Alserkal Avenue to inaugurate UAE’s first OMA-designed space with exhibition of modern and contemporary Syrian art

6 December 2016

The multi-purpose events venue will open with a show titled Syria: Into the Light, showcasing works from the Atassi Foundation’s collection.


Dubai, 5 December 2016: Alserkal Avenue announces it will collaborate with the Atassi Foundation to present an exhibition of modern and contemporary Syrian art during Dubai Art Week in March 2017, from 9 March until 3 April 2017. The exhibition, titled Syria: Into the Light, will be curated by Mouna Atassi, co-founder of the Atassi Foundation, in collaboration with curator Rasha Salti, and exhibition designer Michel Zayat. The groundbreaking exhibition will inaugurate Alserkal Avenue's 600-square-meter OMA-designed event venue – Concrete – showcasing the space's full potential to present museum-quality exhibitions in Dubai.

"It is a privilege to inaugurate the very first project in the UAE to be designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. The standard of design and technology that the practice has brought to this project highlights the intersections of art and architecture; it is indicative of the level of originality and inspiration that we hope Concrete will host in the months and years to come. I am especially pleased to show works from the Atassi Foundation’s collection in Alserkal Avenue. The Avenue has always been a platform for art and creativity from across the region and the world,” said Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Avenue.

The exhibition will be thematically curated and will be supported by a rich programme of talks, film screenings and commissions, all of which will be held in Alserkal Avenue. The exhibition is expected to feature works by Syrian masters as well as emerging artists, including Toufiq Tarek, Fateh Moudarres, Youssef Abdelke, and Omran Younes.

Concrete is designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, which is a firm founded by Pritzker Award-winner Rem Koolhaas. Concrete is a multi-disciplinary event space that was created with a view to host large-scale art exhibitions, symposia and conferences, fashion, film, and corporate events, as well as private functions. With multiple configurations, the 600-square-meter space has double-height ceilings, movable walls and a translucent front facade that can be positioned to create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience.

Mouna Atassi, co-founder of Atassi Foundation, said: "It is a great honour for us to curate and present a show like Syria: Into the Light in partnership with Alserkal Avenue. We couldn't have a more iconic and notable venue or partner for our first exhibition in the region. The ability to design the show in a space like Concrete, gives us the ability to present modern and Syrian art to the world as it deserves to be seen, with all its nuances and complexities."

“The Atassi Foundation's work with Syrian artists, and their commitment to Syrian art is admirable. Syria has a long history of producing some of the region's most socially engaged artwork and an exhibition that shines a light on the country’s incredibly talented contemporary artists is long overdue," said Vilma Jurkute, director of Alserkal Avenue.

The Atassi Foundation was founded by Sadek and Mouna Atassi to promote and celebrate Syrian art and culture by exhibiting it, enhancing its global visibility, and supporting creative production of young Syrian talent.

Syria: Into the Light is the first in a series of notable, high-calibre events and exhibitions due to take place in Concrete throughout 2017.


Editor's Notes:

About Alserkal Avenue

Located in Al Quoz, Dubai, Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost arts and culture neighbourhood. Since it was established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue has grown to become an essential platform for the development of homegrown artistic and cultural initiatives, supporting a vibrant community of contemporary art galleries and alternative art spaces, together with design, media and industrial studios. In 2015, in addition to its commitment to the community, Alserkal Avenue affirmed its position as an arts organisation with the launch of Alserkal Avenue Programming. The programming arm produces an annual homegrown programme for local, regional, and international audiences, working primarily with artists living and working in the MENASA region. An Artists’ Residency is scheduled to launch in March 2017, further enhancing the organisation’s breadth and scope.

About Concrete

Conceptualised by Alserkal Avenue, Concrete is the first building in the UAE to be designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas. Concrete is a multi-disciplinary space located in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, with the ability to bring creative visions to life, making it suitable for international, museum-grade exhibitions as well as bespoke events across fashion, film, design and the performing arts.

About Atassi Foundation

Atassi Foundation is an independent non-profit initiative, founded by Sadek and Mouna Atassi to promote Syrian art and culture. It aims to celebrate Syrian art by exhibiting it, enhancing its global visibility, and supporting creative production of young talents. The Foundation achieves this by: organising and curating exhibitions; fostering intercultural exchange in collaboration with international arts and culture institutions; and, by supporting research and publications on Syrian art and culture. The Foundation’s ambition is to create a sustainable and informative platform for Syrian artistic expression and knowledge.