Hammad Nasar







Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play

‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’ explored a strand of artistic practice in the UAE through the analogy of play. Featuring existing works, re-fabrication of “lost” works and new commissions, the exhibition staged a set of nested questions: where does “playfulness” in artistic practice come from? How and where is “play” nurtured? What does “play” do?

The exhibition presented works by five artists who call the UAE home: Nujoom Alghanem, Sara Al Haddad, Vikram Divecha, Lantian Xie and Dr. Mohamed Yousif.


The accompanying publication served both as an additional site of the exhibition, and as its speculative expansion, with newly commissioned texts by contributors including: Aisha Bilkhair; Reem Fadda and Maisa Al Qassemi; Uzma Rizvi; Osman Samiuddin; and Murtaza Vali. Artists, architects and creative writers were also invited to intervene, and respond to the themes of the exhibition, with new commissions by: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian; Deepak Unikrishnan; and, WTD Magazine.

Research for the publication was done in collaboration with Art Jameel.

Series of Programs

Dubai based artist Hind Mezaina was commissioned to develop a program for the National Pavilion UAE exploring the curatorial concepts of  the exhibition. The program, titled ‘Home: Food | Music | Sports’, explored how food, music and sports contribute to building a sense of home and community. The events took place across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. Click here for more information about each event.

Other Programs:

In line with the curatorial premise, several cultural institutions across the UAE were invited to join the conversation in exploring the themes of the exhibition. Some of the institutions include Sharjah Art Foundation, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, Alserkal Programming, Tashkeel, Maraya Art Centre, Art Jameel, Warehouse421 and London-based art school Central Saint Martins. By developing these themes in ways they deem relevant, this served to extend, expand, critique, reflect and respond to the myriad issues that the exhibition catalyzed.

The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi

A series of film screenings of Nujoom Alghanem’s short and feature films, took place in April and May 2017 as part of the gallery’s program for its exhibition But We Cannot See Them: Tracing A UAE Art Community, 1988-2008Click here for more information.

Alserkal Programming 

Board game nights as part of the Ramadan program at Al Serkal Avenue, which took place every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of Ramadan at Nadi Al Quoz. Click here for more information.


Summer Camp 2017, a two-week program or workshops and experimentation, encouraging young people to use their imagination and make art. Click here for more information.


A series of film screenings as part of Summer Camp at Warehouse421. Click here for more information.

Art Jameel

“Research Studio: Annotations,

Interdisciplinary practices of the early 80s, UAE”

Building on the functions of Art Jameel’s Research Studio program focus and library collection, the Project Space in Alserkal Avenue was transformed into a dynamic spatial experience where audiences can interact with the research material produced for the Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play publication. Materials were physically manifested through projected videos, graphic interventions and annotations expanding on multiple topics referred to in the text, extending the research on subjects including: the history of theatre in the UAE and the region, Ahmed Rashid Thani and other key critics’ writings, the role that newspapers played in fostering UAE’s critical cultural masses of the early 80s and other important contributions to the country’s formative history. The space was supplemented with material, books, clippings and recordings. The gallery looked like an active research lab and helps to inform the contemporary art history section in the planned Jameel Arts Centre library. Click here for more information.

Sharjah Art Foundation

“Transforming Evertday Objects” workshop, inspired by Hassan Sharif’s retrospective “I Am The Single Work Artist”, March Project artist Al Anood Al Obaidly takes participants age 18+ through the process of deconstructing everyday found objects such as paper, metal, sponges and plastic in order to produce 3D works. Click here for more information.