DUBAI: Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah is set to curate the National Pavilion UAE exhibition at the 18th Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), organizers announced this week.
The selected research proposal by Tabbarah, who is an associate dean and associate professor of architecture at the American University of Sharjah, aims to explore the relationship between architecture and dry landscapes in the country.
“My approach will rely on integrating technology with land-based materials practices and knowledge found in arid landscapes in the UAE,” said the Aleppo-born curator in a released statement.
“I am honored to have been selected as the curator for the National Pavilion UAE … Aridity is a fast-approaching future condition for many regions, and through this exhibition, we’ll explore their potential as spaces of abundance and productivity,” he added.
This exhibition will mark Tabbarah’s first participation as a curator of a national pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, and his second participation in the Architecture Biennale as a whole.
He has previously collaborated with the Kuwait Pavilion’s curators in 2021 for their presentation at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, or IAE, of the Venice Architecture Biennale, titled “Space Wars.”
Tabbarah was selected following the National Pavilion UAE’s open call which invited designers around the world to develop proposals for the 2023 architecture exhibition.
The applicants were tasked with exploring an intriguing aspect of the UAE’s architecture or built environment that contributes to the discourse around architectural practice locally, regionally and internationally.
Research findings by Tabbarah, to be exhibited in Venice and supplemented with an accompanying publication, aim to respond to the Architecture Biennale 2023’s theme “The Laboratory of the Future,” which is being curated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, educator and best-selling novelist, Lesley Lokko.
The National Pavilion UAE will present its exhibition from May 20 to Nov. 26, 2023, with the pre-opening on May 18 and 19.
Next year will mark the UAE’s 12th exhibition at the Art and Architecture International Exhibitions organized by La Biennale di Venezia since 2009 and its fifth participation in the IAE. The pavilion won the Golden Lion award for the best national participation in the 17th IAE La Biennale di Venezia in 2021 for its exhibition “Wetland.”