibition catalogues and artist monographs, she writes for all reading ages, notably children's titles Meet the Artist: Frank Bowling; Meet the Artist: Sophie Taeuber-Arp; and serves as consultant for the award-winning Black Artists Shaping the World (Thames & Hudson). She is a Trustee of the Teiger Foundation and is a member of the London Mayor's Commission on Diversity in the Public Realm.