Staff report

Dubai:  A new contemporary art space, The Pavilion Downtown Dubai, is set to open on Thursday February 24. The non-commercial space aims to provide a place to view, discuss and participate in work by local and international artists.

Burj Khalifa Dubai
Burj Khalifa Dubai

The building hosts two gallery spaces. It was formerly a sales office and is situated in Downtown Dubai, opposite the Burj Khalifa.

The Pavilion will present an annual programme of exhibitions, public art initiatives and will develop direct audience participation in two spaces: Gallery One and Gallery Two.

A cafe will open, as well as a cinema, espresso bar and library.

Bike rentals will also soon be on offer for those who wish to experience Downtown Dubai.

Public arts — including a 40 metre banner that is commissioned annually and wraps around the corner of the building’s façade, as well as outdoor sculptures and installations — will be visible from the street and neighbouring buildings. Book launches, artist talks, film screenings, musical performances, workshops and children’s events will create opportunities to engage artists, writers, students, scholars and the public to contribute to the cultural landscape of Dubai.

A series of sculptural installations will be exhibited on the front lawn throughout the year. The first is an architectural installation by Lebanese interior designer Pierre Abboud. This untitled piece was created in honour of UAE national day on December 2, 2010.

The new art space will present an opening programme including a panel discussion and sound performance on Thursday.

Cell-phone videos

For the first annual banner commission, Haig Aivazian will present The Unimaginable Things We Build, a film strip comprising stills from user-generated cell-phone videos documenting the historic launch of the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.

Currently living in Chicago, Aivazian is an artist, curator, writer and the associate curator for the upcoming Sharjah Biennial 10. His work investigates the intersections between the migration of peoples, the circulation of consumer goods and the propagation of ideologies. A unique light installation by James Clar will also inaugurate Gallery One. A media artist whose work is a fusion of technology, popular culture, and visual information, Clar explores the limitations of various communication mediums and their effect on the individual and society.

The first exhibition in Gallery Two will be an installation by street graffiti artist The Bow Terrorist. The Bow Terrorist stencils minimal and humorous phrases and ‘bow’ tags in arbitrary locations across the city. Lebanese electro-acoustic musician Tarek Atoui will present extracts from his Un-drum sound performances during the opening reception.