Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Warehouse421, the home-grown arts and design center dedicated to showcasing and nurturing creative production across the region, opened three exhibitions on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Float: Stephanie Comilang, an exhibition that features the works of artist and filmmaker Stephanie Comilang opened in conjunction with Mina Zayed: Reflections on Past Futures, an image-based exhibition presented in partnership with Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), that documents Mina Zayed through narrative photography. The Center also saw the opening of the third iteration of the 100/100 Hundred Best Arabic Posters, featuring the winning entries from the Biennial competition that celebrates graphic design in the Arab world. The exhibitions are followed by a series of talks from the artists of each exhibition.
Float: Stephanie Comilang, curated by Murtaza Vali, presents two films by Berlin-based Stephanie Comilang that narrate the lives of overseas Filipino workers, bringing together documentary forms with references to science fiction.
Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso (Come to Me, Paradise) (2016), follows three domestic workers in Hong Kong on their day-off. As they gather with peers in the city center to engage in rituals of self-care, leisure and community, claiming if only temporarily, their right to a city supported by their otherwise invisible daily labor.
The film attempts to document intentional gestures of care and community that help collapse the distance from home and soothe the heartache of separation from kin and culture, land and language.
The second film, Diaspora Ad Astra (2020) imagines the plight of Filipino seafarers quarantined offshore as a result of the pandemic. Interminably adrift, alone and unable to communicate with their families, tantalizingly close but ultimately unable to return home.
“Float: Stephanie Comilang” follows “The Stonebreakers” in the four part series “Substructures: Excavating the Everyday.” The series, curated by Murtaza Vali, investigates some of the infrastructures that shape the spaces, contours and rhythms of Gulf urbanism, revealing forms and networks so embedded within the Khaleeji quotidian that they are commonly overlooked.
On February 7, the exhibition program will kick-off with its Artists talk featuring Stephanie Comilang. The filmmaker will talk about her wider practices and the works on display in Float exhibition. To register visit www.warehouse421.ae
The Mina Zayed: Reflections on Past Futures exhibition attempts to document Mina Zayed, historically, anthropologically, and architecturally. Through the works of 11 artists, the exhibition sheds light on the context of Mina Zayed through the tools of narrative photography.
Mina Zayed: Reflections on Past Futures is produced in partnership with GPP as part of Warehouse421’s Exhibitions Developmental Program, which includes workshops that guide the artists through concept and creativity, execution and editing, installation and space consideration, as well as text production.
Participating artists include Aisha AlNoaimi, Augustine Paredes, Catherine Donaldson, Fatema Al Fardan, Lateefa Almazrooei, Lena Kassicieh, Lara Rudar, Mansour Al-Heera, Mazna Almazrouei, Maryam Al Huraiz, and Sandra Zarneshan.
On February 16, the exhibition program will kick-off with its Artists talk featuring Catherine Donaldson, Lateefa Almazrooei, Mazna Almazrouei, and Fatema Al Fardan. The four participating artists will discuss their projects on display and the processes that led to them.
The exhibition program also includes two photo-walks on February 20 and March 20, led by Vamika Sinha. This three-hour photo-walk, led by, explores the rapidly-changing area of Mina Zayed. To register for the talk or the photo-walks please visit www.warehouse421.ae
100/100 Hundred Best Arabic Posters exhibition has also returned to Warehouse421. As part of its long-standing partnership with the Center, the exhibition brings together winning entries from a biennial competition that celebrates the work of talented graphic designers from across the Arab world. This year, Warehouse421 will highlight one winning poster by showcasing a billboard-sized print on the front facade.
The collection provides a snapshot of the diverse approaches being taken to Arabic visual communication around the world right now and highlights the original work of some of the region’s most talented artists and poster designers.
This year’s judging panel includes Hala Al-Ani, Hadeyeh Badri, and Riem Hassan of Mobius Studio (UAE), Wael Morcos (Egypt), Mohammad Sharaf (Kuwait), Shennawi (Egypt/Belgium), and Jana Traboulsi (Lebanon).
On March 23, this round’s jury will highlight and discuss the recognition of poster design as an important form of communication in the public space as well as sparking a discussion about its role, form, content and technical execution. To register visit www.warehouse421.ae
Visitors are encouraged to book their visits online via the Warehouse421’s website. Visitors and staff are all required to wear masks, which will also be made available for visitors upon request.
Cleaning and sanitizing operations will take place during operating hours and after closure, in all common areas and exhibition spaces, and a dedicated team will be available on-site.