Juneida Abdul Jabbar | Window Grills


Exhibition Dates: 5th January – 4th February 2023







The P21 Gallery is pleased to present Window Grills, an online exhibition of digital works by Juneida Abdul Jabbar, highlighting migrant narratives and performative urban landscapes of the contemporary Gulf-Malayali migrant experience. Window Grills explores Gulf migration from Kerala to the UAE from the late 60’s - 70’s boom to its present-day influence on the rise of vacant domestic houses in Kerala, including the history, politics, the construction industry, media, and architecture of the ‘empty house’. 


Windows are a quintessential figure of the dialectic between inside and outside. For this reason, they often appear as a barrier, a border, a place of fracture between the familiar and the foreign; they belong to the public and private spheres simultaneously. In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard describes the window as a border-line surface between the here and the beyond. By means of a dialectic between openness and closure, it is a protection against "exterior dizziness." For Bachelard, the window is "the surface that separates the region of the same from the region of the other." The window thus becomes a "transitional object" in relation to the insideoutside, a place of communication with the exterior.


Derived from a collaborative project, Another Empty House, which used the empty houses as a tool, the artist investigated what these spaces reveal about ourselves. Specifically, the complex narratives of migrations, transience, social mobility, Islamisation, masculinity, aspirations, performativity, and shame. Creating Window Grills as an extension of the ‘empty house’, Abdul Jabber documented the window grills of empty Gulf houses in a zine. The window grills are beautiful hand-crafted metal works loaded with meaning and are integral design elements in the Kerala house. The grill patterns from Gulf Malayali houses can allude to stories of Gulf migration, aspirations, pride, and class.


Through this project, Abdul Jabber is facilitating a special iteration of a zine workshop series, Dream Houses, created in collaboration with Zahra Mansoor, exploring people's imagination of the “dream house” and what that imagination says about the collective migrant experience, and their aspirations. The workshops share a series of prompts that revolve around ideas of dreaming, nesting, Gulf aspirations, pride, vulnerability, and shame. The prompts explore what it means to imagine a house in a different country to where you live, and our traumas that the empty house embodies. Stay tuned for more information regarding these workshops!


Window Grills is a reACT project curated by Yahya Zaloom.



Juneida Abdul Jabber (1993) is an urban guide, artist, zinester, and researcher. In her practice she frames people within the space they occupy, mapping urban networks, and reorienting narratives.



Press information

For further information, press images and interview opportunities, please contact reACT at: E. reACT@p21.org.uk, T. 020 7121 6190




Supported by HUB Collective