Warehouse421 - new culture hub in Abu Dhabi

Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi's port area will be home to a new cultural hub called Warehouse421 housed in renovated and restored warehouses. To celebrate its opening, there will be three day festival from Thursday 19th till Saturday 21st November which will include exhibitions, workshops, a creative market, food trucks and plus a concert with renowned musical acts every night.

Warehouse421 will be open all year to the public and aims to engage with the local community through a continous series of exhibitions, performing arts, talks and workshops. This is a much needed space in Abu Dhabi and a welcome addition to the arts and culture scene in the UAE, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what's in store after the three day festival. 

Below is the list of events that will take place betweeen Thursday 19th - Saturday 21st November (the exhibitions will continue for a few more months). The three day celebrations is free to attend and is open to all ages. You can find directions to get Warehouse 421 here and you can also find the location marked on Google Maps. Don't miss this. 


Lest We Forget: Emirati Family Photographs 1950-1999

19th November 2015 - 18th June 2016 

Through a series of photographs spanning 49 years, this exhibition presents an examination of the ideals of memory and creative expression. Shared with the public for the first time, this extensive collection of family photographs by and of the first generations of Emirati citizens can be viewed.

Along with this exhibition, an accompanying book details histories and details which present transcriptions of the inter- and intra-generational collaboration moving from grainy black and white prints, to glossy coloured polaroids.

1:100 The Warehouse Reimagined 

19th November 2015 - 19th March 2016

An exhibition which aims to artistically explore the idea of transformation, as well as highlight the actuality of Mina Zayed and Warehouse421, presents various artistic representations of three dimensional warehouse models.

All works have been submitted in response to an artists’ call at the beginning of the year to imagine transformations exploring the preservation in revolutionary cities.

Mina Zayed: Through the Lens of Jack Burlot

19th November 2015 - 19th March 2016

This exhibition takes viewers through a day in the life of people in the Al Mina region. Personal moments are visually captured by the French photographer Jack Burlot, who first visited Abu Dhabi in 1974, providing an unobserved insight into their homes, way of living, daily happenings, qualities and characteristics.

Read this post I wrote in December 2012 about a fashion shoot from 1974 in Abu Dhabi by Jack Burlot.  

Art: Process & Practice

19th November 2015 - 23rd January 2016

An additional warehouse will showcase a selection of works from the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship program. On for a limited time past the opening weekend, the exhibition presents the individual developments and procedures of creating and making art.


A Vernacular Story

An intensive hands-on and process driven two-day product design workshop exploring the theme of reinterpretation, inspired by visual narratives and objects from the Mina Zayed area in Abu Dhabi. Led by Younes and Mia Duret, Co-founders of Younes Design (Morocco). This workshop is open to design professionals and students only.

Mix & Match Abu Dhabi

An interactive on-the-go group activity visualizing the material culture of Abu Dhabi by mixing and matching modular stamps on tote-bags to create unique interpretations of an urban landscape. Christina Skaf, Led by David Habchy and Hussein Nakhal, Founders of Studio Kawakeb (Lebanon).

Draw & Stitch

A step-by-step doll-making workshop using colour, pattern, texture, witty details and creative techniques to produce dolls based on famous figures from the art and design world. Led by Ola Dajani, Founder of Vinny Dolls (UAE).


A playful discovery of traditional tile-making techniques and geometric formations through assembling a puzzle-like kit of parts pre-cut by the artisans in Morocco, developing practical skills in the arts and crafts of the Islamic world. Lateefa Spiker and Richard Henry, instructors at Art of Islamic Pattern (UK).

Little Artists

A dedicated area for children from the ages of 3 – 9, aims to inspire them to explore their culture and heritage through creative stimulation. Children’s activities will include various arts and crafts activities such as clay modeling, basket and paper weaving, paper lanterns and zooming cars. Led by thejamjar (UAE).

Creative Market 

A dedicated area will celebrate 22 emerging artists and designers from the Middle East and other parts of the world featuring various art and design disciplines, from furniture to jewelry to product and graphic design. 

Participants include: 

Abjad Design, Aljoud Lootah, Architecture + Other Things, Bil Arabi, Carlo Massoud, Etqaan, FBMI, Ghassan Salameh, Hey Studio, Khaled El Mays, Khaled Shafar, MadeByNative, Naqsh Collective, National Pavilion United Arab Emirates (UAE) Biennale di Venezia, Niloufar Afnan, Sayar&Garibeh, Silsal Design House, Taher Asad-Bakhtiari, Tashkeel, Younes Duret, Visionaire.


This is the program I'm most excited about. 


19th November 2015 at 8.30pm 

Tinariwen is a Grammy Award-winning group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. Formed in 1979, the band started to gain a following outside the region in 2001 with performances at world festivals with their compositions of Berber and North African rhythms and instruments including the lute and one string fiddle.

Mulatu Astatke

20th November 2015 at 8.30pm 

Born in 1943, Astatke is an Ethiopian musician and arranger best known as the father of Ethio-jazz. Trained in London, New York City, and Boston, Astatke combined his love of jazz and Latin influences with traditional Ethiopian folk music. He introduced and popularized the vibraphone and conga drums within the Ethiopian music industry and has to date released over 20 albums.


21st November 2015 at 8.30pm 

Formed in 2008, Tarabband is made up 6 Swedish folk musicians originating from countries around the Arab world. Their music and lyrics narrates the journey of personal survival, exile, life and rebirth influenced by folk, Flamenco and Jazz, which transgress borders between countries and humans.

Event details

Dates and timings:

Thursday, 19th November 2015 | 6.00 - 11.00pm

Friday, 20th November 2015 | 3.00pm - 11.00pm 

Saturday, 21st November 2015 | 3.00pm - 11.00pm 

Free entry. Location map