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 based in the UAE. She has a deep interest in writing, which lies at the heart of her artistic practice. She holds a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Sharjah, and has exhibited her work in Maraya Art Center, Sharjah Art Museum and others. Along with three of her university friends, Dania Al Tamimi, Doha Aboelezz and Nava Rizvi, she co-founded Rummān Collective with the objective to establish creative learning experiences for early-career artists.

Anita Shishani is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and researcher, raised in Al Ain and of Chechen origin. She holds a  B.A. in Art History from New York University Abu Dhabi where she specialised in Arab and Iranian modern and contemporary art. Anita is invested in researching the phenomenon of hurufiyya amongst Arab artists. Anita is dedicated to archiving the artworks and lives of contemporary UAE-based artists through her podcast, Khosh Bosh. From the vantage point of a unique cultural crossroad, she is committed to empowering creative thinkers based in the UAE, helping them find their voice, tell their story, and strengthen their foothold in the global landscape. Anita currently works as a curator for Dirwaza Curatorial Lab.

Farah Fawzi Ali is an Egyptian-Filipina writer and researcher with a BA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. Her written works can be found in Postscript Magazine, MariasAtSampaguitas, Art Dubai, and Global Art Daily. She is currently part of The Assembly at Jameel Arts Centre and the Arts Writing Agency. Driven by her mixed cultural heritage and Gulf upbringing, Farah is committed to widening spaces of representation and offering platforms for community-spirited interactions and personal histories. Traversing between her analytical mind and compassionate soul, Farah’s passion for cultivating discourse and collective meaning-making is deeply reflected and interwoven in her writing, research, and programming endeavours.

Lubnah Ansari dissects notions of personal and political questions with fervent curiosity. Utilizing her multidisciplinary skills, the artist and researcher engages with Hindu-Muslim households using feminist ethnographic frameworks. The NYU Abu Dhabi graduate has immersed herself in the roles of both the insider and the outsider, which gives her work a refreshing angle that urges you to tap into your compassion. She is currently part of The Assembly at Jameel Arts Center and is a post-graduate research fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi.

The corners of Raheed Allaf‘s life have been defined by Photography, Poetry, and Design. Raheed’s visual narratives serve as her nostalgic and surrealist escapes from reality, and a vessel through which she visualises her poetry. Having studied Multimedia Design at the American University of Sharjah, the Saudi Arabian storyteller aspires to immerse herself in different experiences to express the stories she comes across through mediums that tell them best.

Rashid Almheiri is 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 creating poetic experiences.

Shama Nair is a photographer, writer, and artist based in the UAE. Drawn to the intersection between urbanity and visual culture, her work explores our spatial, temporal, and aesthetic relationships with an ever-expanding neoliberal metropolis. She graduated as a Media Studies major from the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune in 2018 and returned to Dubai where she continues to collaborate with arts and academic institutions between India and the UAE. She currently works on art/architecture programming for the Goethe-Institut, Gulf Region. 

Sree is an artist-researcher, theater maker, and music producer who experiments with sound, sight, people, and movement. Through these experiments, he introspects his identity, culture, taboos, and place in the world. Having completed his undergraduate education in Theater and Music at NYU Abu Dhabi, he is currently part of the 9th cohort of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship. Sree has been part of research, production and educational programs with various organizations including the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Bhasha Center in Bangalore, MELA Foundation in NYC, as well as art institutions in the U.A.E such as Warehouse 421, NYUAD Arts Center and Jameel Arts Centre. Through art, he tries to make sense of what it is to be a brown cis-man that calls Dubai home, while 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.

Daniel H. Rey is an independent curator advocating for #YouthCuratingYouth and cross-pollination in the Global South. His work balances institutional and grassroots presence via Art Jameel, Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, and Global Art Daily. An emerging writer, arts educator, and public programmer, his work has been presented and reviewed in the Americas, the Arab Gulf, and Scandinavia. Daniel holds a degree in social sciences and theater from NYU Abu Dhabi and is an Alumnus of Jameel Art Centre’s Assembly programme (2020), as well as current Curator and Tutor of the third edition (2021-22). He has recently launched Almacén المخزن Armazém, a multimedia research project storing and exhibiting creative practices tied to both Latin America and the Arab world. Daniel feels at home in Paraguay, Norway, the UAE, and hopefully in Mars. 

The 2021/22 edition of the programme culminated in the Youth Takeover 2022.