For the young people representing the UAE through the internship programme for Venice Biennale’s 15th International Architecture Exhibition, it’s all about giving something back.
Since its debut at the biennale in 2009, the UAE pavilion has hosted more than 100 Emiratis who double as the country’s cultural ambassadors. It is an invaluable personal and professional experience, and, thanks to a tie-up with Venice’s prestigious Ca’ Foscari University, the interns also have the chance to work alongside their Italian counterparts, who help them to adjust with life there.
“I heard about this programme even before I entered university and set my mind to apply once the time was right,” says 23-year-old Amna Jawad, who recently graduated from American University in Dubai in visual communications and graphic design.
“I have taken part in many exhibitions but usually I am the artist. I love the idea of being exposed to exhibition management and connecting with the visitors, and also being abroad and getting to represent my country is a privilege.”
Jawad, who also took a minor in architecture, is excited about going this year because she will also help man the UAE’s National Pavilion at the architecture biennale, which will be curated by Professor Yasser Elsheshtawy.
The focus is Sha’abi, or low-cost housing which, by providing modern homes with basic amenities, helped to transform the daily lives of a generation of Emiratis in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mariam Al Serkal, 21, who studies International Relations at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), has a personal interest in the pavilion this year – she lives in a Sha’abi-style house in Sharjah, and is thrilled at being given the opportunity to be part of the event.
“The major I picked at university is not very art-oriented, so I applied to the programme to get more into art and design because ultimately I would like to enter the fashion industry,” she says. “I think this internship will help my CV to stand out.”
Khaled Al Tamimi, a 22-year-old Jordanian, who will graduate in June with a degree in architecture from AUS, says the internship will allow him to visit the Venice Architecture Biennale – the world’s biggest platform for architecture.
“I feel it will open a lot of doors for me in terms of connecting with people, seeing architecture from other countries and experiencing the Venetian architecture, too,” he says.
Al Tamimi added that as he was born and raised in the UAE, it was also a unique experience for him to represent his country.
• The 15th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia will be held from May 28 to November 27
Source: art & life