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Abu Dhabi art back in its physical form at Manarat Al Saadiyat

Viewers take a close look at the art of Abu Dhabi.

Muhammad Yusuf, story writer

Organized under the patronage of Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Board, the 13th edition of Abu Dhabi Art Fair opened to the public (from 17 to November 21) in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi (DCT – Abu Dhabi), it is making a strong comeback in its physical form, with a diverse program of 49 galleries from 19 countries, representing more than 190 artists from around the world, and showcasing over 600 works of art.

This year’s edition features 14 new galleries from Colombia, France, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, as well as an organized fair program experience, including Kind of Blue, an area organized for the art fair by Simon Njami; the Performing Arts program, organized by Rose Lejeune; and the Beyond: Emerging Artists program, organized by Sam Bardaoui and Till Fellrath. Bardaouil and Fellrath are co-founders of the multidisciplinary Art Réorienté curatorial platform and co-directors of the Hamburger Bahnhof museum.


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Abu Dhabi Art invited last year’s guest curators Njami and Lejeune to bring their new curatorial frameworks and research to the fair. Commenting on this year’s edition of the fair, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism Department said: Collective efforts of those in Abu Dhabi arts and culture sector and in -of the. Abu Dhabi Art Director Dyala Nusseibeh said, “Abu Dhabi Art has officially opened its doors with a near-record 49 galleries featuring exceptional stands, a testament to the thriving arts community in the UAE and the United Arab Emirates. support given here in Abu Dhabi to artists. and galleries during the pandemic. ”

Highlights of the fair include: The modern and contemporary gallery sector, with 26 galleries from 15 countries around the world, showcasing a wide range of works by different artists. The special projects gallery sector, with 21 galleries from six countries, featuring stands organized by one, two or three artists. In Kind of Blue, Njami highlights artists and galleries in the new curatorial setting. It positions jazz music as a metaphor for the open parameters of the exhibition and presents works from four participating galleries: Afriart Gallery (Kampala, Uganda), representing Richard Atugonza and Charlene Komuntale; Galerie MAM (Douala, Cameroon), representing Bili Bidjocka and Joël Yonkeu; Primo Marella Gallery (Milan, Italy), representing Abdoulaye Konaté and Sabrina Amrani (Madrid, Spain), representing Nicène Kossentini and Joël Andrianomearisoa.

Abu-Dhabi-Art-main2-750
Dyala Nusseibeh, Director, Abu Dhabi Art.

The Performing Arts program is organized by Lejeune and offers four new commissions for performances by Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet, Mays Albaik, Rand Abdul Jabbar and Super Taus, each offering an abstract and poetic experience.

Gateway is organizing the fair in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF). The National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia presents Passage, an immersive video and sound installation created by artist Nujoom Alghanem for the 2019 Pavilion exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Passage premieres in the United Arab Emirates as part of Abu Dhabi Art’s annual Gateway sector, which showcases local and international artists through a globally relevant curatorial framework. The exhibition is then presented as part of ADMAF’s flagship exhibition in 2022, Portrait of a nation II.

The Beyond: Emerging Artists 2021 section features new works by three emerging artists based in the United Arab Emirates – Hashel Al Lamki presenting Neptune; Maitha Abdalla presenting Too Close to the Sun and Christopher Joshua Benton presenting The World was my Garden.

Their exhibition is on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat until December 4. This year’s program is also the inaugural commission for Abu Dhabi Art’s new initiative, Friends of Abu Dhabi Art. Beyond: Artist Commissions sees five new art commissions, with works presented in cultural sites in the capital by artists Aya Haidar presenting Dwelling On The Past, on display in Fort Al Jahili in Al Ain; Hazem Harb presenting Between Earth and Sky: Borders Are Only in Our Minds, at Manarat Al Saadiyat and Jebel Hafeet Desert Park in Al Ain; Dr. Najat Makki presenting Ya Marhaba Al Saa ‘, at the entrance of Manarat Al Saadiyat and at the oasis of Al Ain; Rasheed Araeen, presenting a communal cafe made up of eight gazebos, gathered in a square, titled Food for Thought – Thought for Change, opening at the entrance to the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation throughout the fair and At Heart But Far by Richard Atugonza, exhibited at Manarat Al Saadiyat and Jebel Hafeet Desert Park. The artists’ works remain on view until January 22, 2022. At In & Around, artists commissioned for Beyond: Artist Commissions present large-scale works of art as part of the fair’s on-site program, connecting visitors to off-site projects. Other artists whose works are featured include Alfredo Jaar, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Olga de Amaral, Seher Naveed, Siah Armajani, Zarina and Zineb Sedira.

Abu Dhabi Art also offers art workshops, artist-led masterclasses, tours in English and Arabic, and community contests for all ages.

The workshops include Drop-in workshops for ages 3 to 5; 6 – 12 years Practical artistic activities and masterclasses led by artists, for adults and adolescents (from 13 years old). Free 45-minute educational and interactive guided tours led by a visitor experience specialist are available virtually and in person, in Arabic and English. Virtual tours of the exhibitions and installations run until January 22, 2022. Abu Dhabi Art and Factory People are collaborating this year to bring 2ND SUN to Abu Dhabi with LIVE performances, DJ sets and futuristic productions (until November 19) in Manarat Al Saadiyat.


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