Our programmes

Alongside our work in heritage and learning, Art Jameel has a commitment to supporting artists and creative communities through contemporary projects. Our work in contemporary art is anchored at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, and Hayy Jameel in Jeddah; the centres’ programmes include exhibitions, commissions, learning initiatives, the Jameel Library and a year-round roster of innovative public programmes.

Art Jameel’s curatorial thinking is shaped by a number of long-term, multi-year themes that manifest in research, publishing, commissions and exhibitions programmes. Running through our approach to the curatorial is the concept of confluence – the ebb and flow of ideas between artists and their work; between creative practitioners, audiences and institutions; and through the nature and act of cultural exchange in a broader sense.

Current themes include:

  • Relationships to water. Key projects include Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research winner Nadia Christidi’s publication that looks at impending water crises and future planning scenarios that have emerged in response, and ‘Research Studio: Confluence’ by Omar Berrada.
  • The politics of food – supporting Mirna Bamieh’s investigation of Palestinian cuisine as a means of resisting life under occupation and the restrictive policies over food and water resources. Forthcoming projects include ‘Staple: What’s on your plate?’ at Hayy Jameel, Jeddah, from November 2021 onwards.
  • Material heritage and forces of destruction, recreation and the copy – major exhibition outcomes related to this strand include, for example, ‘Phantom Limb’ and Michael Rakowitz at Jameel Arts Centre; ‘For The Pheonix To Find It’s Form In Us: On Restitution, Rehabilitation and Reparation’ at Savvy Contemporary and ifa Gallery Berlin; DAAR’s dossier, Refugee Heritage, initially presented as a maquette at Jameel Arts Centre –  is an attempt to imagine and practice ‘refugeeness’ beyond humanitarianism, through tracing, documenting, revealing and representing refugee history beyond the narrative of suffering and displacement; plus Art Jameel’s upcoming material heritage publication, featuring commissioned writings, interviews and artists’ contributions exploring colonial heritage, reparation and museology, edited by Nora Razian.

Art Jameel also offers support to practitioners in developing their practices and building collaborations with communities and institutions. Current initiatives, designed to support artists, writers, researchers and curators directly, are collated on this page.

Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform

In response to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the arts and creative sector, Art Jameel has introduced a research and practice platform for independent practitioners. The programme is intended primarily for those who work on a per-project basis and whose practices have been affected by programme cancellations and project changes, locally or globally. The micro-fees offered through the platform will further the development of ongoing and upcoming research and projects over the coming months; the programme is open to all practitioners based in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Please click here for more information and the application process.

Art Jameel Commissions: Digital

In 2017, Art Jameel launched a commissioning programme anchored at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, UAE. The programme was planned to run in a 3-year cycle, focusing on Sculpture (2018); Arts Writing and Research (2019); and Drawing and Painting (2020). With 2020 proving to be a year of an exceptional circumstance, the programme has been adjusted and expanded to include a new iteration—Art Jameel Commissions: Digital. (The drawing and painting commission will move to 2021-2022.)

Through an Open Call, Art Jameel invited artists to respond to the brief for this exciting opportunity – specifically, artists from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and those around the world (regardless of nationality) who have sustained and demonstrable links to, and a meaningful understanding of, the wider ‘Middle East region’.

Jameel Prize 6

For its sixth edition, the Jameel Prize focuses for the first time on a single discipline – contemporary design – and launched an open call, alongside its existing nomination process. Creative practitioners working across fashion, product, graphic, web, speculative and craft design, whose work is inspired by Islamic art and design traditions, were encouraged to apply. Applications are now closed.