ACAW 2018 Signature Program


Hosted in collaboration with ACAW Consortium Partner, Alserkal Avenue
Dubai, UAE | January 25 – 26, 2019


Curated by ACAW Director, Leeza Ahmady

This year ACAW acclaimed annual art forum, FIELD MEETING, premier’s offsite for the first time in Asia, hosted at ACAW Consortium Partner, Alserkal Avenue in Dubai — the MENASA region’s foremost cultural destination and arts organization. FIELD MEETING Take 6: Thinking Collections will stage a dynamic string of pop-up exhibitions, performances, lecture-performances and discussions by noted multidisciplinary artists, thinkers and creative individuals from all regions of Asia (with a focus on East Asia) in the context of a large regional event, the Quoz Arts Festival.



FIELD MEETING was conceived in 2014 as an exhibition that emulates the experience of a studio visit on a communal scale. In the format of a two-day art forum, the program addresses the continuously rapid-growing field of contemporary art in Asia, in a timely, less mediated fashion. Connecting artists directly with arts professionals and institutional leaders, the now critically acclaimed annual forum has been hosted at major institutions such as Asia Society Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and SVA Theatre. In its 5 iterations, FIELD MEETING has staged the initiatives of over 200 outstanding artists and art practitioners through newly commissioned performances, lecture-performances and discussions to an exclusive audience of nearly 2,000 US-based curators, scholars, museum and gallery directors, art collectors and connoisseurs.


Conceptual Framework for 2018

Ahmady’s conceptual framework for FIELD MEETING Take 6 investigates the rightful place of an artist in relationship to one of the most prominently used terms in the art-world today: “collection”. By taking on the task of decategorizing the word “collection” from the gripping talons of the ever-burgeoning global art market, the program aims to reveal and reclaim the artist as the first collector.

To collect means to gather and accumulate something significant, whether tangible or not. In this light, artists gather everything, be they specific aspects of reality, fiction, or other diverse subject matter. They do this by the sheer nature of their activities as artists; the gathering and treatment of daily experiences, ideas, feelings, intuition, education, training, research, history, stories, etc. Artists accumulate such content by absorbing abstract, physical and conceptual energies within their consciousness to eventually transform them into a given form. In other words, artists create bodies or containers for the collection of their own ideas, insights, and mechanisms that become identified as art objects in the world.


Why Dubai?

Situated in AI Quoz, Dubai’s industrial quarter, Alserkal Avenue spreads across 500,000 square feet where over 60 creative concepts, ranging from contemporary art galleries to an independent cinema, coexist to build a symbiotic community. Over the last decade, Alserkal Avenue has become the MENASA region’s (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) foremost cultural destination and arts organization. Since 2015, Alserkal Programming has offered a platform for exhibitions, public art commissions, performances, films, talks and workshops that critically and creatively investigate themes pertinent to the region’s arts community. With the aim to work mainly with emerging and mid-career artists living and working in the MENASA region, Alserkal Programming has a mandate to support artists whose projects are collaborative, participatory and ephemeral. In 2017, they launched the Alserkal Residency, which focuses on research-based and socially-engaged practices.

The sixth edition of Alserkal Avenue’ s Quoz Arts Festival in January 2018 attracts over 15,000 attendees. Premiering ACAW FIELD MEETING in Dubai, therefore, offers multiple networking, publicity, and collaboration opportunities for all ACAW participants. Moreover, our aim is to fulfill ACAW’s longstanding commitment to promoting a more robust future of inner-Asia collaborations, exhibitions and educational initiatives, particularly between the countries of East Asia and West Asia (The Middle East).

Additionally, ACAW will be connecting with other regional events such as the Kochi Biennial, India Art Fair, and Mumbai Art Fair to attract more international and regional audiences to attend FIELD MEETING.



Caption: (top to down, left to right)
Lin Yilin, The First 1/3 Monad, 2018, Color video, with sound, 5 min & 53 sec, edition 1/3
Wang Haiyang, Shots of THE CITY OF DIONYSUS, 2018, Animated short film, color, sound, 7’
Bingyi, stills from Ruins, 2015-2018, film
Bahman Mohammadi, Australopitecus, 2010, 22X33 cm, Painting on photographic paper, exposed to light, and then fixed with Photographic fixer