Six artists and curators selected for the third edition of the three-month residency programme.

We are happy to announce the participants in this year’s A.i.R Dubai residency programme for curators and artists run by The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Delfina Foundation, Art Dubai, and Tashkeel.

A.i.R Dubai 2014 features five artists from across the Middle East and Asia: Nadia Ayari, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan, Sara Al Haddad and Maryam Al Qassimi, who will work alongside curator-in-residence İpek Ulusoy Akgül.

The outcome of the three-month residency will be showcased in an Open Studios Exhibition held in parallel to SIKKA Art Fair in March 2014. In addition, all artists will create new site-specific works for Art Dubai Projects, the fair’s not-for-profit programme of new commissions. Parallel to the residency, the selected artists and curator participate in Campus Art Dubai, the alternative art school by Art Dubai, held in collaboration with Dubai Culture, to further develop their practice in the lead up to March.

New in 2014, A.i.R Dubai will offer practitioners the opportunity to engage with the resident artists and local arts scene through short-term, multidisciplinary residencies, ranging from two weeks to one month. Artists, writers and curators participating in these residencies will be announced shortly.


İpek Ulusoy Akgül previously served as the curatorial associate at Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul (2012-2013), where she coordinated new media exhibitions and commissions. Ipek has worked at various museums and arts organizations such as The Whitney Museum of American Art (2009-2010) and Independent Curators International (ICI) (2010) in New York, as well as the 9th and 10th Istanbul Biennials, Sakip Sabanci Museum (2005-2007), and Galeri Mana (2011-2012) in Istanbul.

Nadia Ayari currently lives in New York, USA. She received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Ayari has had solo shows at The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, USA (2011). She has participated in group exhibitions at the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece (2013); and the West Windsor Art Center, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA (2012). Her works can be found in collections of the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece; and the Saatchi Collection, London, England. Ayari has been awarded fellowships at Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, USA (2009); and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, USA (2006).

Sunoj D moved to Bangalore from Kerala to study at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat (2003). He obtained MFA from Bangalore University (2006). His recent work is inspired by his move from a village to a city, from a house surrounded by paddy fields to an apartment. Sunoj D has had solo shows at the National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi, India (2012); and at the Grosvenor Vadehra, London, UK (2009). He has participated in several shows including the Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi, India (2013); Visversvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore, India (2013).

Maitha Demithan lives and works in Dubai, UAE. She works with photography, digital scans, painting, drawing and photo transfers. Demithan has exhibited at Tashkeel, Dubai, UAE (2009); the Brisbane Biennial, Brisbane, Australia (2009); the UAE Pavilion, Shanghai Expo, Shanghai, China (2010); Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2011).

Sara Al Haddad received her BFA in graphic design from the American University in Dubai, Dubai, UAE (2011). She was shortlisted for the Sheikha Manal Young Artists Award (2011). Al Haddad’s solo exhibitions include Bursting at the Seams (2012), The Pavilion, Dubai, UAE; and I know, I knew(2013) DUCTAC, Dubai, UAE. She has participated in group exhibitions including at Festival Internacional de Videoarte, Camaguey, Cuba; HYBRID IDENTITIES, International Artexpo, Edinburgh, UK; and SIKKA Art Fair, Dubai, UAE (2013).

Maryam Al Qassimi lives and works in Sharjah, UAE. She graduated from the American University of Sharjah. Her work references various imagery and material found in the local community. It is a continuous exploration of the beauty of the vernacular of the United Arab Emirates, and how its interchange of language and societies has helped shape its local “pop culture.” Through her work, Al Qassimi tries to revive the nostalgia associated with this vernacular, along with the appreciation for the materiality, and tactility that has disappeared with the introduction of the digital age.