National Pavilion UAE Announces Volunteer Program for Venice Biennale

calendar-iconTuesday, 17 March, 2009

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, March 17, 2009 – Emiratis and UAE residents are being recruited to welcome visitors at the UAE’s first national pavilion at the international Venice Biennale June 7-November 22 in Venice, Italy.

Volunteers will serve as gallery managers and assistants in the UAE Pavilion, working 21-day shifts beginning in May to help with the building of the Pavilion itself, for this major international exhibition, which showcases the art of more than 70 countries. Housing, meals and small stipends will be provided, and volunteers will participate in an arts and culture program that includes free admission to Venice’s museums and cultural attractions.

“This is a unique opportunity to broaden the artistic and cultural exposure of UAE volunteers and we are delighted to have Takatof partner with us on this very important program” according to Dr Lamees Hamdan, Commissioner of the UAE Pavilion.

“Students, practitioners of the arts and anyone interested in the UAE’s art, architectural scene is welcome to apply. The volunteer program is designed to demonstrate to would-be artists, parents, teachers and the public that art is a serious career vocation.”

Takatof will provide a core of the volunteers taking part in Venice. Takatof is a voluntary nationwide social program, developed by the Emirates Foundation to create a culture of volunteering throughout the UAE.

The word ‘Takatof’ means ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ in English, and Takatof volunteers work across key areas of community need – disaster relief, health visiting, school rehabilitation, engaging children with special needs and a popular Ramadan welfare campaign. The organization was established in 2005 under the patronage H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Maytha Al Habsi, Director of the Emirates Foundation’s Takatof Initiative, explained: “Selected Takatof volunteers will serve as guides and cultural ambassadors at the UAE Pavilion. The Venice Biennale is a highly prestigious international art event – it is appropriate that young nationals are prominent in showcasing the nation and its artistic ambitions.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and demonstrate a serious interest in the arts. Applicants under 21 years of age must have a parent or guardian’s signature to apply.

Application forms will be available at UAE National Pavilion manned booths housed at Art Dubai in the Madinat Jumeriah Conference Hall from March 17-21, at the Sharjah Biennial March 19-21, and at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on March 26. Applications are also available at Al Ain and Zayed Universities.

Initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the UAE Pavilion is being developed and presented under the leadership of its Commissioner, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Serving as curator for the UAE Pavilion is Tirdad Zolghadr, an internationally respected curator, critic, professor and filmmaker.

The UAE Pavilion will be titled “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” a playful and provocative name for the country’s first pavilion at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event.

Built in a large and prominent location in the Arsenale—one of the two main areas of the Venice Biennale—the UAE Pavilion will combine scenographic elements and architectural design by the partnership of Rami Farook (founder of the UAE’s Trafic design gallery) and the Belgian architectural collective D’haeseleer & Kimpe & Poelaert, known for its collaborations with visual artists.

The UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and is supported by the Emirates Foundation and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA).

If you would like to volunteer please contact: [email protected] or UAE Pavilion Ofice: +971 (0) 4 705 0436 or call Takatof directly on: 800 TAKATOF (8252863)