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United Arab Emirates Pavilion

13 May - 26 November 2017
Press preview: 10 - 12 May

Nujoom Alghanem, Sara Al Haddad, Vikram Divecha, Lantian Xie, Dr. Mohamed Yousif

Curator: Hammad Nasar

Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development

National pavilion of the UAE
Arsenale - Sale d'Armi

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play

Curated by Hammad Nasar, this exhibition will explore a strand of artistic practice in the UAE through the analogy of play. Featuring existing works, re-fabrication of 'lost' works and new commissions, the exhibition will stage a set of nested questions: Where does 'playfulness' in artistic practice come from ? How and where is 'play' nurtured? What does 'play' do?

"We are delighted to work with this group of contemporary artists in shaping an exhibition that stages an inter-generational conversation," says Hammad Nasar. "Through the artists' diverse and distinctive practices, we believe that this exhibition will bring to life wider cultural and societal ideas around how 'play' functions in the world - as a source of vitality and a method of navigation."

The Artists

The five artists who are nationals and long-term residents who call the UAE home.

(For the biographies, click on the images)

Publication - an additional site and expansion

The accompanying publication will serve both as an additional site of the exhibition, and as its speculative expansion, with newly commissioned texts by contributors including: Aisha Bilkhair; Reem Fadda and Maisa Al Qassimi; Uzma Rizvi; Osman Samiuddin; and Murtaza Vali.

Institutions act as interlocutors

In line with the curatorial premise, several cultural institutions across the UAE have been invited to act as interlocutors in exploring the themes of the exhibition. Some of the confirmed institutions include Sharjah Art Foundation, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, Alserkal Programming, Tashkeel, Maraya Art Centre and Warehouse421. By developing these themes in ways they deem relevant, this distributed mode of programming will extend, expand, critique, reflect and respond to the myriad issues that the exhibition may catalyze. More information on the institutions' programs will be announced soon; members of the public can also follow the story using the hashtags #positionsinplay, #uaeinvenice and #nationalpavilionuae.

Ongoing conversation

"We see this exhibition as a contribution and extension to an ongoing conversation that continues beyond the time of the exhibition, and that the programing generated by each institution as a starting point for ongoing discussions," says Khulood Al Atiyat, Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. "These events will take multiple forms, including artist talks, workshops, game sessions, a film series, or artist interventions."

Press information, 16 January 2017
Download press release
© Image on top: Universes in Universe. Portraits: Courtesy National Pavilion UAE


Organizer, contact:
National Pavilion UAE,
la Biennale di Venezia
PO Box 62086
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website | Email

Media requests:
+971 (0)2 641 2345

More UiU Specials about the UAE at the Venice Biennale:

57th Venice Biennale 2017

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