Please join us for the fifth in the new NYUAD Art Gallery series CURATORS TALK.

Drawing on the so-called “infrastructural turn” in anthropological theory over the past decade, Murtaza Vali will discuss a series of exhibitions he has curated since 2018 at nonprofit institutions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that use infrastructure as a critical lens through which to uncover and examine the economic, political, technological, and material bases for the emergence of Gulf urbanism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

About the speaker

Murtaza Vali is an Adjunct Curator at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, where he organized the widely acclaimed inaugural group exhibition Crude (2018-19), which explored the relationship between oil and modernity across Southwest Asia, and Guest Relations (with Lucas Morin) (2023-24), a sequel exhibition examining hotels and the hospitality industry across the Global South. Between 2020-22, Vali was curator-in-residence at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi, where he presented Substructures: Excavating the Everyday, a series of exhibitions about “intimate infrastructures” in the Gulf that tackled subjects such as manual and domestic labor, the instrumentalization of flora by capital and politics, and the aesthetics and rituals of neoliberal real estate development.

He is also the founder and curator of Proposals for a Memorial to Partition, an itinerant research and curatorial platform investigating the trauma and legacy of partitions in South Asia and beyond. Previous iterations of this project have been presented at Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia (2023) and the Jameel Arts Centre (2022-23), and first appeared in Manual for Treason, a multilingual multivolume publication commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011).