• Jameel Arts Centre will open its doors on November 11, 2018
  • The Abraaj Group Art Prize and Art Jameel have launched a new collaboration, with the full collection of the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2009-2018) moving to the Jameel Arts Centre on long-term loan
  •  Art Jameel recently announced a dynamic new partnership with Delfina Foundation, London, which will see new modes of collaboration and shared networks
  • Hayy Jameel — a major, new multidisciplinary cultural space in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – is set to open mid-2019; and the inaugural Art Jameel Commissions: Sculpture has been awarded to Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub

Art Jameel, an organisation that supports heritage, education and the arts, today announces that the Jameel Arts Centre will open its doors on November 11, 2018, coinciding with Dubai Design Week.

The contemporary arts institution, one of the first in Dubai, is to become home to the collection of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, which includes major works commissioned through ten years of the leading prize for artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA).

The news is the latest in a series of announcements that have marked a period of growth for Art Jameel, including a new complex – Hayy Jameel – set to open in Jeddah in mid-2019; a dynamic partnership with Delfina Foundation; the launch of a multi-year commissions programme; and the growth of heritage projects and institutes in Cairo, Jeddah and other sites in the Arab world and beyond.


The Abraaj Group Art Prize and Art Jameel today announce that the forthcoming Jameel Arts Centre will become home to the full collection of works commissioned through the ten years of the Prize. Thirty major works by artists from the MENASA region – including Jananne Al-Ani, Kader Attia, Basim Magdy, Huma Mulji, Wael Shawky, and the 2018 winner, Lawrence Abu Hamdan (featured at this year’s Art Dubai) – will be loaned long-term to the new Dubai institution.

Art Jameel will not only exhibit the works to a broad public through its own arts spaces, but also commits to maintaining the current active loans policy of the Abraaj Group Art Prize; to date works have been shown at, among other sites, Guggenheim and the New Museum, New York; MACBA, Barcelona; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and the biennials of Sharjah, Sydney, Singapore and Venice. The Abraaj Group Art Prize is awarded annually during Art Dubai in March.

Last week, Art Jameel announced that it is entering into a significant new partnership with the UK’s Delfina Foundation, extending the international reach of both organisations, and developing new programming and residency initiatives. The collaboration marks a major new chapter for both organisations, with deepened collaboration and shared resources. The two will also occasionally partner on discrete projects including co-commissions, exhibitions and events.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, Art Jameel’s long-time institutional partner, will present the finalists of the Jameel Prize 5 in an exhibition from June 28 to November 25, 2018. An international award held every two years for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, the Jameel Prize is developed in collaboration between the V&A Museum and Art Jameel. The eight finalists in this fifth edition have varied practices ranging from architecture and painting, fashion design to abstract work and multi-media installation.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently acquired Saloua Raouda Choucair’s Structure with One Thousand Pieces (1966-68) through the Art Jameel Fund, which was established last year to support activities related to the Museum’s Middle Eastern initiatives including acquisitions and global contemporary programming. The Art Jameel Fund has also provided support for the Museum’s upcoming MetLiveArts programme ‘Women’s Voices’ featuring Emel Mathlouthi, Alsarah & The Nubatones, and Farah Siraj. The event takes place on March 24.


Set to open on November 11, 2018, on the eve of Dubai Design Week, the Jameel Arts Centre – a three-storey multi-disciplinary space designed by UK-based firm Serie Architects – will present curated contemporary art exhibitions and act as a hub for educational and research initiatives.

Situated at the tip of Dubai’s Culture Village, overlooking the Dubai Creek, the Centre includes more than 1,200 square metres of dedicated gallery space, a 300-square metre open-access research centre, flexible studio and events spaces, a café and bookshop, as well as seven desert-themed courtyards designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel. The Art Jameel team, aided by its advisory council, is currently compiling diverse and critical resources for the Centre’s research centre, while educational programming includes establishing a Youth Council — reflecting Art Jameel’s commitment to documentation and community learning.

The inaugural exhibitions will be announced in September. The Centre is guided by a set of curatorial threads that – inspired by the Centre’s position on the Dubai Creek – foreground ideas around confluence, exchange and shared, manifold histories. Exhibitions will be drawn in part from the Art Jameel Collection, but developing collaborative shows, both in-house and with other curators and institutions, is also central to the programming.

Earlier this year Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub were awarded the inaugural Art Jameel Commissions: Sculpture, selected by an independent jury from an international field of applicants. Revealed at the Jameel Arts Centre’s opening, the work is an immersive installation that utilises light technologies to create a botanic garden of specially-created hybrid trees, reflecting upon our relationship with the natural world. The commission is the first in a multi-year programme that reflects Art Jameel’s commitment to supporting artists and art in the public realm. The annual Art Jameel Commissions is foundational to the Jameel Arts Centre’s future programming, reflecting the institution’s aims to be a multidisciplinary, exploratory space. The focus of the second Art Jameel Commissions (2019) will be research, with an Open Call to launch summer 2018, followed by a commission for drawing and painting in 2020.


On January 29, 2018, Art Jameel announced a major new complex for the creative industries in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, named Hayy Jameel (derived from the Arabic word for neighbourhood), which is set to open mid-2019. The 17,000-square-metre three-storey cultural complex, conceived by award-winning architects ibda design, will act as an incubator for Saudi talent and is the first bespoke home in Saudi Arabia for the arts, comedy, theatre and filmmaking. Hayy Jameel includes an Art Jameel-run arts centre, theatre, events spaces and artists’ studios, plus spaces for 12 like-minded cultural organisations.


Until the Jameel Arts Centre launches this November, Art Jameel’s temporary Project Space in (and a collaboration with) Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, hosts a dynamic programme of exhibitions, projects, talks and events. Art Jameel currently presents ‘Plan for Feminist Greater Baghdad’, a solo exhibition by Ala Younis that is simultaneously being held in Dubai at Project Space Art Jameel (until April 14) and in London at Delfina Foundation (until March 24), and which includes a major new installation co-commissioned by the two organisations. Past exhibitions have included solo shows by artists Maha Maamoun, Hazem El Mestikawy and Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme; a group exhibition dedicated to upcoming Saudi photographers; and a Research Studio reflecting on the UAE of the early 1980s.


A key pillar of Art Jameel’s pioneering work to preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage is the network of Jameel Houses of Traditional Arts. The result of Art Jameel’s long-term collaboration with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, the Jameel Houses of Traditional Arts have spread from Cairo (opened 2009), to the Old Town of Jeddah (2015), and now to the Dumfries House estate in Scotland (under development).

In 2017, the Jeddah centre expanded to include an open, public programme alongside the intensive one-year course, and in 2018 incorporated a second workshop in Jeddah’s Old Town. In Cairo, in 2017, Art Jameel expanded its activities to comprise teaching traditional arts and crafts to underserved communities. Alumni support includes teacher training; exhibitions; and in 2018, opening a new co-working space in Zamalek, where young artisans can access entrepreneurial skills alongside workshops facilities and incubator support.

Art Jameel’s heritage work in 2017 also expanded to a major project in Saudi Arabia using pioneering technology to record endangered heritage at high-resolution, including traditional tower-houses in the Old Town of Jeddah, recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and some of the oldest and finest examples of qatt, a mural painting tradition practised by women in the southern highlands of Asir, inscribed into UNESCO’s List of Intangible Heritage in December 2017.

Art Jameel’s support for the tradition of qatt is strong, from the ‘Our Mother’s House’ exhibition of large-scale works presented in New York during United Nations General Assembly week in 2016, to two recent collaborations with the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society in 2017 and 2018, presenting a digitally-manufactured qatt tapestry in Abha, Saudi Arabia, and a collaboration with the Asiri artist Jameelah Mater in a live painting of a qatt canvas at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on the occasion of International Women’s Day.