Patterns in the MENA Region

17 Apr 2021

Patterns in the MENA Region: Material Culture, Representation and Communities

By Adina Hempel, Atteqa Ali, Janet Bellotto, Kara McKeown, Marie-Claire Bakker, and Sabrina DeTurk.                           

Patterns in the MENA Region is a collection of projects exploring the visual and organizational elements of material culture, representation and community. The projects document and interpret knowledge gathered across creative developments in the UAE and MENA region to form an understanding of cultural identity, while considering history as an underlying organizational structure in today’s material culture and community within the pattern of everyday life. Each of the four research projects considers an aspect that will contribute to a growing understanding of the region’s traditions and customs. The history and traditions of the region have largely been passed down through oral histories. Long-standing trade routes connected the UAE and the Gulf to the rest of the world which are evident in architecture, objects and traditions that have impacted the art, design and cultural arenas in the UAE today. The research findings brought together in a digital collection presented in this exhibition discuss: the documentation of traditional jewelry of the Gulf region primarily through the collection of oral histories tracing the social role played by jewelry throughout the life cycle of women in the project From Cradle to Grave, a Life Cycle in Jewelry; the project Community Collaborations investigates the patterns of community formations across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia including their impact on the development of artistic practices; while the project Writing on the Wall looks at the diverse production of street art in the Middle East and North Africa within the social, political and cultural contexts for this art form; and finally the project City EastWest explores the notion of authenticity and place specificity including how such constructs are formed and influenced through media representation as well as personal experiences.


This work would have not been possible without the support of the cluster research grant by Zayed University and the many supportive individuals: Michael Allen, Kevin Badni, David Howarth, Kimon Keramidas, David Joseph Wrisley, Ayesha AlMarar, Koan Jeff Baysa, Erkki Huhtamo, Norman M. Klein, Liz Gordon, Hetal Pawani, Ingrid Liekens, Marcus Tolledo, Oliver Castelino, Ameena AlJarman and the participating students of the College of Art and Creative Enterprises, Zayed University Abu Dhabi.

Project News

Exhibition: April 18 – May 8, 2021

Preview: April 18, 2021 from 4 – 9 pm (UAE time)

Venue: ZUUSS, Gallery 1 at the Foundry in Downtown, Dubai Location

RSVP under: click here

Research Lecture

Date: April 20, 2021

Time: from 12.30 pm - 1.30pm (UAE time)

Register for the webinar: click here