A Season for Regrounding: Warehouse421’s Fall 2022 Program Focused on Local Food Security and Ecologies


Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi's home-grown arts and design center, announces its fall 2022 program, A Season for Regrounding, which features two major exhibitions and an extensive public program focusing on creative and communal approaches to reconnecting with the environment.


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The program, running from September 21 until December 25, will include the second iteration of the exhibition On Foraging: Food Knowledge and Environmental Imaginaries in The UAE's Landscape, which was first presented at the United Arab Emirates Pavilion in Expo 2020. The group presentation opens to a wider public inside the gallery spaces at Warehouse421 this fall, featuring new commissions and research on food security in the UAE.


The fall 2022 program will also see the opening of Let me tell you something, the first institutional solo exhibition for UAE-based artist Mohamed Khalid. Resulting from Warehouse421’s Artistic Development Exhibition Program, the exhibition features seven new commissioned works produced this year.


The fall 2022 program features more than 35 talks, workshops, symposia and special events that are a mindful exploration of creative and communal approaches to thinking about climate action. One of the most extensive and robust public engagement programs presented by Warehouse421 yet, the season highlights alternative ways of existing within our natural ecosystem that challenge anthropomorphic viewpoints, bringing back direct, bodily and tangible engagement with traditional sources of wisdom.


Highlights from the program include offerings that respond to themes addressed in the On Foraging exhibition, such as How to Sit Under A Tree, a meditative workshop led by artist Nahla Tabbaa that explores Mina Zayed’s resilient ecosystem; a nature and food focused edition of Warehouse421’s Culture Bus; and a food-related lecture performance by artists Moza Al Matrooshi and Tabbaa. Other exciting and notable events include trips to farms across Abu Dhabi; photowalks in ecological sites such as Jubail Mangrove Park and Wathba Fossil Dunes; a father-daughter tour of Mina Zayed’s food markets; and a collaborative sustainability workshop that invites participants to create a site-specific, large scale installation made from waste collected by the  beach. The season will also include an outdoor market, Playing with Nature, that brings together locally-based artists, artisans, educators, and creatives to showcase a range of sustainably made products. The market will run across two days and will include activities and workshops, as well as live music performances, that children and families can enjoy.


The season was developed by Warehouse421 and includes the participation of partner organizations such as Services for Educational Development, Research and Awareness for Inclusion (SEDRA); Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR), The Institute of Emerging Art, 100/100: Hundred Best Arabic Posters, Gulf Photo Plus and others.


"It seems more pertinent than ever for cultural institutions to continue the conversation around climate change and the environment. This season at Warehouse421, we’ve decided to extend it beyond our exhibition space and into our public programming, engaging audiences of all ages and backgrounds to consider the importance of how our ecologies and immediate natural environment influences our culture, traditions and overall ways of life,” says Faisal Al Hassan, Head of Warehouse421.  “Collaboration is at the core of what we do at Warehouse421. We are delighted to bring together local and regional organizations, researchers, collectives, and artists to present a program that pushes this necessary conversation forward through thoughtful and accessible community engagement."


A detailed breakdown of the exhibitions and public program is provided below.


On Foraging: Food Knowledge and Environmental Imaginaries in the UAE’s Landscape

October 9 to December 25, 2022

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First presented in the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020, On Foraging is a group exhibition that explores what it means to be in constant search of nurturing and feeding, for the individual and the collective, within seemingly arid environments. Given the rising global challenges and issues around climate change, this exhibition considers the long and multifaceted history of an environment that has for generations fed its own people in a rich variety of ways. Presenting reserves of cultural and agricultural knowledge that have been passed down through generations and that continue until today, On Foraging reveals the work that goes into unearthing the landscape through a confluence of personal and collective narratives, and ultimately calls for historical food knowledge to be brought forward, reexamined, and rediscovered.


This second iteration of the exhibition builds on this important conversation, opening it up to wider public viewing with new commissioned works and research, as well as a second edition of the accompanying publication that reflects these additions. Curated by Dima Srouji, Faysal Tabbarah, and Meitha Almazrooei, the exhibition features works by 14 UAE-based and regional artists including: Auguste Nomeikaite, Eileen Vazquez, Paola Sakr, Reem Falaknaz, Shaikha Al Mazrou, Ammar Al Attar, Abdullah Al Saadi, Abir Mnasria and Zaina Khayyat, Vikram Divecha, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Moza Almatrooshi, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Nujoom Al Ghanem, Nahla Tabaa.


The eponymous publication, which was first published with the presentation at Expo 2020 and is edited by the curators, features  research, interviews, personal reflections and narratives that expand on the ideas presented and explored in the exhibition.  The 200-page book includes interviews with central figures in the UAE such as Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, and  Mohammed Jouan Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the Board of The Farms, who shed light on the ways in which public and private entities can collaborate to tackle food security issues. Dr. Alamira Reem Bani Hashem interviews Dr. Merle Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Plant Life Sciences at the University of Arizona, who worked on experimental agriculture projects in Abu Dhabi in the 1960s. Other contributors are Fatema Al Mulla; Dr. Majid Al Qasimi, Greg Ohannessian, and Alpha Kennedy;  Auguste Nomeikaite, Ali Karimi and Hamed Bukhamseen; Todd Reisz; Dalal Musaed Al Sayer; Sundar Raman; Mays Al Baik; and Deepak Unnikrishnan.


For the first time at Warehouse421, tactile books were developed  for the exhibition by the Warehouse421 Education Department featuring translation in English, Arabic and Braille. The books are designed for children and People of Determination with visual impairments to experience the exhibition in an accessible and immersive way.


Mohamed Khalid: Let me tell you something

October 9 until December 25, 2022

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Let me tell you something is the first institutional solo exhibition by UAE-based artist Mohamed Khalid, resulting from Warehouse421’s Artistic Development Exhibition Program, a capacity-building initiative that supports the professional and creative development of early to mid-career creative practitioners. Organized in partnership with The Institute for Emerging Art, the exhibition examines the materiality of everyday objects and coaxes out their metaphoric potential, exploring the connectivity of the artist's subjects and their frangible correlation to human beings.

Featuring seven new works produced this year, including conceptual photography, installation and series of cyanotype prints and drawings, Let me tell you something explores  the search for connection by examining the systems that combine to form communication, from handwriting to technological algorithms to scraps of paper, all drawing from real-life episodes of missed communication. The exhibition text is written by art and culture writer Melissa Gronlund titled A Letter Always Arrives.

Mohamed Khalid is an alumnus of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF) and Campus Art Dubai 7.0, with previous group shows exhibited at Art Dubai, Warehouse421, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


All Warehouse421 exhibitions are open to the public and free to attend. Both exhibitions will include in-gallery activities for families, audio tours, and bi-weekly docent tours.


Talks, Workshop, and Special Events

From September 21 until December 25, 2022


A Season for Regrounding presents a wide-ranging public program with more than 35 talks, workshops and special events, as well as a symposium and an outdoor market that are designed to remind us that the natural environment has directly shaped our cultures, traditions and lifestyles and bring us closer to this potent source of knowledge. It is dedicated to stripping away the packaging, breaking down barriers, and reconnecting our minds, bodies, and beings with the original teacher.


Starting from September onwards, audiences can join an online talk series Screening Screaming: (Human) Nature in Crisis, presented by Warehouse421 BICAR as part of Warehouse421’s Curatorial Development Exhibitions Program (CDEP).  The talk series runs until 13 December 2022 and explores ideas around artistic practice and the ’Anthropocene’ – human transformation of nature – drawing on knowledge from land as well as contemporary philosophical, political, and ethical debates, to grasp the critical role of creating in the midst of ecological catastrophe.⁠ Speakers include artist Ho Rui An, architect Frank Ruda, researcher Meitha Almazroui, and philosopher Ben Ware. Talks will be moderated by participants selected through the most recent CDEP open call.


In October, the program will roll out a number of exciting photowalks to ecological sites including Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Desert and Jubail Mangroves Park; and Jamming Sessions, a live home cooking series which brings together chefs and foodies from across the UAE to make their national dishes with the help of a family member. The sessions invite audiences to learn about traditional culinary practices such as pickling, rolling vine leaves, making breakfast spreads and more. Zain Mustafa will take us on a special guided food tour of Abu Dhabi while artist Nahla Tabbaa will lead a guided meditation session in Mina Zayed’s natural ecosystem. Other workshops taking place in October include self-care sessions that introduce participants to making Henna, scented candles, and soaps using all-natural and sustainable resources.  Furthermore, filmmakers and scriptwriters are invited to join a three-day professional development course on creating films sustainably led by Greener Screens.


In November, Al Mahara Diving Center will take participants on a beach cleanup excursion to collect waste and other found items from the beach. Participants will work together alongside artist Sultan Al Remeithi to build a large-scale installation piece that is site-specific and collaborative, growing larger over time as future beach cleanup participants contribute to the artwork. Artists Moza Almatrooshi and Tabbaa will present a lecture performance, The Dinner in the Mountains, which includes a tasting menu experience created based on  their research into and survey of flora in Hatta and Jabal Yanas. In partnership with SEDRA, the program will also offer a series of sensory workshops titled Soul Gardening, that encourages intergenerational connection and bonding through growing plants, decorative gardening and at-home harvesting. 


The Culture Bus will return this fall  to offer exciting tours across the UAE throughout the season. Tours include experiences in the mountains of the UAE, guided trips in Mazaraa and Emirates Hydroponics farms, and trips to Al Qattara Arts Centre and Al Ain Oasis, Dubai Design Week, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Jameel Arts Centre.


Playing With Nature: Outdoor Market

October 29 to 30, 2022

Playing with Nature is an open-air market that brings together locally-based artists, artisans, creatives, and educators to present various activities and products, including local farms, eco-friendly fashion, traditional crafts, and so much more. The two-day event is open to all and will feature live performances by local bands, food trucks, workshops, a family-friendly play space, and raffle-draws.


Trial and Error Design Symposium with 100/100

November 5 and  6, 2022


In November, Warehouse421 will present Trial and Error: A Design Symposium, which includes a program of talks, panels and workshops that audience members can attend. This is the first time the symposium takes place in Abu Dhabi and it will bring together a diverse group of designers and creatives from across the Arab-speaking region. Trial and Error builds on the continued partnership between Warehouse421 and 100/100 Best Arabic Posters which has been running since 2016, and includes a biannual poster design competition that culminates in a public-facing exhibition and catalog.