421 Arts Campus Announces Spring 2024 Exhibitions and Public Programs

Taking place from April 19 onwards, the Spring 2024 Program titled Reverberations features the New York University Abu Dhabi 2024 MFA Graduate Show, and an exhibition by Mona Ayyash: The Clock Doesn’t Care

4-copy-66028e5f014b3.jpg (original)

Mona Ayyash: The Clock Doesn’t Care 

Part of the Artistic Development Program 

On view from May 16 to August 25 


On a Timeline: 2024 MFA Graduate Show 

Group exhibition in partnership with New York University Abu Dhabi 

On view from May 16 to August 25 


Spring 2024 Program: Reverberations 

Workshops, talks, and special events 

Running from April 19 to June 9


We are thrilled to present our Spring 2024 Program: Reverberations. Running from April 19 onwards, this season features two major exhibitions, and fourteen workshops and special events that focus on reframing our worldview, and offers critical reflections on the current times we’re living in. Opening on May 16 are the exhibitions On a Timeline: 2024 MFA Graduate Show, a group exhibition featuring the work of New York University Abu Dhabi’s Art and Media graduates, along with a solo exhibition by artist Mona Ayyash titled The Clock Doesn’t Care, who is part of this year’s edition of the 421 Artistic Development Program. 

Running in tandem with these exhibitions, the Spring 2024 program promises a series of workshops, talks, and special events that revolve around collective activations, movement, healing, and dialogue, inviting visitors to find ways to cope with and understand the world in times of constant change. From an overload of information, live streams, the rise of Artificial Intelligence, and the tangible effects of political and climate change, Reverberations aims to echo and rebuild a community of hope. The program is focused on reframing our worldview and reflecting on the current times that we’re living in. With a range of workshops, Jamming Sessions, and more, Reverberations is a response to an ongoing social, political, environmental, and technological disruption. 

The current Winter 2024 exhibitions, Network Culture and Hana El-Sagini: Counting Fingers, will continue into the spring season and be on view until April 28. The exhibitions will also feature activations from selected artists as part of the closing reception. 

“Our public programs are designed to encourage creative experimentation and learning, and both exhibitions this season are the culmination of 421’s ongoing efforts to nurture emerging artists and provide them with a platform to further their practices. Both exhibitions are rooted in this idea of witnessing the passing of time and as such the Spring 2024 program responds to ideas explored in the exhibitions by encouraging inquiry into the changes we are experiencing around us currently,” said Faisal Al Hassan, Director of 421. “The exhibitions on view both support emerging artists by giving them the platform to present these introspective works to the wider community, while allowing them to engage in dialogue and further critical conversations about issues relevant to our region today.”

A detailed schedule of the Spring 2024 program is outlined below:

Upcoming Exhibitions


Mona Ayyash: The Clock Doesn’t Care

Part of the Artistic Development Program

On view from May 16 until August 25, 2024

Gallery 1


In her first solo exhibition, The Clock Doesn’t Care, Mona Ayyash presents six major video works featuring repetitive performative gestures and non-functional movements. Filmed in collaboration with an ensemble of actors, dancers, and performance artists, the videos were created through an extractive process that layers and connects found compositions, blurring the lines between performance and moving image. 


Selected through an open call, the artist’s collaborators committed to a long-term creative process where they contributed to the work by filming themselves responding to movement prompts that encouraged them to seek out compositions using light, shadow, color, and form. Working like an archeologist, Ayyash excavates fragments of the submitted footage and edits them to be layered one on top of the other or side-by-side, constantly changing, accumulating and subtracting. The outcome abandons linearity by framing performative gestures as voluntary, intentional movements, mimicking non-noticeable, everyday, minute movements of the body. 


This project grew from the artist’s earlier participation in the Homebound Residency Program in 2021, where she produced a video work titled Folding Bellies that was also filmed in collaboration with participants and culminating in a final video work. 

Ayyash is participating in the 2024 cycle of the 421 Artistic Development Program, organized in partnership with The Institute for Emerging Art. The Artist Development Program is a capacity-building program that gives UAE-based artists the opportunity to develop a major body of work that culminates in a solo exhibition. 


On a Timeline: 2024 MFA Graduate Show

Showcase of artworks from the New York University Abu Dhabi Master of Fine Art in Art and Media

On view from May 16 until August 25, 2024

Gallery 2

On a Timeline: 2024 MFA Graduate Show presents the work of graduate students completing the two-year Master of Fine Arts in Art and Media at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). 

Marking the third year of collaboration and an expanded partnership between 421 Arts Campus and NYUAD, the exhibition showcases the research and experimentation of the 2024 MFA cohort who visualize questions and ideas in expansive ways that provide valuable insights into our contemporary global condition. On a Timeline features projects by Sara Alahbabi, Ciel Arbour-Boehme, Zara Mahmood, Fatima Al Romaithi, and Farah Soltani. The exhibition features explorations through drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and mixed media. 

Through the intimate and mindful practice of walking, Sara Alahbabi explores neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi, specifically the streets and alleys of Al Khalidiya, where she reflects on her relationship to the city and its communities.  Alahbabi’s project challenges stereotypes of the cityscape and considers the artist’s position as an Emirati woman traversing these locations. 


In Ciel Arbour-Boehme’s work, audiences are compelled to question and abandon habitual responses by navigating a series of spatiotemporal disjunctions. Here, the artist is not concerned with control but rather disruption, presenting a work that invites visitors to respond intuitively to a space that features corridors, surveillance screens, eerie surfaces, and nudges. 


Zara Mahmood’s project reflects the dissonance between the haziness of the sky in Dubai and the reality of pollution in the city’s atmosphere. The artist presents intimate studies of the boundless landscape above, including a series of observational drawings and photo-transfers on handmade leaf paper. These works probe the materiality of the sky and the invisible phenomena lying beyond the periphery of vision. 


Exploring nostalgia and childhood mischief, Fatima Al Romaithi delves into the cultural history of the United Arab Emirates through a playful study of treats and candies from the 90s. 


Farah Soltani presents a series of sculptural forms, created based on inspiration from the everyday and the ordinary. Taking these structures through numerous articulations, each of her works embodies a particular identity that comes into dialogue with the surrounding space based on its position and location. 


This collaboration between 421 and NYUAD supports the production of emergent contemporary practices from the region through facilitating explorations by MFA graduates. The yearly exhibition offers graduate students a platform to showcase their artistic research and growth developed throughout their academic program, emphasizing the significance of sharing their work with the broader community.


The two-year Master of Fine Arts in Art and Media at NYUAD is the first program of its kind in the UAE. The program leverages Abu Dhabi's location as a global hub for the exchange and dialogue in the arts and culture. 

Spring 2024 Program 

April 19 to June 9, 2024 


Performance Co/Lab 

Date: April 21, May 5, May 26, and June 9


Performance Co/Lab is an open invitation to all performing artists, creatives, and curious individuals looking to explore movement practices. Through a sustained program, participants will explore performance exercises such as contact improvisation, breath work, acting warm-ups, games, and techniques. Each session will introduce new and unique exercises throughout the duration of the Performance Co/Lab program. Performance Co/Lab is a gathering facilitated by the community for the community.


Khayal with Early Starters

Date: April 21 (TBC), May 5, and June 2

Join us for an all-new Khayal Series with Early Starters this spring, where we explore more about the themes of our season’s program, ‘Reverberations’.

Stay tuned for more information on the books for our reading circle and the hands-on activities.

This session is suitable for families with children 6 and over. Parents and guardians are welcome to join the session and support their little ones.


Closing Reception: Winter 2024 Exhibitions

Date: April 27

Join us for the Winter 2024 Exhibitions closing program featuring tours and workshops that give audiences a final chance to view and experience the exhibitions Hana El-Sagini: Counting Fingers and Network Culture.



Reflections on Courage through Clay

Date: April 27

Discover the profound history of ceramics as a means of healing and self-expression in contemporary art, while also learning about artist Hana El-Sagini’s practice and her exhibition ‘Counting Fingers’, a major new body of work featuring over 200 ceramic pieces.

In this workshop, we dive into our personal adversities through a writing exercise while learning about clay as a medium. Later, we will draw sketches that represent the emotions explored in the writing exercise, recreating them as a way to channel our inner struggles.



Rhapsody of Relations

Date: April 27

Join us in a workshop led by artist Engy Mohsen, a participant in the group exhibition, Network Culture. The artist will take us through the work featured in the exhibition, which is titled How to love many in many ways. The interactive installation is based on an open-edition collection of games, exercises, and playful texts that depart from expanded notions of “love”.

Love is so big a concept that it can be grasped and interpreted in innumerable ways; it frames our relationships and the way we connect with ourselves and everything in our surroundings. Here, we will be participating in a series of games with the artist to learn more about each other and our love languages.

Jamming Session: Galnish with Elita & Anita
Date: May 23

Join mother-daughter duo Elita and Anita for this Jamming Session! They will be teaching us how to make a beloved Chechen dish steeped in tradition called Galnish. Beyond its hearty garlic-infused flavors, Galnish represents a connection to Chechen heritage, embodying the resilience and resourcefulness of its people. Under Elita's homechef wing, participants will learn not just the culinary technique, but also the significance behind each step of the process.

Jamming Session: Sri Lankan Flavors
Date: May 26

Join duo Salmaan and Fazmina this Jamming Session for a Sri Lankan Sunday lunch!

Participants will be working together in groups to make various dishes and components that will add to the spread. Together, they will be preparing a set menu of parippu (dhal or lentils), brinjal or wambatu moju (fried and pickled eggplant), chicken curry and papadum that will be paired up with ‘kaha bath’ or yellow rice. Lunch will be served on banana leaves accompanied by thambili or king coconut.

Journey to Liberation: Readings on Subversive Literature
Date: June 2 and 9

Introducing our new reading group series: Journey to Liberation: Readings on Subversive Literature. We’re inviting writers and readers from the community to join us on a bi-monthly basis to read and connect over a selection of short stories and excerpts. Within these sessions, participants will be able to meet up in our reading room, reflecting on and connecting over themes of the text together. The itinerary will include a brief re-reading time before the conversations begin. 


Movement in Diaspora: Healing Methods in Folkloric Practices
Date: June 9

Join us for an immersive movement workshop inspired by folkloric dance traditions. The workshop will explore Circassian dance traditions, a cultural practice that has been practiced historically to build communal resilience in the face of struggle.