ICD Brookfield Place Launches Golden Jubilee Exhibition
11 November 2021
Bringing together leading artists In dialogue
Hair Mapping Body, Body Mapping Land brings together leading Emirati artists Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Afra Al Dhaheri, under the curation of Munira Al Sayagh
Dubai, 11 November 2021, ICD Brookfield Place proudly unveils Hair Mapping Body, Body Mapping Land, an exhibition curated by Munira Al Sayegh and programmed by Alserkal Advisory, a strategic cultural advisory practice.
This is the first exhibition curated by Munira Al Sayegh under the platform she has recently founded, Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, as a creative incubator and projects partner. On view through to December 19, Hair Mapping Body, Body Mapping Land brings together the works of three artists whose practices draw upon the complex charting of histories, narratives, and identity across multiple planes. At the centre of the exhibition is the dialogue betweenMohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Afra Al Dhaheri. They represent different generations of conceptual Emirati artists whose prominent practices are connected through an interpretive mapping of land and body. Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is among the pioneering group of Emirati conceptual artists who came together in the 1980s through the Emirates Fine Arts Society and collectively defined the avant-garde contemporary art scene for decades to come. As one of the most prominent Emirati contemporary artists in the UAE, he will represent the UAE at the National Pavilion at next year’s 59th Venice Biennale. Afra Al Dhaheri represents a second generation of Emirati contemporary artists of rising prominence in the UAE and abroad, whose conceptual practices confront complex, human concerns through bringing deeply personal references and materials into public exhibition spaces.
Speaking about the choice of bringing these artists together, curator Munira Al Sayegh said, “The idea of intergenerational connection created though the art scene is apparent in this show. The pairing of the two was a curatorial and a conceptual challenge defining the exhibition as a prompt to navigate and embrace differences, and through those differences we find similarities.”
Afra Al Dhaheri’s Fil Al Shaar, drapes into ridges that peak and fall, reminiscent of mountains or waves adrift. Behind the ropes of Fil Al Shaar is a segmented space, reflective of a mountain range high above a pocket town, at the heart of a valley. Tucked away, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s Khorfakkan introduces a flattened perspective in contrast to height. His work roots itself in response to movement and play and through profound connection to his home of Khorfakkan, reflected in the natural materials used and the primordial shapes and symbols in his works. Afra Al Dhaheri’s practice is anchored in the body—in hair specifically. Hair appears as a tree, rooted in, extending out, and branching into the notion of what is deemed private versus public. Hair becomes a tool that unfurls deeply personal stories over time and the changes they bring.
As part of the exhibition’s public programming, UAE-based artist Mohamed Khalid has been invited to respond to the this show. An artist who examines the materiality of everyday objects and coaxes out their metaphoric potential, Khalid dissects ironies embedded in his everyday surroundings. For this exhibition he proposes an alternative way of mapping space and distance, creating an ephemeral artwork in response to the works of Afra Al Dhaheri and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim. The artwork will be slowly unveiled throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Of the conversation between the three artists in the exhibition, Ben McGregor, Investment Director of ICD Brookfield said, “We are thrilled to launch our second major exhibition in partnership with Alserkal Advisory. This is an important moment for both partners as we celebrate a continuum of diverse talent in the Emirates during this year of the Golden Jubilee. We are developing our arts programme for our community, and for the artists regionally and locally who are defining the cultural landscape here.”
Vilma Jurkute, Executive Director of Alserkal and its initiatives, added “Alserkal Advisory develops cultural projects and establishes spaces for polyphonic voices through a thoughtful, research-informed approach to crafting audience-specific cultural programmes and environments. In programming this exhibition for ICD Brookfield Place and working closely with curator Munira Al Sayegh, intrinsic knowledge of the artists and their practices, and the relationships that we have nurtured over the past decade, allowed us to thoughtfully juxtapose the works of two generations of Emirati artists for the first time. This exhibition represents a milestone and a maturing of the UAE’s art scene as more organisations pledge their support for the arts, allowing for a wider narrative and dialogue with the publics of the city of Dubai and beyond.”
In this year of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, questions of body, land, identity – the lines we draw to define ourselves in a pubic and private sense – could not be more relevant.
A lifestyle and business address, ICD Brookfield Place is playing an active role in the transformation of the local arts and culture scene through its regular rotating arts programming and events. A community-driven and eco-conscious destination, the building is already home to The Arts Club and is setting the scene for a winter filled with cultural happenings.
ABOUT ICD BROOKFIELD PLACE
ICD Brookfield Place is the region’s premier lifestyle and business destination with over 4 acres of highly curated dining, retail, and community space alongside 990,000 sq ft of sustainable and future-ready workspace.
ICD Brookfield Place Arts Programme supports innovation in music, dance, theater, film, and visual art by pushing boundaries to create unique works of art and cultural experiences presented for free. The inclusive and accessible program gathers communities around creativity by animating its public spaces.
ICD Brookfield Place is managed by Brookfield Properties.
For more information, please visit: www.icdbrookfieldplace.com
ABOUT ALSERKAL ADVISORY
Alserkal Advisory is a multidisciplinary practice comprised of Alserkal’s founding team in addition to thinkers, researchers, and specialists in diverse fields from multiple geographies. The advisory practice helps develop cultural production and establish spaces for polyphonic voices. The Advisory challenges conventional business practices, embracing a mindful approach to reimagining cultural destinations and crafting audience-specific public programmes that resonate with our communities, while also assessing our impact on society, the environment, and local economies.
Alserkal Advisory has three principal areas of expertise: cultural production, including audience-specific programming, flagship events, and public art commissioning; developing cultural institutions and destinations, ranging from establishing not-for-profit entities to building sustainable communities; and policy-making for creative industries, including guidance and support on infrastructure and government/economic licensing.
Alserkal Advisory is part of Alserkal, a forward-thinking cultural enterprise based in Dubai, that was founded by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal.
MUNIRA AL SAYEGH
Munira Al Sayegh is an independent curator and a cultural instigator based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Actively pursuing grassroots incubation, Al Sayegh is the founder of Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, Abu Dhabi’s first curatorial incubator and projects partner. She is also co- founder of Engage101, a collecting and research platform. She is a published author and prominent voice in the region discussing the importance of non-institutional thinking to build regional art movements from the bottom-up.
Al Sayegh curated and developed the program series for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence (2017). In parallel, from 2014 she has joined and pioneered curatorial initiatives across Art Dubai where she curated the Residents section (2019) and started the Now series, looking at non-government funded creative platforms in the region. She recently served as lead tutor and curator for Campus Art Dubai.
Her curatorial solo debut was Bayn: the in-between (2017), the third edition of UAE Unlimited. Later, she curated the Talks Program in Abu Dhabi Art. In 2020, Al Sayegh premiered The Cup and The Saucer commissioned by Warehouse421 (Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Foundation), where she has also led in-house public programs.
Among her contributions, she traces back to NYU Abu Dhabi’s FIND project (2012) and currently sits on the advisory board for the university’s art gallery. Al Sayegh is also part of the UAE Ministry of Culture Visual Arts Committee as well as Dubai Collection’s Steering and Curatorial Committee.
MOHAMED AHMED IBRAHIM
Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (b.1962) is part of the UAE's first generation of contemporary artists from the late 1980s, an avant-garde scene that included Hassan Sharif, Abdullah Al Saadi, Hussein Sharif, and Mohammed Kazem. Ibrahim’s work has been inspired by a lifelong relationship with the environment of Khorfakkan, his place of birth, with the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar Mountains on the other. This deep connection to his local environment repeats itself throughout his studio practice, whether through his installations, drawings or objects, and the materials he has worked with for over three decades. Many objects are shaped like primitive tools, bones or parts of trees and appear to have been unearthed from some ancient den, rather than handcrafted. His works on paper reveal his own form of language - inscriptions, lines and abstract forms that are reminiscent of ancient cave drawings - marking time and memory through meditative repetition.
AFRA AL DHAHERI
Afra Al Dhaheri’s work is rooted in her experiences growing up in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE – a place of recent and rapid change. Working across various mediums including mixed media, sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, photography, and printmaking, she draws out notions of time and adaptation, rigor and fragility. With each experiment, there is a new phase, each new phenomenon or actualization plucked from her unique vocabulary of references – repetition acts as a method for prolonging time as much as a tool through which to truly experience or realize each stage of a work. Born in 1988 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Al Dhaheri obtained her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design, USA in 2017 and had her residencies from The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship, in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014 and Porthmeor Studios, St. Ives, Cornwall, UK (2019).
Mohamed Khalid (b.1996, Dubai, UAE) is an artist, walking, running, cycling and driving.
He examines the materiality of everyday objects and coaxes out their metaphoric potential. Through fabricating receipts, playing with street cats, composing fictional tours and stealing corporate pens, he dissects ironies embedded in his everyday surroundings. What begins as an arbitrary flânerie, develops into a methodical formula that addresses philosophical and phenomenological, revealing the spatial, poetic relationships between his subjects and their frangible correlation to the human condition.