Curator announced for UAE National Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Yasser Elshestawi, Curator of the National Pavilion UAE. Courtesy National Pavilion UAE

The National Pavilion UAE for Venice Biennale for Architecture has announced the appointment of Yasser Elsheshtawy, associate professor of architecture at the United Arab Emirates University, as the curator of the 2016 UAE pavilion.

The National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

“We are very proud that the UAE will once again participate in the International Architecture Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, and that Yasser Elsheshtawy will be our curator”, said Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.



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“This is one of the world’s most significant architectural moments and we feel confident that his exhibition will expertly represent our nation’s architectural identity, and further reinforce the emergence of the UAE as a global hub for arts and culture.”

Yasser Elsheshtawy said of his appointment, “It is an honor to be asked to represent the UAE at the Venice Biennale. The urban landscape of the UAE is notable for its humane aspect as well as unrivalled technical achievement, resulting in a truly memorable architectural environment.

“Developing a curatorial vision for the Biennale platform is both challenging and rewarding, and I hope to successfully share the unique characteristics of the UAE’s architecture and culture on the world stage.”

The event will run from May 28th to November 27th 2016.

About Yasser Elsheshtawy

Yasser Elsheshtawy is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the United Arab Emirates University, where he has taught since 1997. He established the Urban Research Lab in 2012 which has become a significant center documenting the urban and architectural landscape of the UAE.

Elsheshtawy’s work focuses on the city, aiming to capture the urban and architectural experience of city dwellers. Specifically his scholarship deals with urbanization in developing societies, informal urbanism, urban history and environment-behavior studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities. Elsheshtawy has authored more than 70 publications in leading international journals and publishing houses, including Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle.

Additionally he edited The Evolving Arab City and Planning Middle Eastern Cities, all of which have become main references on urbanism and architecture in the region. He has been invited to present his research at numerous international institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the ETH/Zurich, the Louvre Auditorium/Paris and the Canadian Center of Architecture/Montreal. Additionally his multimedia work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and New York University.

Elsheshtawy is also responsible for a number of online initiatives, including — a blog on Dubai, hailed by the Guardian newspaper as one of the leading blogs in the world; and which explores the modernist urban and architectural landscape of the UAE.


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