Nadia Christidi announced as winner of Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research

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February 27, 2019
  • Art Jameel’s inaugural Arts Writing and Research award supports the development of innovative research, original writing and arts publishing
  • The highly competitive process saw writers and artists from across the Middle East and the world apply with proposals, which were debated by a stellar jury
  • Winner Nadia Christidi receives a three-month residency at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, plus support towards a new written work
  • Syrian, Palestinian and Greek writer Nadia Christidi will use the residency and support to develop a publication looking at impending water crises, and the present plans and future planning scenarios that have emerged in response

Art jameel, an organisation that supports heritage, education and the arts, announced today that Nadia Christidi, a Syrian, Palestinian, and Greek researcher and writer has been awarded Art Jameel Commissions: Arts Writing and Research. Christidi’s winning proposal will see her create a publication during her three-month residency at Jameel Arts Centre; her interests include impending water crises, and the present plans and future planning scenarios that have emerged in response. The research and publication will likely focus on climate change, disaster capitalism, global competitiveness for climate change solutions, and the manufacture of futures through culture and design.

Christidi’s proposal was selected by an esteemed jury which included: Negar Azimi, a writer and the senior editor of Bidoun, an award-winning magazine and curatorial project with a focus on the Middle East and its diasporas; Omar Berrada, a writer and curator, and the director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, a library and artists residency in Marrakech; and Nida Ghouse, a writer and curator who recently co-curated Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War (with Anselm Franke, Paz Guevara, and Antonia Majaca, 2017).

Following the very successful inaugural edition of Art Jameel Commissions, which focused on sculpture and was awarded to Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub, in 2018 Art Jameel announced that the second edition would focus on Arts Writing and Research. The open call to writers, researchers, critics, art historians, curators and artists either from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, received proposals from around the world reflecting a range of backgrounds, nationalities and areas of interest.

Responding to the Jameel’s current curatorial themes of confluence, museology and the GCC, and the institution’s position on the Dubai Creek, Christidi’s work will examine initiatives that set out to address impending water crises, taking in a wide variety of source material including fiction, art, science fiction, speculative design and governmental policy. The research also looks into strategies to prevent climate change; preparations, imagined or otherwise, for a potential future without water; and how the region is positioning itself as future-ready, environmentally.

As part of her three-month residency in the Jameel’s writer’s studio and library, Christidi will have the opportunity to engage with a network of academic, arts and cultural organisations in the UAE and across the region, and access original research material, collections and archives. Additionally, Christidi will instigate, host and participate in public events at Jameel Library, engaging the local community and sharing her work in progress.

Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said, “Writing and research is a particularly precarious endeavour, anywhere in the world, and perhaps particularly in the Middle East, where publishing and distributing new arts books in Arabic and English can be challenging. Art Jameel is thrilled to launch our first award for writing, and that the residency and commission has gone to Nadia Christidi, whose topic of the future of water could not be more urgent and timely – in the cultural field and in all our daily lives.”  

The annual Art Jameel Commissions is foundational to Jameel Arts Centre’s programming, reflecting the institution’s aims to be a multidisciplinary, exploratory space. The third in the Commission’s current three-year cycle, set for 2020, will explore drawing and painting. Art Jameel Commissions is open to artists from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, as well as those from around the world with an interest in and familiarity with these regions.

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