The United Arab Emirates is a small nation where, for various reasons, foreigners and ex-pats outnumber UAE nationals by extreme numbers. This has led to all sorts of arts a culture initiatives (from the government as well as grassroots groups) to not only preserve UAE heritage, but also to explore the diverse cultural groups that co-exist throughout the seven Emirates.
Unleash is a project started by several female artists that aims to promote creativity, originality, and freethinking among the community and to document UAE society through creative expression. 1,000 journals with 10 blank pages were created. Contributors were encouraged to express themselves in a creative way on a page and then either return the journal for further dissemination or pass it along to someone else, until the journal was full. Since their founding, these journals have covered so much ground throughout the UAE and it has turned into a fascinating historical documentation and archival project that truly encourages the community to participate and curate.
Following the end of the project, the contributions will be used to create public art and community installations – as well as an exhibition – that will showcase the diversity of the UAE population and inspire the community.