Image from 2011 National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates
Image from 2011 National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES |  The National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and supported by the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, has announced the launch of Venice Internship, a highly competitive, specialized program which will see Emirati fellows trained and based in Venice for a month-long tenure managing the National Pavilion art exhibition from 29th May to 24 November 2013.

Initiated in 2009, the National Pavilion runs this specialized opportunity to train UAE nationals to not only take part in the Venice Biennale but to also create a legacy of highly skilled art practitioners in the UAE equipped to take the national contemporary art and cultural scene boldly into the future. For the first time the Venice Internship will be partnering with the Department of Asian and North African studies at the prestigious Ca’ Foscari University Venice which will facilitate the inclusion of six specially selected Italian interns working side-by-side with the Emiratis. This partnership has been developed to foster a true exchange of cultures between the interns and to allow Emirati’s to engage further with Italian customs, language and knowledge thus enhancing their local experience in Venice.

“The National Pavilion of the UAE and its supporters aim to nurture contemporary culture in the Emirates by providing interns with an opportunity to establish both local and international networks which lead to further studies, gainful employment and exhibitions with prestigious artistic and cultural institutions. We will continue to build stronger ties internationally emphasizing our position in Venice while also giving our Italian interns the opportunity to learn about the UAE in depth.” Dr. Lamees Hamdan, Commissioner.

The Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation will be supporting the Venice Internship for the first time. The Foundation’s arts funding program supports emerging and future Emirati artists in developing their talents at the earliest stages of their growth, works to educate and engage the public in art and to build new audiences in the UAE for the arts, and supports efforts to introduce the international community to Emirati artistic talent.

“In the quest to empower our future cultural leaders, we believe that the Venice Internship provides an excellent platform for both local and international exposure to the top echelons of the artistic community as well as cultural exchange emphasized by the inclusion of Italian interns into the program,” said Dr. Salvatore LaSpada, Executive Director, in a prepared statement.

Once awarded a place in the program, the specially selected Emirati interns, drawn from across the UAE, are trained in a basic framework for conversing in the arts in order to engage fluently with the content of the exhibition. They will also have the opportunity to work alongside distinguished curator Reem Fadda, the National Pavilion office, and select practitioners from the greater UAE art scene in the lead-up to the Biennale. This group of 18 interns will then go to Venice to serve in the national pavilion as Exhibition Managers while engaging in a comprehensive art educational program based on the extraordinary art and cultural institutions in Venice and the temporary exhibitions of the Biennale.

“Hands-on experience is an ideal way to learn about best practices in the international arts context, the Venice Internship offers such experience and much more. I look forward to sharing my curatorial process with these bright young Emiratis.” Reem Fadda, Curator.

Recruitment for the Venice Internship will formally begin at the dedicated booth at Abu Dhabi Art from the 7th to 10th of November 2012. An information booth will be set up whereby interested parties may apply to participate in the program or simply engage with staff and volunteers to find out more about the opportunity for 18 Emiratis to spend up to 4 weeks each in Venice from May to December 2013.

Initiated and supported by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the National Pavilion is being developed and presented for the third time under the leadership of its Commissioner, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, and is supported for the first time by the Sheikha Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. Serving as curator for the National Pavilion is Reem Fadda who will present a solo exhibition of esteemed Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem.

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