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Warehouse 421, Abu Dhabi Overview

Warehouse421 is an innovative initiative that adds to the cultural ecosystem of Abu Dhabi. It was designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group, where two former industrial warehouses in Mina Zayed were transformed into an opportunity for artistic expression. Started in November 2015, Warehouse421 displays the work of over 200 local and regional artists.

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Exhibitions at Warehouse 421

Warehouse421 is home to the two most recent exhibitions presented by the United Arab Emirates at the Venice Biennale in 2017, and will be on display until June 24th, 2018. The country first participated in the international art exhibition, Venice Biennale in 2009. Various countries of the world compete for the Best National Pavilion at the art exhibition. The United Arab Emirates has secured its pavilion on a semi-permanent lease, and thus holds an art exhibition and an architectural exhibition in odd-numbered and even-numbered years respectively.

The exhibition ‘Untold Stories Retold’ at Warehouse421 uncovers the country’s involvement in one of the art world’s oldest institution. This initiative allows people to understand the art exhibition ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’, and the architecture exhibition ‘Transformations: The Emirati National House’, presented by the United Arab Emirates as the national exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2017.

Special Events

Warehouse421 hosts its very own ‘Wednesdays at the Warehouse’, which includes a series of free film screenings, interactive art workshops and discussions, all held on Wednesdays at Warehouse421. It is a unique way for people to get involved in the art and cultural scene. The films presented allow the viewers to understand important physical, emotional, mental and socio-political issues of the world.

It also holds a number of performances and workshops. Some of the past performances include ‘And Here I Am’, ‘The Journey of the Pearl’ and ‘Parting Words’, and are performed in either Arabic or English. The workshops usually take place for a duration of 2 to 3 hours, and cover a variety of skills, such as greeting card making, film-making, mold making, weaving, photography and more. The fee for the workshops is inclusive of the various materials required. One can register for upcoming workshops on the Warehouse421 website.

Warehouse421 has its very own summer club, with introductory, intermediate and intensive workshops, for those interested in the creative process. These include working with textiles, leather and digital art. The art centre has also hosted a number of art and entertainment events in the past, such as Project Warehouse, Creative Weekender, Galleries Week, Open Studio, and the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (2016 and 2018).

Background and Purpose

Housed in two former industrial warehouses, the Warehouse421 is host to a number of exhibitions, workshops and film screenings, providing a glimpse into the cultural scene in the country.

This arts-and-culture initiative is supported by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. The vision of the foundation is to inspire people to become more involved in the arts, culture, and heritage and to help strengthen the local arts and cultural ecosystem in the country, thus leading to this artistic initiative.

The objective of Warehouse421 is to ensure that creative disciplines are viewed, shared and appreciated. It allows people to enjoy the works of other artists, as well as explore art and creativity through various interactive platforms such as workshops, exhibitions, talks, performances and community events.

With the aim of providing a platform to celebrate art and creativity, Warehouse421 is a unique space for local, regional and international artists and designers to share their art. Its art and design studios also create an environment suitable for creative development for artists.

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