Category: Culture and Community

Groundbreaking eco-exhibition in partnership with Bee’ah inaugurates gallery




Maraya Art Centre, the innovative contemporary visual arts hub in Sharjah, has announced the launch of 1971, a new design gallery, the first and only of its kind in Sharjah at The Flag Island. 1971 is a non-profit experimental design hub dedicated to exhibiting, displaying, and stimulating discussion around all forms of contemporary design – from graphic, furniture to interiors as well as interactive design and new technologies. The goal of 1971 is to be a regional and international design hub in the UAE that works closely with local designers, architects, schools and universities, to present a contemporary and cutting-edge mix of curated exhibitions and public programmes.




The launch of the new multi-functional design space is being inaugurated through the eco-friendly exhibition ‘ZERO’, sponsored by Bee’ah, The Sharjah Environment Co, the region’s leading environmental management company. 1971’s launch was marked by a press conference on the 9th of March, and will also introduce the exhibition ‘ZERO’, which is set to open on the 11th of March.

Ahmed Al Qaseer, Chief Operation Officer of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said: “Shurooq firmly believes in granting continuous assistance and endorsement to our beloved Emirate’s flourishing art scene. Our key mission is to provide Sharjah’s many worthwhile investment ventures with facilities and incentives to evaluate investment-related infrastructure proposals, and direct the necessary strategies to complete such projects. As Sharjah’s leading investment authority we aspire to apply this design to every facet of our business ethic, and we regard the art world as being especially deserving of a public podium beyond compare.”

Shurooq COO also emphasised that 1971’s aim is not to “just” be an art gallery in the traditional sense, but rather a space and a destination that encourages dialogue around all facets of design between designers, artists, and the community and one that gives artists the opportunity to focus solely on design. He underscored that fostering greater community involvement in Sharjah’s holistic development is a key focus of the Authority and that the exhibitions, initiatives, and programmes that will be run through 1971 directly correlate with Shurooq’s community involvement strategies.

“Establishing 1971 at The Flag Island, which is set to become one of the most prestigious destinations in Sharjah, shows our commitment to proactively supporting cultural development in the Emirate above and beyond the pursuit of profit.Shurooq is proud to launch both 1971 and this prestigious exhibition, and honoured to present the masterfully groundbreaking and eco-friendly artworks and sculptures created by the skilled team of world-class designers, without whom the 1971 ZERO endeavour would not be possible, ”Shurooq’s COO continued.

He added furthermore that the decision to launch 1971 with an environmentally focussed exhibition in collaboration with Bee’ah was a strategic choice, which underscores Shurooq’s commitment to working with other entities to promote Sharjah’s development and slots in with its overall investment promotion strategy. “The environmental sector is one of four key growth areas that we have identified as having the greatest potential in Sharjah, and one that we are very serious about promoting. Not just because of the economic potential that the sector offers, but – even more importantly – because working towards a cleaner environment is crucial to ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future,” he remarked.

Giuseppe Moscatello, Maraya Art Centre Manager, also commented, “Our aim with ZERO was to challenge the superb design talents of the UAE to dream up innovative and unusual concepts, to push design boundaries by using creative recycled materials, while simultaneously raising community awareness surrounding the role that eco-design can play in reaching the laudable goal of zero waste. The issue of environmental effect continues to have an immense impact on the evolution of contemporary design, which is why we are thrilled to be working with the environmental experts at Bee’ah to launch this exciting new exhibition.”

Explaining the origin of the exhibition’s name, Giuseppe added: “The title ZERO stems from Bee’ah’s ambition to achieve a state of ‘zero waste’ - where all used matter can be regenerated and reused as energy or fresh material. ZERO charges designers to incorporate the concept of ‘zero waste’ into every element of their artistic process.”

In partnership with Bee’ah, Maraya Art Centre announced an open call in January for UAE-based designers and architects to submit proposals for design projects that use recycled or sustainable materials which have only a limited impact on the environment. The invite was open to designers working in any field, from interiors and installations to research.

Meera Taryam, Director of Environmental Services and Education at Bee’ah, The Sharjah Environment Co., said, “We are extremely pleased with the reaction that ZERO has sparked from the creative community. Not only are the works that have been submitted immensely thoughtprovoking, but it is clear from the entries that the impact we as individuals and communities have on the environment is a concern shared acrossthe board. We are looking forward to seeing the public engage with these works and believe that ZERO will act as a springboard for greater cross-sector collaboration on addressing the challenges of waste management.”

Cyril Zammit, Fair Director, Design Days Dubai said; ‘With the opening of 1971 – Design Space today in Sharjah, we witness another step in the growth of importance of design in the UAE. Since the first  edition of Design Days Dubai in 2012, the design market has grown exponentially and spaces like 1971 that offers the opportunity to national and regional talents to showcase their creativity all year long, will continue to support that growth.”

The wide variety of high calibre applications from experienced designers, ranging from creative students to practicing professionals, presented the judges with difficult decisions. Each of the thirteen worthy winners, both individuals and collectives which were selected from a round figure of forty applications, will receive a fee and a production budget as well as advice and support.

in response to the “green” brief, the participants repurposed a kaleidoscope of materials in their projects, including cardboard tubes from print shops, clay, old tyres, bio-resin, fabric leftovers from tailor shops, metal tubes, plastic bottles, rubber, recycled concrete, reclaimed wood, crushed glass, sand, found discarded objects and even live plants. The designers thrived in the application of these substances, and demonstrated how the detritus of daily life in the UAE can be transformed and given a new existence in ways that make our environment more comfortable and attractive.

The selected designers found inspiration in a variety of sources, both organic and cultural, from the life cycle of trees and desert plants, to circular irrigation fields in oases and traditional architecture techniques such as ‘Arish’ woven palm leaves, to ten point geometry in traditional Arabesque Islamic patterns. Through melding industrial materials with organic forms and honing innovative new techniques the designers have created fascinating results shifting from furniture and wall tiles to public outdoor seating, shelters and installations.

The chosen project proposals were thoughtfully conceived and executed, and furthermore complement each other while affording younger designers valuable opportunities to experiment and exhibit alongside more established names. The imaginative responses to the broad brief will make for an exciting exhibition offering a vision of what a beautifully designed and renewable future in the UAE could look like.

Through a mixture of curated exhibitions and public programmes, 1971 aims to become a regional and international design hub in the UAE working in close proximity with local designers, architects, schools and universities. 1971 will also serve as an informal meeting point and includes a fully serviced cafe for the enjoyment of the public. The design space will also participate in the next Dubai Design Days with a site specific project by the Emirati experimental designer AmerAldour.




Source: Sahara


About 1971:

1971, the UAE’s newest experimental design hotspot, can be found on Sharjah’s iconic Flag Island. Far more than a gallery, the innovative art space aspires to become a regional and international design hub in the UAE that works closely with local designers, architects, schools and universities, to present a contemporary and cutting-edge mix of curated exhibitions and public programmes.


About Bee’ah:

Established in 2007, Bee’ah aims to intercept waste in the region and build a strong waste management infrastructure. The award-winning green company’s primary goal is to lead Sharjah into becoming the Environmental Capital of the Middle East, making Sharjah the first Arab city to reach Zero-Waste to Landfill by diverting 100% of its waste through recycling and conversion.


About Maraya:

Established in 2010, Maraya Art Centre is a three-storey visionary non-profit creative arena located in Sharjah, UAE. Since its inception Maraya has offered the public an innovative curated exhibitions programme with leading Middle Eastern and international artists, multi-media facilities, video archive, art library and regular public programme of workshops and events designed by its in house team and guest curators.


About Shurooq:

Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.

In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – and 2014 FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in the European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.