Dubai Culture, Art Jameel announce an open call for major, new playpark-as-artwork

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Dubai Culture & Arts Authority has commissioned Art Jameel to prepare the Jaddaf Playscape Commission Program, a major new sculptural addition to Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park at Jameel Arts Centre.

Through Dubai Public Art, a new program for the city launched recently by Dubai Culture, the Jaddaf Playscape Commission is awarded via an open call process (closing on March 31), considered by an eminent jury of local and international art professionals, architects and curators. It gives artists, designers, and collectives from and based in the UAE the opportunity to propose and create a large-scale, interactive, and playful public artwork every four years.

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The Jaddaf Playscape Commission aims to create a space for creative enjoyment, imagination, and play for all ages, with the inaugural commission opening to the public in Autumn 2023.

The Jaddaf Playscape Commission is in keeping with Art Jameel’s and Dubai Culture’s commitment to engaging communities through public art and performance, and to supporting artists, architects, designers and writers in nurturing their practices and developing challenging, dynamic new ideas and creating compelling works for the public realm. Responding to the site-specificity of the Jameel Arts Centre surroundings, the Jaddaf Playscape Commission will have a prominent presence, visible to visitors as they access Dubai’s contemporary art museum and interact with the wider Jaddaf Waterfront community.

Dubai Public Art is a new multi-year initiative, led by Dubai Culture, that enables the creation and installation of public art by UAE-based artists. Art Jameel is a curatorial partner, working alongside Art Dubai, Tashkeel, Alserkal, and Akaas Visual Arts to commission and curate a series of site-specific art installations throughout the emirate.

The Jaddaf Playscape Commission Program is part of a series of new artworks, from the Art Jameel and Dubai Culture partnership, under the Dubai Public Art program, that focuses on the Jaddaf Waterfront and Dubai Creek areas, informed by deep, site- and community-specific research.

Other projects in this series include Creek Experiences, a series of audio walks responding to Dubai’s historical “artery,” devised and recorded by artists, writers and poets, accompanied by performances and an expanded digital program; and Creek Shelters, a series of sustainable, interactive structures created by artists and architects that provide Creek visitors and explorers with moments of pause and reflection.

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said: “Art Jameel has a particular interest in and mandate to commission and curate public art. Since the launch of Jameel Arts Centre in 2018, the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park, developed in partnership with Dubai Holding, and our location on Dubai Creek, has become a site of dynamic, interactive curation and programming that engages the broadest audiences. Considered the UAE’s first arts-themed public space, the park, designed by celebrated local architects waiwai, features both monumental, permanent works by world-renowned artists and a rolling program of temporary commissions, community festivals, and public performances. We are thrilled to be among a group of colleague-organizations working together to relocate artists and creative practitioners at the heart of the emirate. We thank and congratulate Dubai Culture on this dynamic new initiative.”

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