Cover Story

Regional artistic revival

May 20 - 26 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Regional artistic revival

An Abu-Dhabi home-grown arts and design centre is offering painters, visual artists, curators, designers, musicians and performers a chance to breathe life back into their projects that have been affected by Covid-19.

The Warehouse421 Project Revival Fund programme offers artists of multiple disciplines from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asian (MENASA) region, monetary packages that can go up to $2,000 (BD752) to help complete their projects.

Faisal Al Hassan, head of Warehouse421, said: “Our commitment is to support emerging talent in the region and we wanted to find ways to ensure the sustainability of the creative practices that make up our ecosystem. We hope that this fund will offer creatives the much-needed opportunity to continue their projects that were impacted by the current difficulties the world is facing.

“We recognise the importance of maintaining cultural projects and avoiding a harsh interruption in the regional creative production.”

Applications will be evaluated on several guidelines including urgency, budget viability and impact. Any creative above the age of 21 can apply through an online application available in both Arabic and English. Submissions will be screened by a selection committee that includes members of the arts and design centre team and cultural practitioners from the region.

The funds allocated to the selected creatives will cover the costs of producing and finalising projects that are currently on hold, including but not limited to library and digital learning resources, transcription and translation services, rental and purchase of equipment, art materials and other tools that facilitate the continuation while isolating at home.

Faisal added: “This is open to creative practitioners from all disciplines including music, literary arts, performance art, curation, design and so on. They are all welcome to apply with projects that have been interrupted due to the pandemic and feature topics that are engaging with issues relevant to the MENASA region.”

Eligible applicants are also the ones not currently receiving financial support for their practice. 

Some of the selected projects will have the opportunity to be part of the art centre’s programme of exhibitions and community-wide initiatives as well.

Many European Union countries are also supporting the arts and have introduced measures aimed specifically at helping culture sector workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Popular Bahraini artist Ramah ALHusseini is delighted to hear this and believes there should be funding for the arts in general. She said: “It such wonderful news to hear about funding for the arts within the region, for the region, by the region, and having an open call for it is even greater. You never know what gems you might find if you don’t give creatives the chance.

“I hope to hear more of such investments in the creative world especially for Middle Eastern artists and creatives.

“It’s been long over due. Art and culture has taken a back seat for too long in the Middle East which is very sad, as the rest of the world places them on silver platters. I’m not talking about commercial institutions where their number one goal is to make money. I’m talking about education. You have institutions, colleges and universities dedicated to the arts and culture; degrees that would take years to achieve. And even then after, there is more to learn.

“A lot still don’t realise how important art and culture is. With proper funding and investment given to deserving creatives and/or institutions, we can revive our history and enrich our future.”

To apply, visit and the deadline for submission is May 30.

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