UAE Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2021 officially opened

Wetland, the National Pavilion of UAE’s tenth exhibition at the Biennale Architettura 2021 (Venice Biennale) was officially inaugurated by Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth recently. Wetland is now open to the public at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale until Sunday November 21st 2021.

UAE Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2021 officially opened

Wetland presents an environmentally friendly salt-based cement alternative which could reduce the climate impact of the construction industry. Created from recycled industrial waste brine, the MgO cement has been hand-cast into organic shapes recalling the UAE’s traditional coral-built houses, forming a hand-built 7 x 5 meter prototype structure.

The prototype is accompanied by large-scale images created by New York-based Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi of the UAE’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-nominated sabkhas (salt flats), which provided inspiration for the research process. A virtual tour of the exhibition is available on the National Pavilion UAE website.

Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said: "Over ten fantastic exhibitions, the National Pavilion UAE has brought some of the best of the UAE’s cultural stories to a global audience, demonstrating our ambition, our creativity and our commitment to cross-cultural exchange while making a tangible contribution to national development.

Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto’s work embodies the UAE’s national spirit of creativity, innovation and cutting-edge thinking about global issues, while remaining informed by our heritage, and is a true exemplar of the National Pavilion UAE’s role as a bridge from the UAE to the world."

The inauguration was also attended by Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and Chairperson of the Board of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage; Salem Al Qassimi, Assistant Undersecretary of Heritage and Arts Sector, UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth; and Roberto Cicutto, President, La Biennale. Also in attendance were Lubna Al Gergawi, Minister Office Director; Alia Al Qassimi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of Cultural and Creative Industries Sector, from the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth; Maitha Alabdouli, Assistant Project Manager, UAE Ministry of Culture, and Youth and Nasser Al Khaja, Head of Media and Public Diplomacy Section, Embassy of the UAE.

Laila Binbrek, Coordinating Director of the National Pavilion UAE, said: "In 2021, the National Pavilion UAE is celebrating its tenth exhibition at the Venice Biennale and thinking about our future as the most consistent international cultural platform to showcase the UAE’s talent and perspectives. Against the continuing challenges of the pandemic, the Venice Biennale’s role as a convener and platform for ideas has become even more important. Presenting our tenth exhibition here in person enables us to bring a fresh, timely and locally-informed perspective to the global issue of climate change."