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Kuwaiti artists awarded inaugural Art Jameel commission for new Dubai culture complex

Alia Farid and Aseel AlYacoub will create a light-up botanical garden linking both wings of the Jameel Arts Centre

Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub's Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees (2018). Commissioned by Art Jameel for the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Images courtesy of the artists Commissioned by Art Jameel for the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Courtesy of the artists

Two Kuwaiti female artists will transform the new Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai with a botanic garden of artificial hybrid trees made using light technologies. Alia Farid and Aseel AlYacoub, will work on the joint site-specific installation, entitled Contrary Life: a Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees, which is the first artist commission awarded by Art Jameel.

The non-profit, Saudi-based foundation, which is also the organisation behind the prestigious Jameel Prize, announced last year its intention to expand with a permanent space in the United Arab Emirates. The Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai Creek—which will house an open-access research centre and library, events space and an outdoor sculpture area—is scheduled to open later this year.

“The site-specific installation [by Farid and AlYacoub] acts as a community botanical garden, and will connect the two wings of the Jameel Arts Centre,” a press statement says. The work has a production budget of $70,000.

Jury members for this year’s commission include James Lingwood, the co-director of the UK public art body Artangel, and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, the president of the Sharjah Art Foundation. The second Art Jameel commission in 2019 will focus on research, followed by a commission for drawing and painting in 2020.