Introducing 421


Many might remember when we first opened our doors to the public seven years ago today. A newly renovated and repurposed warehouse, our mission was to provide a dynamic space that could be home to exhibitions and events that our community sorely needed at the time. In recent years, however, those needs have evolved and the contours of our cultural landscape have shifted. As we broadened our scope to meet the needs of our ever evolving creative ecosystem, we have become so much more than just a warehouse. As a result, I am pleased to announce that we are now 421.


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421 is a reimagination of Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi’s independent, anti-disciplinary platform dedicated to emerging artists and creative practitioners in the UAE and across the region. Looking back over the past seven years, we’ve made major leaps towards becoming a more inclusive, accessible, and impactful space that supports cultural production. Today's rapidly changing cultural landscape offers a new opportunity to reaffirm our purpose, and consider the future needs of our audiences and communities.


With a portfolio of over forty exhibitions, more than 1000 public programs, and a dedicated and expanding team, 421 is ready to take on the next phase of our journey while keeping our founding principles at the core. We are a nurturing platform with an enriching year-round program that brings artists, practitioners, educators, collectives and people together for greater social transformation.


Yet, social transformation can’t come without the foundational building blocks of openness and connection. Young and early-career practitioners need a place where they can cultivate their practices, harnessing artistic disciplines as agents for social inquiry, lifelong learning and critical reflection. 421 is a site for research, education, and the invaluable process of trial and error.


421 comes with a revived look and feel, paving the way for deeper engagement with every member of our community. Our brand update brings six key logo variations denoting our multiplicity as creative facilitators. Deviating from a traditional brand mark, we embrace playfulness, iterative change, interdependence, and our mission to support the development and growth of our emerging creative communities. This new visual identity allows us to be an even more inclusive and accessible launching pad for the social impact we strive to make year after year.


This brand update comes two years after the roll out of our strategic framework 2020-25, where we’ve set out an ambitious plan to provide the public and our audience with engagement opportunities that break down the rigid categories of creative disciplines, encouraging inter-disciplinary, or what we like to call anti-disciplinary, engagement. From a programmatic perspective, we’ve chosen to focus on capacity-building and educational initiatives that give artists and creative practitioners the tools needed to push their practices into deeper realms of critical questioning, confronting new perspectives that expand the boundaries of their work.


Moving forward, we aim to integrate the physical and digital experiences of our community through a seamless presence that reflects the mission outlined above. Through our strategic framework set out in 2020, our new brand identity and an expansion of our space in the near future, we are working towards continuing our ongoing mission to be a generative space for all. From our online presence to our onsite exhibitions, workshops, talks, special events, publications and educational initiatives, we are more intentional than ever before.


Before concluding, I’d like to thank all of our collaborators and friends who have been valuable contributors to our story from the very beginning. We would not have been able to reach the impactful milestones we have achieved over the past seven years without your invaluable contributions and support.


There’s so much more in store for us in the future. We look forward to taking you all on this new and exciting journey with 421.


Faisal Al Hassan