Why this artist-run stu­dio and ex­hi­bi­tion space is a must-visit

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CONTENTS -

Bait 15 is an artist-run stu­dio that should be on your radar

Out­side of the com­mer­cial world of art fairs and gal­leries, places where creative peo­ple can gather are few and far be­tween in the cap­i­tal. That’s why Bait 15 is a really im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the cul­tural land­scape of Abu Dhabi. It is an artist-run stu­dio and ex­hi­bi­tion space founded by Maitha Ab­dalla, orig­i­nally from Khor­fakkan; Afra Al Dha­heri, from Abu Dhabi; Hashel Al Lamki, from Al Ain. The three young Emi­rati artists wanted some­where they could spend their time mak­ing art but also, where they could ex­change ideas and in­spi­ra­tion and get their creative juices flow­ing. WHERE? Bait 15 – which means House 15 in Ara­bic – is lo­cated in­side a for­mer res­i­den­tial home, which is im­por­tant to the ethos of the place. It is owned by Nawaf Al Janahi, one of the UAE’s fore­most film­mak­ers, whose fa­ther (the pre­vi­ous owner) was an ac­tor and its for­mer ten­ant was Mo­hammed Al Mazrouie, a prom­i­nent vis­ual artist. Lo­cated in the Alza­faranah dis­trict (the neigh­bour­hood next to the Al Bahr tow­ers, or the pineap­ple build­ings), WHAT? Bait 15 con­sists of five rooms: three stu­dios, a com­mu­nal area and a li­brary stock­ing English and Ara­bic books. As well as a work­ing space for the three artists, the com­mu­nal area has a num­ber of dif­fer­ent func­tions. It can act as a gallery, a space for film screen­ings or mu­sic nights and in Ra­madan, a place for suhoor din­ner. There is also a reg­u­lar res­i­dency pro­gramme mean­ing that any­one can ap­ply to use the space and the re­sources for a two-month pe­riod. WHY? These kinds of non-profit and mul­ti­func­tional spa­ces are es­sen­tial build­ing blocks of any art scene. Prac­ti­cally, artists need places to create but they also need a sense of com­mu­nity and to drive each other for­ward dur­ing their process.

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