18 October 2016

Week-long programme includes commissions by local artists, film screenings and pop-ups


DUBAI, 17 October, 2016: Alserkal Avenue Programming has announced a week-long programme that will launch on 13 November, to coincide with Abu Dhabi Art. The programme includes two new artist project commissions, by local artists Karim Sultan and Farah Al Qasimi, a film screening, and pop-ups. In addition, galleries in the Avenue will host show openings as well.

Following AAP’s thematic trajectory for the year, the projects will take the notion of “work” as their initial starting point. With ‘Different Air’, Karim Sultan will create an iterative performance that expresses the common struggle of people, migrating amidst the flows of globalization and as the result of conflict, to maintain a connection with the culture of home. Meanwhile, Farah Al Qasimi’s multi-part project, which will be unveiled over the course of the season, will reveal the sites and processes of women’s work in the Gulf.

Information regarding the projects, screening and pop-ups is given below.

Karim Sultan

Different Air (2016-2017)

An Alserkal Avenue Programming Commission

Produced with generous support by Opsys.

Project launch: Different Air performance by Karim Sultan on Sunday, 13 November at Opsys, Alserkal Avenue

Karim Sultan is an artist and curator based in Dubai. Different Air is the first iteration of a performance that involves an interaction between the performer and a piece of recorded media. The premise of the performance is based around the increasing distance between an individual who leaves home and the memories they retain in their migration, specifically the difficulties in retaining them accurately and performing them meaningfully as they drift further and further away, geographically and chronologically. This is illustrated through the actions of the performance itself in which the performer attempts to accompany a repeated piece of music on the oud. However, during the performance, the air in the performer’s room gradually changes in character, as though it is being suspended higher and higher above sea level, making the musical accompaniment increasingly difficult to play until it is finally impossible to do so.

The technology used to realise ‘Different Air’ has been generously provided by Opsys, a Dubai-based multi-disciplinary engineering firm, whose Cap9 system is used for simulated altitude training and fire prevention in archives, data centers and large warehouses. Over the next five months, the artist will continue to experiment with the Cap9 system and collaborate with the company’s engineers, to realize further iterations of the performance. Future performances to be announced.

Different Air is commissioned by Alserkal Avenue Programming with generous support by Opsys.

Biography: Born in Kuwait, living in Egypt and Canada, and now based in Sharjah, Karim Sultan is a Canadian artist and curator. Karim creates experimental electronic-based sound and music that is imbued with Arab and regional influences. Much of his work acts as a kind of travelogue that narrates his journeys, both physically and metaphorically. Karim performed at the 2015 Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture in London and was an editor of Kalimat magazine, the non-profit publication that is committed to open expression for Arab creatives worldwide. Karim plays the oud, the Arabic stringed instrument similar to the lute. He is a curator at Barjeel Art Foundation, is an independent, UAE-based initiative established to manage, preserve and exhibit an extensive collection of modern and contemporary Arab art.

About the supporter:

This commission is supported by Opsys, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm focused on fire prevention, simulated altitude training and cryogenics. For more information go to

Farah Al Qasimi

Untitled (2016-2017)

An Alserkal Avenue Programming Commission

Project launch: Sunday, 13 November, The Yard, Alserkal Avenue

Farah Al Qasimi is an Emirati artist known for a unique photographic style that locates the fantastic in the everyday. For her commission, she explores the invisible labor of women in the cycle of creation and consumption, through the mediums of photography, performance and video. Developing in stages over the next five months, the first iteration will be presented in November as a photographic image in the Alserkal Avenue Yard that uses a massive temporary hording as its supporting structure. Later iterations will include a series of short videos, in which the artist performs repetitive tasks, without being fully visible. Taking place inside domestic and commercial spaces, these invisible performances repeat the effects of capitalism on the female body, and reference the intimate relation between artistic labor and creative production.

Biography: Born in Abu Dhabi and now based between New Haven Connecticut and Abu Dhabi, Farah Al Qasimi is an artist and musician. Farah studied photography and music at Yale University, New Haven, and is currently an MFA candidate in the Photography program at the Yale School of Art. Farah has participated in residencies at the Burren College of Art in Ireland, at her studio in Dubai (with the support of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation) and at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Most recently, she participated in the Sheikha Salama Foundation and Rhode Island School of Design Emerging Artist Fellowship. Recent shows include the first Biennial for Arab Photography at Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Emirati Expressions at Manarat al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi; Walls and Margins at the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Accented at Maraya Art Center, Sharjah; and The World is Sinking at The Third Line, Dubai.


The programme also includes a screening on Friday, 18 November, of Factory Girl (2015). The screening, which will take place in The Yard, is a special tribute to its director, Mohamad Khan (1942-2016), an Egyptian-British film director, screenwriter and actor, who sought direct documentation of everyday life in Cairo. The film is part of the fall film series entitled Work in Progress, presented by Alserkal Avenue Programming and Cinema Akil.


In parallel, the galleries that are part of the Alserkal Avenue community will come together for a week of art exhibitions, workshops, talks and special events by leading contemporary artists and professionals in the field.

Participating galleries include:

1x1 Gallery, Custot Gallery Dubai, El Marsa Gallery, Green Art Gallery, Salsali Private Museum, The Third Line, eL Seed Studio, The JamJar, Carbon 12, Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, Grey Noise, Lawrie Shabibi, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Ayyam Gallery, Satellite, Gulf Photo Plus, Showcase Gallery, and Leila Heller Gallery.

Exhibitions opening that week include, among others, solo shows by:

Olaf Breuning at Carbon 12
Christian Bonnefoi at Jean-Paul Najar Foundation
Raja’a Khalid at Grey Noise
Oliver Clegg at Lawrie Shabibi
Raed Yassin at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
Kamrooz Afram at Green Art Gallery
Khaled Jarrar and Mouteea Murad at Ayyam Gallery
Reza Aramesh and Frank Stella at Leila Heller Gallery Dubai
Richard Höglund and Bernar Venet at Custot Gallery Dubai

Judy Blum and Poonam Jain at 1x1 Gallery