The Ramadan 2023 Program at 421 Features Immersive Sensory Experiences Highlighting Community and Reflection 


2022-wizard-nebula-ngc7380-al-sadeem-observatory-vespera-smart-telescope-aldrin-gabuya-6422c7b08e10f.jpeg (original)

Image courtesy of Al Sadeem Observatory 



Coinciding with the spring Equinox, and inaugurating the beginning of spring, our Ramadan 2023 program offers visitors the opportunity to slow down and prepare for a fresh start. It features a variety of exciting, immersive sensory workshops and experiences that highlight mindfulness, community, and reflection. 


The program includes listening parties, outdoor night markets, drop-in creative workshops, stargazing excursions, community gatherings, and a supper club. This year’s Ramadan program ushers in the Spring 2023 season and with that lays the foundation for a season’s worth of sensory experiences that allow us to collectively reflect and hone in on ideas that unite us all under starry skies. 


Moonlit Market: An Outdoor Ramadan Night Experience

Dates: April 1 and 2, 2023

Time: 9:00 pm to 1:00 am 

Open to all and free to attend. This event is pet friendly. 


The Moonlit Market brings together a variety of locally-based food concepts, creative businesses, artists, and artisans for two days of community activation. The outdoor plaza will be transformed into a vibrant hub of activity, featuring entertainment for children and families, as well as over 10 different types of creative workshops and drop-in sessions for all to enjoy. 


The Moonlit Market is a great way to experience the season's spirit and connect with the local community. The event’s live performances include a solo performance by the UAE’s first Qanun player Nagham Al Debal. Visitors can also sample a selection of homegrown food concepts that showcase the UAE's vibrant culinary scene. F&B offerings include YalaKombucha, Pink & Greens, House of Pops, Smokin Barrel, Yamasaki, and more! 

Drop-in Market Workshop: Pop-up Stargazing Session with Al Sadeem Observatory 

Dates: April 1 and 2, 2023 

Time: 9:00 pm to 12:00 am


Experience the drop-in stargazing sessions at the Moonlight Market. Organized in collaboration with Al Sadeem Observatory's astronomy team, these sessions feature smart telescopes and give visitors the chance to observe the stars, moon, and distant planets.


The smart telescopes also give participants the opportunity to capture high-resolution starry images of the night sky that can be directly downloaded to any smartphone so that visitors can take a piece of the night sky home with them! 


This session welcomes participants of all ages and is particularly suitable for families with children. Experienced astronomers will guide the session. 


Drop-in Market Workshop: Tasting Session with Mirzam Chocolate Makers 

Dates: April 1 and 2, 2023 

Time: 9:00 pm to 12:00 am


Discover the secrets of bean to factory chocolate making and learn about the flavorful complexity of single origin cacao notes with this highly educational workshop led by the expert chocolate makers from Mirzam. This workshop lasts approximately 45 minutes, and includes the opportunity to taste multiple single origin chocolates. Discover the journey of cocoa beans coming to the UAE from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Open to all ages; but highly recommended from age of 7 and above.


Podcast Listening Party: ‘Art Collectives: From Cover to Cover’ 

Dates: Either April 6, 13, or 20

Time: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm 


You're invited to an immersive auditory experience on April 6, 13, or 20. Participants will listen to episode four of Season 2 of the podcast series 'A Future in the Folds of the Past'. 


The episode, titled ‘Art Collectives: From Cover to Cover’, is an exploration of language, words and literature in the contemporary UAE through the life and work of poet Nujoom Al-Ghanem and the contemporary production of JARA Collective. We will get to know how Al-Ghanem influenced Emirati literature and how JARA contributed to the modern publishing industry. Along those lines, the episode will also paint a picture of literature and publishing in the UAE and how it developed and evolved during the  50 years. 


Following the episode, there will be an open discussion with the interviewees or producers exploring the history of art collectives in the UAE and communal art-making. Refreshments, snacks, and bean bags will be provided, and there will be simultaneous English and Sign Language interpretation. 


'A Future in the Folds of the Past' is a podcast series produced by 421 and Kerning Cultures that commemorates the influence of grassroots art collectives in the UAE and is the only Arabic-language podcast dedicated to contemporary visual arts in a documentary format. The podcast is a journey that explores the UAE's art history, featuring interviews with artists and discussing their legacy and influence on contemporary art.


Discover the podcast here:


Culture Bus

The 421 Culture Bus is back and ready to take you on a journey to domestic locations in the UAE. Our Culture Bus includes discounted rates on tickets and guided tours and transports you to and from Abu Dhabi with a group of like-minded art enthusiasts.


Culture Bus: Bayt AlMamzar

Date: 8 April, 2023


Join us on a journey to Bayt AlMamzar this Ramadan! The evening will include a tour through the Bayt AlMamzar galleries and a community potluck iftar. 


Bayt AlMamzar has been a domestic space since 1983. Today the space houses art studios, residencies, a gallery for exhibitions, a multi-use coworking space for public programs, gatherings, and events, a rooftop space for screenings, dinners, and receptions, and a specialized library collection. Meant as an evolving space that answers the needs of the UAE's contemporary creative community, Bayt AlMamzar invites experimentation and strongly encourages multidisciplinary collaboration.


Culture Bus: Al Sadeem Observatory 

Date: April 9, 2023

Time: 9:00 pm to 1:00 am 


Join us for a unique stargazing experience on the outskirts of the city and observe the moon, stars, planets, and other cosmic objects using traditional and smart telescopes. 


Chef Kuv’s Supper Club

Date: 15 April 2023

Time: Iftar time onwards 


Join us around the table for a sensorial and flavourful supper club experience with Chef Kuv! This Iftar table takes you through otherworldly menus and expressive plates. Known for his secret menus that are revealed only to the participants joining the experience, will be inspired by the spring equinox and the rituals of Nuwroz.


Chef Kuv, an architect from the UK, pioneered the supper club dining culture in the UAE, having kickstarted the movement about five years ago. He has a loyal following of veteran members of Kuv's Secret Supper Club, who have enjoyed over 100 menus featuring cuisines from all over the world. Chef Kuv's approach to culinary experiences is focused on community-building and communal sharing, strongly emphasizing nutrition and depth of flavors backed by thorough research.


Current Exhibitions


And The Mirrors Are Many

On view until May 8, 2023


And The Mirrors Are Many investigates institutional repositories of memory–the museum, the memorial and the archive–and poses the questions: why do we remember, and how? By examining these contemporary modes of remembering, the exhibition considers the relationship between remembrance and history and reflects on the aesthetics, techniques, provenance, and language that are deployed in the process of memory-making. 


Referencing the Mahmoud Darwish poem, On the Last Evening on This Earth in the title, this exhibition asks us to examine our shared histories through the lens of ongoing catastrophe that spans human history. 


And The Mirrors Are Many explores the persistence of catastrophic events that continue to inscribe upon the present through traces, armatures, and echoes. Featuring annotations spread across the gallery spaces, as well as new commissions, And The Mirrors Are Many spans a myriad of mediums, from sculpture, video, and installation, to photography, printmaking and textiles.  


Contributing artists in this exhibition are Maitha Abdalla, Rand Abdul Jabbar, Reem Al Menhali, Emii Alrai, Moza Almatrooshi, Nasser Alzayani, Hadeyeh Badri, Rohini Devasher, Vikram Divecha, Mirella Salamé, Sara Smarrazzo, Dima Srouji, and Fatima Uzdenova.  


And The Mirrors Are Many is curated by Mona Al-Jadir and emerged from a year-long journey as part of the 421 Curatorial Development Exhibition Program in collaboration with The Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) and with mentorship from curator Sabih Ahmed.  


Mahshid Rafiei: Of Mythic Proportions

On view until May 8, 2023


The first solo exhibition presenting the work of Mahshid Rafiei, Of Mythic Proportions is a large-scale installation of five newly commissioned works. This installation, which takes up the entire space in Gallery 1, suggests that illusion is not the antithesis of truth but a co-conspirator, guiding us in a world of loss. Of Mythic Proportions includes sculptures and sound pieces where elements are intentionally hidden to offer a deceptive reading, and asks us to consider how art provides a stand-in for what might be missing. 


Through this play on illusion and perception, Rafiei explores the myth of origin and the aesthetic processes of its conservation. One of Mahshid Rafiei’s inspirations for this exhibition was a 19th-century poem by a Bedouin woman. To assuage the grief of a she-camel in her flock who had lost a calf, she inflated the skin of the camel’s dead baby, so that the animal might believe it was still alive.


This exhibition is a result of the 421 Artistic Development Program, which is organized in collaboration with pedagogical partner The Institute of Emerging Art. Of Mythic Proportions is the inaugural presentation of the 2023 edition of the program. 


Curator-led tours of And The Mirrors Are Many

Date: Saturday, April 8 and 22 

Time: 10:00 - 21:00

Join exhibition curator Mona Al-Jadir for a special guided tour of the major exhibition And The Mirrors Are Many. This 45-minute tour will include an in-depth discussion around the themes of the exhibition and an overview of the artworks on display. The tour also includes a performance by artist Reem Almenahli.

Free. Booking is required through the link below: 


Performance by Reem Almenhali

Date: Until May 8, 2023 


In this performance, Reem Al Menhali presents a series of poems of varying lengths, tones, and rhythms to reimagine historical time-keeping. Assuming the position of the ‘Person Standing Outside Time’ in her writing and when observing her own life, Al Menhali creates a fictional calendar that fuses the mythical, the real, and the imaginary. This performance is commissioned by 421.