This year’s Assembly programme is designed, curated and facilitated by Shama Nair, alumnus from The Assembly 2021. The current Assembly programme uses Art Jameel’s programs, resources and archives as a departure point into engaging with the wider built environment in which the institution is situated. Over the course of the year, the exercises and projects within The Assembly will work towards cultivating a renewed sense of accountability towards space and the city through transdisciplinary modes of thinking, reading, and making. Carrying the torch from the previous iteration, the goal remains to unlock younger audience segments, expand Art Jameel’s Youth-driven initiatives, and create spaces of care (and even rightful discomfort).
The 2022-2023 Assembly cohort comprises: Hala El Abora, Farah Ali, Bilal Bashir, Karno Dasgupta, Ronald Ekore, Nathaniel Enriquez, Auguste Nomeikaite and Saba Sayfaiee
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:
- Community programming
The Assembly will result in a Takeover of the Jameel Arts Centre with a full programme to be announced on this page.
Shama Nair is a photographer, writer, and curator based in the UAE. Drawn to the intersection of urban spaces and visual culture, her work strives to explore 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 has previously worked with Ishara Art Foundation, BICAR, the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, and is presently with Alserkal Avenue.
Hala El Abora is a Palestinian Jordanian artist that is Dubai based. Her practice is driven by her obsession with the concept of non-ephemerality, permanence, and the desperate need to preserve. She is interested in the act and process of archiving; the act of making forms concrete and negotiating deterioration. In her work, intimate embroideries resonate against rigid and enduring mediums such as resin, plastic and metal, she embodies experiences of yearning that cannot otherwise be made physical. El Abora graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Sharjah, 2021. Her work has been shown in While The Coffee Grounds Settle, Fathom Gallery at Georgetown in Washington DC; Calculating Chaos, Rawaq Gallery, Sharjah; SGC International Conference, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Confluence IL Virtual Exhibition, IE Art Projects (all in 2022); Exit 16, The Studio Gallery, Sharjah (2021 ); and Palestine 101, University of Toronto (2020); among others.
Among many undecided things, Farah Ali is a self-labeled unlabeled creative – for now. Her upbringing consisted mostly of jumping around different cities and countries, not staying in one place for too long. She now finds herself drawn back to her childhood – and the very concept of childhood – in her artistic endeavors. Farah’s interests lie in themes of childlike curiosity and wonder, and conscious attempts at pursuing whimsy in an unenchanted world. Her educational background in architecture serves as a reference point as she worked across mediums such as algorithmic design, 3D printing, animation, collaging, and virtual reality, which has been exhibited in SIKKA Art Fair. Farah also holds a special interest in sustainability and has been a researcher and designer in the Masdar Future Sustainability Leaders and Solar Decathlon Middle East programs. In her spare time, she collects-hoards copies of The Little Prince, snow globes, and silly tattoos of the sun. [:)]
Bilal Bashir is a Nigerian-born Visual artist residing in Sharjah, UAE. His interests in visual arts have driven him to pursue numerous projects such as short films, paintings, campaigns with brands, and photo documentaries. He had the honor of shooting the Adidas x Ravi Campaign in Satwa, Dubai. This helped him highlight the city in a way that has never been done before, bringing out the historical and cultural significance of an establishment like Ravi’s, while solidifying the mass appeal of a brand like Adidas. He is currently studying UX & Product Design design at university, and hopes to pioneer the next generation of creative thinkers coming out of the MENA region.
Karno Dasgupta is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist from Nepal/India, based in Abu Dhabi. Their practice moves through film, writing, and curation. Schooled in performance studies, he intends to examine how aesthetics intersects with public policy, human rights, and anthropocene futures. Often in the interstice of proposition and application, pondering an ethical life between the immediacy of the ordinary and the immensity of catastrophe, they hope for their work to have been for good. Along with The Assembly at Jameel Arts Centre, Karno is a divisional research fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi (also his alma mater).
Ronald Ekore is a UAE-based Nigerian artist. Driven by curiosity and compassion, he examines and critically analyses his surroundings, day-to-day experiences, and relationships to inform his work. Ekore documents his lived reality using various media formats that include digital photography, sound art, and creative writing. His recent works — Powers (album) and Kafka’s Theory of Colorism (photo book)— employ this multimedia approach to explore, understand, and document the feelings and emotions that inform his process.
Nathaniel Enriquez is a Dubai-based Filipino multidisciplinary artist who spent his formative years in the UAE. His practice encompasses various forms of visual mediums, from photography, painting, writing and sculpting. Enriquez’s creative approach is fueled by curiosity, exploring the abstracts of the human form by breaking it down into its base parts and silhouettes. Welcoming engagement and is a medium to develop and circulate dialogue. His work has been shown in Gravity Art Space, Manila – a duo exhibition titled “today’s homework” (2022) with Don Quintos; An ‘inauguration to seventh heaven’ group show (2021); and Prevue (2019) among many others. He graduated with a BA in Multimedia Arts with Latin honors in 2022, and is a member of The Assembly at Jameel Arts Centre, while working as a photographer, graphic designer, and content producer.
Auguste Nomeikaite is a photographer, filmmaker, and intermittent writer living in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thematically, her work explores interpersonal relationships, often using sociological inputs, and also grapples with broader ecological concerns. Her practice pursues new tonalities, constructing narratives of reclamation and agency against dominant forms; she studies her subjects and the manipulations of modernity through a feminist-leftist lens. Auguste’s interventions turn not on cynicism, but empathy. On sympathy and care, and in the development and deployment of non-academic knowledges. A nest and negotiation, a tonic of affirmation—the work does not shy away from the contradictions of identity, and traces the potential of aesthetics in a cathartic vein. Auguste likes the rain.
Saba Sayfaiee is a visual designer from the Emirates. She earned a B.S. in Visual Communication at the American University of Sharjah (2021). Her main interests lie in editorial design, typography, and branding. She examines and explores different cultural, social, and behavioral topics through different mediums. The extensive studio practice, thorough research, and design process that Saba has done throughout the years of her practice have all contributed to the journey that has led her to this point.