Although museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas and other cultural spaces are closed during the current lockdown, UAE residents can still discover and explore the local art and cultural scene as well as their own creative side through online talks, workshops, tours and performances organised by UAE based creative organisations. Here’s a selection of online programmes to lift your spirits and enrich your lives.
Free Talks on Art History:
Dubai based British art historian Rose Balston has created a series of free online talks on art and architecture. Balston is a well-known TV presenter, guide, art consultant and founder of Artscapes UK, a cultural tours and events company. Since moving to Dubai in 2015 she has worked on BBC documentaries about the art scene in Dubai and this region and presented lectures on art history at XVA Gallery. Her company’s online platform Artscapes Home currently features informative and entertaining talks about well-known artworks such as Botticelli’s famous painting La Primavera; Las Meninas by Velasquez; The Shrimp Girl by William Hogarth; Leonardo da Vinci’s Burlington Cartoon; the English Baroque architectural style of Nicholas Hawksmoor; and much more. New talks by Balston and other art historians will be added every week on the YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClYLeiWo9Nz6T33LsrcXNgw/.
Free movies by Cinema Akil:
UAE-based independent cinema platform, Cinema Akil has partnered with Mubi, the Video on Demand (VOD) platform for indie films to do free streaming of quality art house films from across the globe. The 90-day free trial, which began on April 2 also gives audiences the chance to watch the films offline on IOS or Android services. 30 films hand-picked by Cinema Akil and Mubi will be on rotating selection every month with a new film being added every day. The selection includes the Indian film 3 Idiots, directed by Rajkumar Hirani; Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Journey to the Shore Kishibe No Tabi; director Anthony Chen’s 1934 film Ilo Ilo and many more. The free streaming is available on https://mubi.com/cinemaakil. For more information and updates visit www.cinemaakil.com.
Online photography workshops by GPP:
Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), which specialises in photography is offering online photography workshops for individuals and groups. Workshops can be customised to suit the skill level, interest, preferred day and time and pace of learning of participants. For more information write to email@example.com.
Financial support for creatives during lockdown:
Art Jameel has launched the Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform, a rapid response micro-funding scheme to help artists, writers, curators, and researchers from the Middle East and North Africa who have been impacted by the cancellation or postponement of local and international creative events in developing their ongoing and new projects. The scheme aims to support up to 50 practitioners in three cycles running until June 7. Online applications for the next cycles must be submitted by April 30 and June 7. The proposals will be considered by an independent jury and eligible applicants will receive up to USD 3,000. For more information visit www.artjameel.org.
Performances at The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi:
The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi is presenting a curated line-up of performances from its archive of programmes presented in past seasons through an online streaming series titled Reconnect. The one-time-only free live streaming programme is presented every Wednesday at 8pm on the Centre’s Facebook page. The initiative enables audiences to chat, share thoughts and interact with the artists fostering a sense of community during this time of physical distancing. The line-up includes stand-up comedy, theatre, music concerts and dance performances. This week, on April 15 audiences can enjoy the world premiere of the Cuban-Khaleeji Project, which weaves together music of the Khaleeji people, the Middle East, Spain, Morocco and Cuba, exploring the traditions and sounds of seafaring cultures across these regions. For updates follow @NYUADArtsCenter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Online performances by The Junction:
BookMyShow has collaborated with Indian talent management agency Big Bad Wolf to launch ‘Live from HQ’ an online platform that will stream free daily performances by well-known artistes such as Vir Das and Prateek Kuhad performing from their homes and studios. The Junction is extending this initiative in the UAE by curating and hosting a line-up of online performances by leading UAE based talents daily from April 12 to April 16 at 7.30pm on its Instagram handle @junctiondubai. The performances include theatre, storytelling, and poetry and are in various languages such as English, Arabic, Hindi, French and Marathi. Performers include Hansraj Shetty, Stephane Baromister, Lydia Medeiros, Malavika Varadhan, Dhruti D’Souza, Medhat Mustafa, Gagan Mudgal, Mohammad Sawi and many others.
Online programme by Warehouse421:
Abu Dhabi based art and design space Warehouse421 has launched an online programme featuring a series of video lessons, podcasts, book readings, community talks and curatorial tours of its ongoing exhibitions. The video lessons in April include workshops on pattern-making, sewing, and jewellery designing and making. The podcasts include a discussion on ‘Art and Artists in Times of Disruption’. For more information visit: https://www.warehouse421.ae/en/whats-on/