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December 20, 2023 — Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Art Jameel, an organisation that supports artists and creative communities, have come together to launch the inaugural Jaddaf Playscape Commission: I Dreamt of a City Everyone Calls Home by UAE-based design collective Theories of Imagination (TOFI) –  artist-architect Noor Alwan and artist-designer Abdulla Buhijji. This is now open at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, and ready to welcome families daily. 

Theories of Imagination (TOFI) was awarded the inaugural Jaddaf Playscape Commission in July 2023, their proposal selected by an esteemed international jury through an Open Call, which received nearly 100 applications from artists and designers across the UAE. This is part of Dubai Culture's Dubai Public Art (DPA) initiative, a new multi-year programme that enables the creation and installation of public art by UAE-based artists. Art Jameel is a curatorial partner, working alongside Art Dubai, Tashkeel, and Alserkal. 

Launched during the UAE's annual sustainability festival Down to Earth (November 25, 2023) and set in the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park next to Jameel Arts Centre, Theories of Imagination's large-scale sculptural structure titled I Dreamt of a City Everyone Calls Home is an adventure playground where interactive play and creative imagination is rewarded with rain showers, mist and lights. Children and families are welcome to come experience this one-of-a-kind, free playscape, seven days a week, 9am-11pm; outdoor activities in the park are complemented by special children's tours and activities within Jameel Arts Centre, a family-friendly museum known as Dubai's hub for contemporary art and ideas. 

Taking design cues from the wider Jaddaf area, I Dreamt of a City Everyone Calls Home seamlessly combines vernacular architectural patterns, fauna and flora with new imaginative shapes and formats. Through paying homage to the history of Jaddaf as a cultural crossroads, the playground becomes a celebration of the diverse communities that have shaped Dubai, drawing inspiration from the area's historical significance as a boatyard and its role in enabling trade and cross-cultural exchange.
Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts & Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, commented: “Dubai Culture is proud to be a part of this initiative that brings together art and recreation. The Jaddaf Playscape Commission showcases the city's dedication to promoting creative expression and providing families with a unique cultural experience in the heart of Dubai. As an Authority, we are proud to take responsibility for the Dubai Public Art agenda and bring its fruits to life. It is heartening to know that this commission will be as highly appreciated and utilised as a popular attraction. Installations of this nature can only beautify Dubai and encourage groups to increase their appreciation of its creative offerings.”

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said: “Witnessing the Sculpture Park at Jameel Arts Centre come alive with the vibrant energy of curious-minded young visitors exploring the interactive playground is just fantastic. The synergy between play and learning is indicative of the boundless possibilities that art can create in public life. Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park includes the full breadth of public art – from permanent sculptures in bronze through now to this interactive installation that welcomes and encourages truly creative imaginative play. We congratulate Abdullah and Noor on their deeply researched, totally original, fun work and thank Dubai Culture for their endeavours to transform Dubai through innovative contemporary public art – including practices that encourage communal exchange and life-long learning for all ages.”

The inaugural Jaddaf Playscape Commission jury included world-renowned local and international art professionals, architects and curators: Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of the Highline NYC and Curator of the 59th Venice Biennale of Art 2022; Wael Al Awar, Founder and Principal Architect of waiwai, representing the UAE at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2021 and winning the Golden Lion; Amal Khalaf, Projects Curator at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and Director of Cubbit  Artists Gallery, London; and Nora Razian, Deputy Director and Head of Exhibitions at Art Jameel.

The Jaddaf Playscape Commission creates a new artist-designed space in Dubai for creative enjoyment, imagination and play. The commission is a major opportunity for UAE-based artists, designers, architects and collectives to propose and create a monumental, interactive and playful public artwork for the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park, the country's first art-themed park, created and managed through a collaboration between Dubai Holding and Art Jameel. 

The commission, devised and curated by Art Jameel, is part of DPA, aimed at enabling public art installations, and fostering creativity and engagement within the community. Art Jameel's role as a curatorial partner in the new initiative focuses on commissioning a series of works for Dubai Creek, informed by deep, site- and community-specific research. 

Posted by : GoDubai Editorial Team
Viewed 8532 times
Posted on : Thursday, December 21, 2023  
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