E-Issue 07 –– AUH
Winter 2023-24

January 29th, 2024

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in Abu Dhabi/Dubai
  3. Cover Interview: Shaikha Al Ketbi on Darawan
  4. Rapport: Public Art in the Gulf and a Case Study of Manar Abu Dhabi
  5. Hashel Al Lamki’s Survey Exhibition Maqam Reflects on a Decade of Practice in Abu Dhabi
  6. “You Can’t Stand on a Movement”: Michelangelo Pistoletto Interviews Benton Interviewing Pistoletto

Winter/Spring 2024

Exhibition Review July 16, 2024
PAR See Me With Them Hands: Reviewing Giovanni Bassan’s “Private Rooms” at Sainte Anne Gallery

Curators Interview May 14, 2024
AUH Embracing Change through an Open System: Maya Allison and Duygu Demir on “In Real Time” at NYUAD Art Gallery

About ––

    What We Do
    Editorial Board

Interviews ––

    Selected Archive

Open Call ––

    E-08 Seoul

Newsletter ––

Chronological Archive ––

    Selected Archive

Artist Interview November 18th, 2016
AUH Raed Yassin in Abu Dhabi

Editorial March 1st, 2018
AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

Exhibition Listing May 22nd, 2018
DXB Christopher Benton: If We Don't Reclaim Our History, The Sand Will

Artist Interview June 15th, 2018
TYO An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

Artist Interview July 17th, 2018
TYO Rintaro Fuse on Selfies and Cave Painting

Artist Interview August 28th, 2018
BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020

August 1st, 2020

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

Fall/Winter 2020-21

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020

AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists  

🎙️GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020

November 1st, 2020
1. What is Global Art Daily? 2015 to Now

November 16th, 2020
2. Where is Global Art Daily? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

November 29th, 2020
3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover

December 20th, 2020
4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor

January 27th, 2021
5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

E-Issue 02 –– NYC
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

Spring/Summer 2021

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

E-Issue 03 ––TYO
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

Fall/Winter 2021-22

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition Review October 16th, 2021
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

E-Issue 04 –– IST
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

Spring/Summer 2022

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

Fall/Winter 2022-23

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Exhibition Review February 9th, 2023
DXB Augustine Paredes Builds His Paradise Home at Gulf Photo Plus

Artist Interview February 22nd, 2023
DXB Persia Beheshti Shares Thoughts on Virtual Worlds and the State of Video Art in Dubai Ahead of Her Screening at Bayt Al Mamzar

E-Issue 06 –– DXB/SHJ
Spring 2023

April 12th, 2023

  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Jumairy
  4. Rapport: Art Dubai 2023
  5. Highlights from Sharjah Biennial 15
  6. Is Time Just an Illusion? A Review of "Notations on Time" at Ishara Art Foundation
  7. Saif Mhaisen and His Community at Bayt AlMamzar

DXB Christopher Joshua Benton to Debut Mubeen, City as Archive at The Third Line Shop in Collaboration with Global Art Daily

🔍 Legal

2015-24 Copyright Global Art Daily. All Rights Reserved.


Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

By Nada Ammagui

Published on December 9, 2020

        A multipurpose venue featuring a free public library, a design-oriented shop, a chic cafe with exquisite dishes, a lush sunken courtyard, a film screening venue, a panoramic view of suburban Sharjah, a multifunctional outdoor pavilion, a private “pods” area for intimate conversations, and a bustling calendar of public programs and exhibitions—this almost sounds too good to be true. The Flying Saucer, home to these spaces, is Sharjah Art Foundation’s most recent architectural acquisition, supporting its efforts to integrate out-of-use buildings of local cultural value into an emirate-wide ecosystem of artistic and cultural platforms. Having already acquired and refurbished over a dozen buildings on both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman coasts of Sharjah, which it uses for year-round exhibitions, public programs, international festivals, and the renowned Sharjah Biennial, the foundation is rapidly becoming a leading regional art institution while actively contributing to local architectural conservation.

1. The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic. Images courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation

The Flying Saucer, built in the late 1970s by an unknown architect, has been a cherished part of Sharjah’s “collective cultural memory and identity” for decades. Formerly a French-inspired cafe and newsstand, then a supermarket and pharmacy, and finally a fast-food restaurant, it now serves the SAF’s permanent inner-city art venue. The building’s reopening, after undergoing major renovations starting in 2018, was announced to the public in September 2020 and inaugurated with multimedia artists Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent’s site-responsive installation entitled Nowhere Less Now3 [flying saucer]. The exhibition, which draws on the Flying Saucer’s space-age architectural style, enigmatic origins, and shape-shifting form, features various sculptural elements scattered across the venue’s spacious interior and a film portraying complex human ideologies through dance and movement. These elements engage with the peculiar history of the building and its stylistic preoccupation with the future to narrate an imagined interaction between aliens and humans.

Formerly a French-inspired cafe and newsstand, then a supermarket and pharmacy, and finally a fast-food restaurant, the Flying Saucer now serves the SAF’s permanent inner-city art venue.

2. Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent, Nowhere Less Now3 [flying saucer], The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic. Images courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

While local residents have frequented the establishment for nearly 4 decades, very little about the Flying Saucer’s style and aesthetic seems to ground the structure in the surrounding environment. As a single-story cylindrical building with a modest central dome, intersecting V-pillars dotting the spanning window facade, and a bilayered, 16-point cantilevered canopy, it stands in contrast with the more subdued architectural aesthetic of the residential neighborhoods around it.

As a single-story cylindrical building, it stands in contrast with the more subdued architectural aesthetic of the residential neighborhoods around it.

Despite its architectural eccentricity, the Flying Saucer has retained its distinctive style over the years, only undergoing surface-level renovations to suit its various functions. When it was finally acquired in 2015 by the Sharjah Art Foundation, architectural consultant and founder of SpaceContinuum Design Studio Mona El Mousfy was hired to transform the space into a suitable venue for artist Hassan Khan’s site-specific installation—appropriately entitled UFO! UFO?—at Sharjah Biennial 12. For this exhibition, few structural alterations were made to the space; only the panoramic facade was colored using light filters.

After SB12 drew to a close, the space underwent more drastic changes in preparation for SAF President and Director Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi’s 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates exhibition for the National Pavilion UAE at la Biennale di Venezia in 2015. The exterior cladding, interior partitions, and superficial ceiling were all cleared to reveal and preserve the building’s original design. While the annex, built as a kitchen years earlier, was kept for this exhibition, it is no longer at the site today. A concrete floor was also added during this phase of renovation, embracing the concrete materiality of the rest of the building. The Flying Saucer went on to host several more exhibitions during this period before closing again in 2018 for further renovations.

3. The Flying Saucer after renovations, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic. Images courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

By adding the Flying Saucer’s notably Googie, space-age architectural character to its repertoire, SAF welcomes a new, post-modern dynamic to its spatial architectural network. Not only does this addition expand the physical and conceptual artistic possibilities across SAF’s spaces, but it invites artist engagement with different parts of Sharjah’s cultural and architectural history, particularly with a building that is so iconic yet baffling. Because each of SAF’s buildings bears its own history, memories, and significance, artists can activate different aspects of the sites’ identities to connect with local communities.

4. The Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic. Images courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

By adding the Flying Saucer’s notably Googie, space-age architectural character to its repertoire, SAF welcomes a new, post-modern dynamic to its spatial architectural network.

The addition of the Flying Saucer to SAF’s growing list of venues also complements the historical and contemporary styles found elsewhere in the foundation’s architectural collection. The Sharjah Art Foundation, founded in 2009 and since led by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, daughter of the emirate’s ruler, comprises several permanent spaces that reflect a range of historical architectural styles from the 19th century to the 2010s. Spanning a vast geographical area, SAF encompasses galleries in Al Mureijah Square and Arts Square in Old Sharjah, Sharjah city’s town center and historical commercial hub, as well as art centers spread throughout the emirate of Sharjah, including in Al Hamriya, Al Dhaid, Dibba Al Hisn, Khorfakkan, and Kalba.

The Al Mureijah Square venues, inaugurated in 2013, consist of several refurbished historical homes and newly-constructed contemporary gallery spaces designed by the SpaceContinuum Design Studio. At Arts Square, the former homes of two prominent local families, Bait Obaid Al Shamsi and Bait Al Serkal, have also been refurbished to preserve their original character while accommodating for multimedia installations, small exhibitions, and the Sharjah Biennial. The nearby Sharjah Art Museum, though often used for the Sharjah Biennial, is programmed year-round by the Sharjah Museums Department.

The clustered houses, alleyways, and contemporary galleries of the Old Sharjah spaces embody the spirit of Sharjah’s historical commercial hub, dating back to when the local economy was primarily supported by pearl trading and fishing on the Sharjah Creek. Installations that are hosted here tend to draw on these historical narratives, like artist Carlos Martiel’s fishing net installation at Sharjah Biennial 14.

After visiting most of SAF’s exhibition venues across the emirate, I’m struck by the breadth of local historical narratives memorialized by these buildings and reactivated by the contemporary art installations which they host. From Suchitra Mattai’s Imperfect Isometry (2019) at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi, which considers the cultural and ideological network of exchange between her homeland’s and Sharjah’s histories, to Mohau Modisakeng’s Land of Zanj (2019) at Kalba Ice Factory, whose procession along the Gulf of Oman coast recalls migration patterns and memories between the Arabian Peninsula and the Swahili Coast, each exhibition is deeply rooted in the history of venue where it is displayed while drawing from surrounding contemporary realities. In doing so, SAF has re-incorporated local architectural landmarks into Sharjah’s cultural memory with a new contemporary artistic edge and propelled them into the emirate’s cultural and artistic future through their constant reactivation.

Each exhibition is deeply rooted in the history of venue where it is displayed while drawing from surrounding contemporary realities.

The Flying Saucer, like every building that joins the SAF’s emirate-wide network of exhibition venues, presents an exciting opportunity for the foundation to engage with more communities. It is one more public space where art enthusiasts can meet and mingle, where families can participate in workshops and events, and where the local art scene can continue to grow. The particular shape and history of the Flying Saucer will, I anticipate, invite more whimsical, speculative, and futuristically-oriented installations that look into the emirate’s future rather than its past. In a time where hope seems scarce, the Sharjah Art Foundation’s reactivation of this architectural icon bears a welcomed look to an optimistic future ahead.

The particular shape and history of the Flying Saucer will, I anticipate, invite more whimsical, speculative, and futuristically-oriented installations that look into the emirate’s future rather than its past.

5. Public space, Flying Saucer, Sharjah, UAE, 2020. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic. Images courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation.

Book your visit to the Flying Saucer.
Get directions to the Flying Saucer.
Read about COVID-19 safety precautions on Sharjah Art Foundation’s website.
Follow Sharjah Art Foundation on Instagram.
Sharjah Art Foundation’s exhibitions are open to the public from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday to Thursday, and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday. Visitors interested in viewing the ongoing exhibitions in Al Mureijah Art Spaces, Bait Al Serkal, Al Hamriyah Studios and The Flying Saucer, as well as the permanent installation Rain Room Sharjah, are encouraged to book visits in advance online.

Nada Ammagui is a Postgraduate Research Fellow in the Arts & Humanities at NYU Abu Dhabi conducting research on histories of cultural institutions and contemporary art in Sharjah, UAE. She employs interdisciplinary methods, ranging from ethnography and archival exploration to data analysis and digital mapping, to examine the spatial and temporal dimensions of Sharjah’s art scene. She also writes a blog on research in the humanities to help young scholars navigate academic waters. Nada graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi with a B.A. in Arab Crossroads Studies and minor in Art History.

Published by:


A Global Art Daily Agency FZ-LLC subdivision.
Copyright, 2015-2023.
For reproduction, please contact us.