The third iteration of The Assembly, which runs from May 2021 to May 2022, involves eight talented individuals based across the UAE. The 2021/2022 Assembly members are Alexis Javero, Anita Shishani, Farah Fawzi Ali, Lubnah Ansari, Raheed Allaf, Rashid Almheiri, Shama Nair and Sree.

Alexis Javero is a Filipino artist with a deep interest in writing, which lies at the heart of her artistic practice. Her work uses language as an intimate framework to chart boundaries between abstract concepts of the material and the immaterial, the finite and the infinite. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from University of Sharjah; has exhibited her work in Maraya Art Centre and Sharjah Art Museum, among others; and co-founded Rummān Collective with the objective of establishing creative learning experiences for early-career artists.

Anita Shishani graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi with a B.A. in Art History. She is a curator and artist of Chechen origin and specialising in Arab and Iranian modern and contemporary art. Anita is dedicated to archiving the work of contemporary Chechen artists, and is invested in researching the phenomenon of hurufiyya amongst Arab artists in her spare time.

Farah Fawzi Ali is an Egyptian-Filipina researcher and writer with a B.A. in Political Science from The American University in Cairo, where she received the Ahmed Zewail Prize for her multidisciplinary research. She is interested in cultural research, particularly focussing on postcolonialism and history in the ASEAN and SWANA regions; the interplay of media and visual arts with sociocultural realities; environmental sustainability; BIPOC literature; and sustainable consumerism.

Lubnah Ansari is an Indian multidisciplinary artist and researcher specialising in sociology, photography and film. She completed her B.A. in Social Research and Public Policy from New York University Abu Dhabi, and has presented her work in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Jaipur and Abu Dhabi. Often meditating on the question “is the personal political?,” she also researches and creates films on interfaith marriages in South Asia and the Gulf. Lubnah is also a social advocate, founding the Udaan Pads Project, which distributes sustainable menstrual hygiene products to underserved areas of Rajasthan.

Raheed Allaf is a Saudi Arabian multimedia designer with a background in photography, film, poetry and design. Having studied at the American University of Sharjah, she draws from her nostalgic surrealist style to express the stories she comes across through the mediums that tell them best. Raheed’s work has been showcased globally on platforms like Indie Short Fest LA and Vantage Point Sharjah.

Rashid Almheiri defines himself as a fluid Emirati visual artist illuminated with a B.A degree in Graphic Design from the American University in Dubai. Rashid has invisible dialogues with objects, moments and emotions, and likes to cultivate his interests in biology, psychology and sociology into forms of expression, and is continuously gravitating towards poetic experiences and orating his findings to any pupil.

Shama Nair is a photographer, writer and pedagogue working with the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). Drawn to the intersection between urbanity and visual culture, her research foregrounds our relationship with an ever-expanding neoliberal metropolis, particularly in the MENASA, compelling audiences to think aesthetic, political, and social transformation afresh.

Sree is an artist, student, music producer currently studying theatre and music in New York University Abu Dhabi, where he tries to make sense of what it is to be a brown man from Dubai, holding an Indian passport.

In order to research, design and execute public engagements, The Assembly experiments primarily with curatorial practices featuring a Youth Curator and mentors, and focussing on five main areas:

  1. Creating
  2. Curating
  3. Community programming
  4. Commissioning
  5. Critiquing

This year’s learning programme is designed, curated and facilitated by Daniel H. Rey, independent curator and alumnus from The Assembly 2020. The current Assembly programme revisits Art Jameel’s initiatives of engaging young audiences as well as prioritising institutional growth powered by youth. Thematically, the focus is on research in the Global South and curation in languages other than English. As a cohort comprised of creatives under 25 years old, The Assembly advocates for #YouthCuratingYouth.