Quoz Arts Fest, the region’s highly anticipated arts and culture festival, returns for its 11th edition at Al Quoz Creative Zone, supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) as Strategic Partner. Known for bringing together art, live music acts from the region, cultural activations, and food in a single weekend, this upcoming edition of Quoz Arts Fest features more than 20 live performances, 80 artists, 200 activations, and 50 food concepts, from morning till midnight.
Quoz Arts Fest 2024 invites visitors to take a fresh look at how they experience their weekends, with diverse and dynamic activities for visitors of all ages at all hours of the day. This year’s notable festival highlight, Echoes of Nature by London-based Japanese artist Yuri Suzuki, will be on show both days at Concrete, Alserkal Avenue’s multidisciplinary exhibitions and events space. The interactive, ambient sound installation mimics nature, connecting people and the environment, via an eclectic arrangement of pipes and horns. To deepen this connection, visitors are even encouraged to take home elements of the work.
Other artistic activations accessible during the entire festival include a larger-than-life mural, ‘Collection of Moments’, produced by French-Tunisian graffiti artist eL Seed, The Disappearing Art Show by Gulf Photo Plus highlighting works by emerging artists, collectives, and galleries while engendering sustainable collecting practices. Festival favourites Reel Palestine Souk and KAVE’s Market of Misfits provide the opportunity for all-day browsing of wares at the curated markets. Reel Palestine and Cinema Akil also present outdoor film screenings of Slingshot Hip Hop, to run alongside Reel Palestine Souk which highlights traditional and contemporary Palestinian crafts and more.
Amidst the numerous regional talents taking the stage at Quoz Arts Fest 2024 to perform live, is standout artist, The Synaptik. The Palestinian-Jordanian rapper, at the forefront of a popular wave of Arabic rap and trap, uses his infectious beats and unique song-writing style to effortlessly merge singing and rapping to explore issues such as migration and social inequality. With a steady string of new releases and numerous iconic collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, his distinctive voice and potent lyrics have cemented him as one of the pioneering artists of the Arabic-speaking world.
Public installations on view include ‘Every Color is a Shade of Black’ by Hamra Abbas and curated by Lawrie Shabibi, exploring colour in the context of social concepts such as identity, faith, and more; ‘Red Flags’ by Anahita Razmi and courtesy of CARBON 12, a series of banners and flags in eye-catching variations of coloured gradients across multiple sites, prompting curiosity amongst visitors; and Muhannad Shono’s ‘A Forgotten Place’ which, inspired by indigenous plants largely ignored yet persistently thriving around Al Quoz and the Avenue, utilises AC water condensate to irrigate a garden of feral grasses, flowers, bushes and trees.
For Early Risers
For visitors looking to kick off their weekend with a wellness kick, there will be an invigorating yoga session hosted by Shimis in the Yard, and a rejuvenating outdoor ride by CRANK.
Families with children of all ages can also start their day early at Quoz Arts Fest with Gardens of Gaia by The Confidence Lab. Promising a colourful, creative experience for children & families, Gardens of Gaia features trusted home-grown brands in creative education, performance arts, tabletop gaming, health and fitness, and high-quality culinary options across a series of zones on Lane 4 at Alserkal Avenue.
There’s also thejamjar’s engaging artistic workshops and Original Mix DJs’ pop-up school for kids to showcase their talents. Additionally, Alserkal Avenue’s resident galleries will be open early for visitors to drop by and check out their eclectic exhibitions.
For Late Risers
Festival visitors who prefer a slightly later start to their day are in for a post-lunch treat with live performances such as Moroccan-French singer Amina’s intimate folk and pop-infused tunes and Tanzanian-born performance artist Dipesh Pandya’s transformation of a car into a sonic sculpture via site-specific spoken word. In addition, Quoz Encore will showcase the most promising homegrown emerging musicians of all ages, genres, and languages, Basma Choir’s mesmerising celebration of Arabic music and heritage will meld with Suzuki’s ambient sound installation, and Sima Dance Company will put on visually stunning performance in Concrete.
For Night Owls
At sundown, Quoz Arts Fest takes it up a notch with live performances by crowd favourites such as remixed South Asian DJ sets and custom visuals by UAE-based Stick No Bills; Sudanese fusion artists MarSimba’s mix of Sudanese lingo and African beats; and, millennial artist Usha Jey’s hybrid dance showcase of hip-hop and Bharatanatyam. Big Hass, a Dubai-based hip-hop DJ, who is no stranger to charming audiences on his popular radio show, will be helming the evening’s live entertainment as resident MC and DJ.
In addition to the aforementioned creative concepts and live performances at Alserkal Avenue, visitors can look forward to mouth-watering culinary options from some of UAE’s most popular independent dining concepts available throughout the festival. Mattar’s melt-in-your-mouth handcrafted smoked meats, Kooya’s unique take on classic Filipino dishes, Pinch’s unforgettable Paella, Monno’s hearty Italian pizzas, and Tacos Los Hermanos’ authentic Mexican culinary offerings will all be on offer in addition to the Avenue’s culinary residents.
On the retail side, there are Lady Mauve’s unique and edgy jewellery pieces, Scarfy’s wearable art made of recycled plastic bottles, Caped Coast’s versatile African print capes, kaftans & kimonos, My Backyard Chronicles’ timeless toys, Fix Chocolatier’s quirky chocolate bars, and El Botik’s trendy clothes in collaboration with artists and brands from around the world.
Press release from Alserkal Avenue
Image: Anahita Razmi. Red Flags. 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Carbon 12