National Pavilion UAE - Art Exhibition 2017 Curator


Hammad Nasar


National Pavilion UAE - Art Exhibition 2017 Artists



National Pavilion UAE - 2017 Gallery




Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play

13 May – 26 November, 2017

‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’ explores 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 will stage 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 presents 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 serves 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 have also been 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

In line with the curatorial premise, several cultural institutions across the UAE have been invited to join the conversation in exploring the themes of the exhibition. Some of the confirmed 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 will serve to extend, expand, critique, reflect and respond to the myriad issues that the exhibition may catalyze. More information on the institutions’ programs will be announced soon; you can also follow the story using the hashtags #positionsinplay, #uaeinvenice and #nationalpavilionuae.

Dubai based artist Hind Mezaina has been commissioned to develop a program for the National Pavilion UAE exploring the curatorial concepts of  the exhibition. The program, titled ‘Home: Food | Music | Sports’, explores how food, music and sports contribute to building a sense of home and community. The events will take place across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah between September and November 2017. Click here for details of the events in Abu Dhabi on Saturday 16 September 2016.

Other Programs:

The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi

A series of film screenings of Nujoom Alghanem’s short and feature films, taking 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 will take 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.