Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and Serpentine Galleries’ Centre for Possible Studies collaborate on an exchange of artist residencies between London and Doha.
“From Neighbourhood to Neighbourhoods” is an international artist residency project co-produced by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the Serpentine Galleries’ Centre for Possible Studies with support from Qatar-UK 2013 Year of Culture and the British Council.
The programme builds on five years of the Serpentine Galleries’ Edgware Road Project and “From Neighbourhood to Neighbourhoods” marks Mathaf’s first residency programme, generating knowledge through developing projects related to Doha’s rapidly expanding urban environment.
Four artists and collectives, as well as the Centre for Possible Studies, will take place in the exchange, each crafting projects that move between the two cities and addressing issues such as urban education and development. Artists include Khalifa Al Obaidly, Alia Farid, Malak Helmy, and Ultra-red.
The residencies not only connect the Edgware Road neighbourhood to the various extended neighbourhoods in the Gulf to which it is historically connected, but also aim to reflect and act upon the needs of our constantly shifting cities. The artists involved investigate the possibilities for public life by generating interest in shared spaces, values, and responsibilities over the development of these neighborhoods that shape our cities.
The project is co-curated by Janna Graham (Project Curator, Serpentine Gallery), Amal Khalaf (Interim Projects Curator, Serpentine Gallery) and Michelle Dezember (Deputy Director for Programming and Special Projects, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art).
Khalifa Al Obaidly is a Qatari artist and runs the Msheireb Arts Centre. The Msheireb Arts Centre is located in a converted 1950s school building on the edge of the ‘Heart of Doha’ construction site in Doha, Qatar. The centre houses the ‘Sadaa Al Thikrayat’ (English for ‘Echo Memory’) an artist-led initiative to record and collect a wide range of artefacts, stories and memories from Msheireb, Qatar’s earliest suburb, as the area undergoes extensive regeneration.
Alia Farid is a transdisciplinary artist and curator. Alia Farid was born in Adan, Kuwait in 1985. She has lived in Kuwait City, San Juan, Boston, Dubai, and most recently Barcelona. Alia Farid is currently a member of Counter Corporation established in 2008 by a group of MIT and Harvard University graduates, and has participated in the Independent Studies Program (PEI) at the MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona). She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from La Escuela de Artes Plasticas in Puerto Rico, and a Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT.
Malak Helmy is an artist based in Cairo and Doha. Her research surrounds the relationships between constructions of language and place. In 2008, Helmy co-founded the collective Pericentre Projects, which produced Kharita, an ongoing research-based initiative on urban trajectories in Cairo, and the seminar On Excess. She received her MFA in Social Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2010 and her BA from the American University in Cairo in 2005.
Ultra-Red is a sound art collective that includes artists, researchers and organisers from a range of social movements. The group have produced radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, installations, texts and public space actions. Addressing acoustic space as enunciative of social relations, Ultra-red compose protocols for participatory acoustic investigations (termed Militant Sound Investigations) of contested spaces and histories that directly engage the organising and analyses of political struggles.
The Centre for Possible Studies serves as the genesis of the project. As the itinerant headquarters of the Serpentine Galleries’ Edgware Road Project, of the Centre brings together artists, residents, shop-owners and others to investigate, activate and imagine futures for the Edgware Road. International artists collaborate closely with the neighbourhood through a series of residencies, commissions and exhibitions.
The Centre for Possible Studies team is comprised of Janna Graham and Amal Khalaf. Both Janna and Amal will work closely across Mathaf’s Education and Curatorial Departments to develop and deliver the framework for these projects. Amal will undertake a reidency as the Centre for Possible Studies in Doha during the months of December 2013 and January 2014. This institutional sharing will generate important reflections on strategies for galleries/museums that work with artists on civic engagement.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, directed by Abdellah Karroum since June 2013, opened in Qatar in December 2010. As part of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is a pioneering institution with a unique collection, an extended research program, and original exhibitions. Using art as primary material for reading history and producing and sharing knowledge, the Museum is a place for education and debating ideas. Mathaf is designed as an inspiring space for dialogue and scholarship about modern and contemporary art in Qatar, the region, and the world. Mathaf’s team develops exhibitions and other related educational, cultural, and publication-based programs in connection with local, regional, and international art scenes. It does so in order to offer rich and diverse programming that supports education and developing original content while also respecting local ethics and values.
The Programming and Special Projects Department, led by Michelle Dezember, seeks to address a wide range of interests, building relationships with local, regional, and international constituents who share Mathaf’s vision and mission by experimental projects. The goal of these initiatives is to experiment, collaborate, and create opportunities for discussion and learning about art on a global stage.