Excitement is in the air and congratulations are in order! id was thrilled to see the opening of the much-anticipated Jameel Arts Centre, an innovative cultural destination developed by Art Jameel, the independent organisation that supports arts, education and heritage in the Middle East.
Designed as a 10,000-square-metre, three-storey, multi-disciplinary space by UK-based Serie Architects, Jameel Arts Centre is the first non-governmental contemporary arts institution of its kind in the Gulf.
The kunsthalle-inspired complex includes more than 1,000 square metres of dedicated gallery space, plus a 300-square-metre open-access research centre; events and screening spaces; a roof terrace; a restaurant; and a book and design shop. The Centre’s adaptable spaces reflect Art Jameel’s commitment to diverse programming across mediums and nurturing artist careers, as the galleries are deliberately designed in a variety of sizes and volumetric proportions to allow a flexible range of settings for exhbitions, site-specific installations and new commissions.
Christopher Lee, Principal of Serie Architects, explained: ‘We worked very closely with Art Jameel, listening to their needs, responding with architectural ideas, and discursively refining them. The architecture that emerged is one that is able to accommodate a wide range of uses and continues to evolve with the city its serves. It acts as a background structure for the life of the centre to unfold, without disappearing from view. Positioning galleries around courtyard gardens and framed views of the waterfront also serves to create moments of rest and connection, while providing potential spaces for commissioned installations’.
Reflecting the institution’s commitment to dynamic programming that resonates with a diverse audience, Jameel Arts Centre launches with a broad-ranging lineup of exhibitions, commissions and events.
Spread across five galleries, the inaugural group exhibition, ‘Crude’, curated by Murtaza Vali, considers the complex theme of oil within both historic and contemporary contexts. Artist’s Rooms, an on-going collaborative series of exhibitions that focus on a single artist represented in the Art Jameel Collection, opens with a series of four solo shows by eminent artists from the Middle East and Asia: Maha Malluh, Lala Rukh, Chiharu Shiota and Mounira Al Solh.
A selection of large-scale installations and sculptural works, several newly commissioned, are on view on the Centre’s roof terrace and within a series of permanent gardens designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel. Gallery 9 focusses on artist’s film and video, starting with a work by Jumana Manna.