thejamjar interview

Meet the women behind art space thejamjar about their new initiative, Museum ME in the UAE, and why it’s important

Interview, Hot seat
Interview, Hot seat
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Museum ME in the UAE – what is that, exactly?
SB: Can you imagine a new museum, with a collection that was donated by you and your friends? Museum ME is just that. A one week, 100-object museum of everyone’s belongings.

What inspired the idea?
RB: When we first started to talk about it, I was mostly interested in how this exhibition could mould into a modern-day archive of objects that relate to the eclectic people who have all lived and worked here.

What have people submitted so far? Any surprises?
SB: I just received a censored copy of Der Spiegel. The issue was all about sin and had been censored to within an inch of its life. Funny, but also relevant: we live in a country that is politely censored, which makes us all more tolerant of each other.

Is there anything in particular you’re hoping for? Is there anything missing?
SB: I’d like some items that travelled here with families who have beautiful stories to tell. We’re also missing the Time Out team’s submission. We’re waiting…

History, domesticity and art – what kind of things are you expecting for each category?
SB: We’re really pushing for objects, rather than photos: what about your grandma’s cooking pot, or a pebble found on your first Dubai beach walk? Everyone will get their items back at the end of the week of display.

What do you think has already been lost in Dubai before an idea like this came up?
SB: That’s an amazing question. ‘A museum of items we speculate got lost’ – that’s full of possibilities.

RB: I’ve spoken to many people who have talked about places they visited as they were growing up; many have since been knocked down. It will be interesting to see if symbols of these iconic places will be submitted.

What will happen to the objects after the exhibition closes?
RB: We’re planning a digital catalogue to document the objects, their owners and descriptions. We’d love to make this a yearly project and build a digital museum as reference material. It could act as an alternative archive for the UAE.

Do you think Dubai needs another museum of its history?
SB: I love Dubai Museum – it’s a super place, but it’s not so complex. Museum ME is an event as much as a museum.
RB: Exactly. I’d like the museum to be a real conversation starter.

We’re going to hand in one of our bestselling magazines…
RB: Perfect!
Want to take part? Send an image of your object, its measurements, the age of the item and 150-word description of its importance to the UAE. Info can be emailed to museumuae@thejamjardubai.com by October 1.

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