Describe the main features of the measure/initiative:
The National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia [NPUAE] curates untold stories about the UAE’s arts and architecture through its participation at the Venice Biennale, and provides a high-profile platform for curatorial concepts that address critical international conversations from a distinctive local perspective. For each annual edition of the Biennale, one of the world’s most significant and rigorous cultural platforms, the National Pavilion UAE appoints and works with curators, artists and contributors to conceive, research and develop an exhibition and an accompanying publication that advances and preserves understanding of the UAE’s cultural landscape. Since 2009, its exhibitions have explored the nation’s cultural evolution from 20th century experimental artists to the diverse contemporary scene. In 2019, the National Pavilion UAE presented an acclaimed installation exploring geographic and psychological displacement from filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem, and in 2021, architects and curators Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto will present research into an innovative sustainable cement alternative derived from salt and minerals found in the UAE’s Sabkha heritage sites. In parallel with its exhibitions in Venice, the National Pavilion UAE engages with communities in the UAE to support the growth of the local cultural and creative industries, through public programing and professional opportunities. Alongside an extensive pool of artists, curators, researchers and partners who have contributed to its exhibitions over the years, the UAE’s Venice Internship program has provided training and hands-on experience to more than 170 interns, many of whom are now working successfully in cultural fields. The National Pavilion UAE is an independent non-profit organization, commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth. Through its programs and activities, the NPUAE has partnerships with the following organizations: • Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah • Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah • Art Dubai, Dubai • Dubai Design Days, Dubai • Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai • Tashkeel, Dubai • UAE Modern Symposium, Dubai • Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi • Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi • Manarat Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi • NYUAD Institute, Abu Dhabi • Youth Hub, Dubai and Abu Dhabi • University of Tokyo, Tokyo • American University of Sharjah, Sharjah • Ca’Foscari University, Venice • IUAV University of Architecture, Venice
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?:
To ensure the NPUAE is a reflection of the art and architecture communities in the UAE, each year it convenes a Committee of respected peers to determine direction of the next UAE presentation in Venice. The Committee is comprised of • Individuals involved in government level projects as well as subject matter experts in the fields of art and architecture respectively. • Representatives from key Emirates with robust art and architecture programs. • Past curators of the National Pavilion UAE. • To maintain the integrity of each nomination, a voting structure has been implemented whereby NPUAE, the Commissioner, and Supporter do not have voting rights. • Creating and establishing a methodology towards research and exhibition making ensures the integrity of each project is achieved. • Each year NPUAE offers a research grant to explore a unique body of scholarship and content creation about the UAE Arts and Architecture. This grant generates the production of a unique body of research in the field of art / architecture which then manifests in the exhibition in Venice and in the accompanying publication. This includes: o Hiring of a Curator to set curatorial premise and lead research o Hiring of research assistants and field workers to gather data, conduct interviews and research for the exhibition and publication o New Artist Commissions For each presentation at the Venice Biennale, NPUAE commits to producing a publication to document the research each curator and team have produced. This publication in turns functions as a tangible legacy towards each presentation that then goes on to inform other research and discovery. The fund allows for NPUAE to commission the in-depth research, writers, international standard editors, copy editors, and translators to ensure the content is available in both official languages of the UAE, Arabic and English. The fund also allows for partnership with a publishing house to ensure quality production and distribution is achieved for each publication. Each Year NPUAE manages and funds the design and production of a high-quality exhibition in Venice which is frequently identified by international media as ‘must see’ exhibitions. The Biennale attracts over 600,000 visitors to the Art exhibition, and roughly 300,000 to the Architecture exhibition for each iteration. NPUAE hires top exhibition designers, contractors, and art handlers, insurance and shipping, to ensure a high quality of exhibition making. NPUAE also enables artist / researchers to delve deeper into the production aspects of exhibition making that on their own they would not be able to do. NPUAE organizes and coordinates numerous events locally and internationally that promote the curator and the story of the pavilion each year. Local events are planned with the intention to strengthen and deepen community engagement through partnerships with other local entities. Over the past years talks and workshops were organized with the following entities across the UAE: • Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah • Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah • Art Dubai, Dubai • Dubai Design Days, Dubai • Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai • Tashkeel, Dubai • UAE Modern Symposium, Dubai • Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi • Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi • Manarat Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi • NYUAD Institute, Abu Dhabi • Youth Hub, Dubai and Abu Dhabi NPUAE supports the development of the next generation of cultural professionals, through the annual internship program for young people in the UAE. Over the past 7 years over 150 interns have participated in the internship program since it started in 2009. Of these interns 88 were Emirati Nationals and the rest were long-term residents of the UAE, or Italian Interns studying Arabic or Middle Eastern studies at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. Interns and the Intern coordinator are provided with suitable, safe, clean accommodation in Venice for 7 months, all airline tickets, visas, per diems, and museum / bus passes in Venice. Each recruitment period NPUAE receives over 200 applications for 21 positions. Intern Alumni have gone on to successful careers in their fields. Venice Intern Alumni can be found working at Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Art, Art Dubai, Sharjah Art Foundation, Urban Planning Council, independent Architecture firms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah. Sara Al Haddad, a 2013 alumni, was selected as one of the featured artists for our 2017 pavilion, ‘Rock Paper Scissors: Positions in Play’, curated by Hammad Nasar.