You’ve already gotten an overview with Dubai Return. Now lets get into some nitty gritty of the work that happened.
The first part of the trip mostly involved a lot of installation work. As mentioned in an earlier post, the 10th of March didn’t start very well. However, right after I landed in Dubai and took a taxi ride from confusedville to get to our residence an hour and 160 Dirhams later, I had to plonk my luggage and head out once again, straight to the jamjar gallery in Al-Quoz. I was told that the Al-Quoz area is largely an industrial area divided into various districts. However, a lot of galleries have moved to this area and have now housed themselves in the warehouses that line the streets in multitude. Whether it’s financially more feasible for the gallery, or its the Dubai Authorities ‘culturing’ up another part of town, I’m not sure. But I think it’s a brilliant idea anyway. One look at these warehouses and you’ll know why: Wide open spaces, with sky-high ceilings and lots of false walls to move around. SPACE. a gallery’s dream.
I met Hetal Pawani, the head honcho behind the jamjar gallery. What a woman! She is a whirlwind of energy, multi-tasking, information and everything else. For the next 10 days of my stay in Dubai, Hetal took me around the city showing me all that I needed to see or know. It was with her that Dr. Atteqa Ali (Curator) and I saw the Edge of Arabia: Terminal exhibit and several other Bigwig DIFC galleries. We also visited the Sikka Art Fair, a visual arts and performance based festival arranged to showcase the work of local and Emirati artists. It was put up at Al Bastakiya which is one of the few remaining heritage sites of Old Dubai that are still intact. Dr. Atteqa and I were also invited as guest speakers at one of the panel discussions held at the venue. Our co-panelists were two female Emirati artists, Summaya Suwaidi and Dina M. Bin Masoud, and Dr. Sara Sist, an international curator. The panel was moderated by a very eloquent Sonia Brewin.
In the last post (no, not the hatemail one!) I got quick a response to the Goat Ball Incident! Some went as far as calling my madness as the ‘Goat Ball Revolution!’ What fun. But the credit is not mine at all. The Goat Balls are actually part of Hurmat Ul-Ain‘s installation Ingredients Needed For A Great Sacrifice for the Hear Me Roar Show (pictures below).
Now the thing is Hurmat isn’t here in Pakistan, nor was she in Dubai. Because she is neck-deep in her Masters degree studying Performance Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). So what she normally does, in situations where her work has to travel without her, is to send detailed instructions to the curator and has the work assembled/constructed/set up. It so happened, that the work this time needed some fresh Goat Balls. I’m assuming this was symbolic but I still haven’t checked with her on that! Anyway, Dr. Atteqa, the curator, and the jamjar team spent a good couple of days searching for these elusive balls! After making several calls and misguided visits, a lead directed the team to the Dubai meat market. So Atteqa set out, and my best friend Sascha and I joined her to help find her…a pair. Sascha being the male in the group, but with dubious Urdu skills, walked into these predominantly Muslim butcher shops and asked very politely for ‘kapooray‘. We walked in and out of several shops. Atteqa tried her hand at enquiring about the…’kapooras‘. But we just got the most incredulous looks, as if they were trying to size up what satanic debauchery us loose women were planning in tourist sincity! Anyway we found out that ‘kapooras‘ are only available in the mornings and we were late. Apparently the trip the next day was successful (I didn’t go) and the Goat Balls were acquired. However, when all the women refused to clean them out, Umer Butt (God Bless him) did the dirty work and had them squeaky clean for the formaldehyde bottle display. Oh Hurmat….the things we do for Art! I can’t explain how hard I’m finding it to make some nutty jokes. heehee.
Well that’s it. There are several stories about setting up the work but they could be drummed up some other time. But like the girl said “no one likes to eat burnt testicles.”
The show itself looked good. I wish I had more pictures than what I’ve put in below, but I’ll post more as soon as Atteqa and Simone send some my way. Have a look at the websites of Ala Dehgan and Newsha Tavakolian to see what they are about.
HEAR ME ROAR
Image courtesy Simone @ http://www.discoballbreaker.com and others.