Art Jameel Names Winners of Inaugural Artist Commission

Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqou Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees, 2018.


The organization Art Jameel has chosen Alia Farid and Aseel AlYacoub for its inaugural artist commission, which will debut at the opening of the organization’s Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai later this year. The two Kuwaiti artists submitted a joint proposal for a project involving the use of light technologies; it will imagine a botanic garden with new, hybrid species based on local plants.

Farid and AlYacoub’s immersive piece, which has been given a production budget of $70,000, is titled Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees and is in part a response to the institution’s seven desert-inspired courtyards designed by the landscape architect Anouk Vogel. The work will be built on an elevated terrace that connects the two wings of the arts center.

The commission marks the debut of a multi-year program: 2019’s installment will center around research, while the 2020 commission will focus on drawing and painting. “We are delighted with both the quality and quantity of proposals received in our first Commissions program, and that so many artists rose to the challenge of working in the medium of light technologies, in such innovative ways,” Antonia Carver, the director of Art Jameel, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that this program has allowed us to work with two upcoming artists on a work that engages directly with the community.”

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