Abu Dhabi Art Fair has returned with a rich programme including art installations and exhibitions as well as artist commissions that take place in different locations. Here are some highlights of the programme.
Beyond: Emerging Artists
The curators of Beyond: Emerging Artists for this year are Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, co-founders of multidisciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented. This edition showcases new commissions by three very diverse artists each bringing a unique perspective to this year’s programme. Al Lamki is inspired by the evolution of the UAE’s cultural dynamic since the early 2000s, while performance artist Abdalla explores the real and the imagined using memory and folktales. Benton’s multimedia works span sculpture, photography and film.
Maitha Abdalla has created an installation that is immersive and comprises several sculptures and a film that is a documentation of the performance. Both the sculptures and the film are evoking memories from Maitha’s childhood to talk about histories related to her own story and also to the development of the culture in which she lives.
Christopher Benton has created a work that is centered around a palm tree as a metaphor for global trade, histories of slavery, issue of migration and global economy.
Hashel Al Lamki’s project for the programme, titled Dice, highlights the patterns of the world, showing that everything has a rise and fall, and is meant to repeatedly evoke a sense of tension and release. His work consists of two main elements, a sculpture and a film that looks at the fall and rise of the world through a sequence of images and sounds that he has compiled from different sources from the internet, personal footage and films that he has been working on.
Beyond: Artist Commission
Each year, Abu Dhabi Art invites established and well-known artists to create site-specific works in historic sites in Al Ain and the wider Abu Dhabi emirate, to activate these sites and draw new audiences to them. The works created by the commissioned artists are revealed during Abu Dhabi Art and remain on show to the public for several months afterward.
Aya Haidar’s work is represented by ATHR
Dwelling On The Past is a large-scale artwork that serves to demystify the active and intrinsic role that Bedouin women had in the preservation and survival of their tribe, specifically through traditions of Sadu weaving.
Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain
Hazem Harb is represented by Tabari Artspace
Visual and esoteric retrieval of the artist individual memory as a ten-year-old Arab child who grew up on the idea of the great Arab world without borders, remembered in the memory of that child.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park, Al Ain
Dr. Najat Makki is represented by Hunar Gallery
Ya Marhaba Al Saa’ portrays seven women, representing the seven Emirates, focusing on traditional craftsmanship inspired by traditional embroidery and attire. The title of the work is an Emirati greeting that represents customs, values and traditions.
Al Ain Oasis, Al Ain
Richard Atugonza is represented by Afriart Gallery
At Heart but Far is -nspired by the tragic story of two lovers: Layla and Majnun, who become a metaphor of what many are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It speaks about longing for reunions and keeping friends and family in our hearts, while being physically separated.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park, Al Ain
Rasheed Araeen is represented by Grosvenor Gallery
The artistic aim of Shamiyaana Abu Dhabi is to bring people together under one roof to meet, eat together and engage in conversations.
Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi
Kind of Blue
This year, Simon Njami spotlights selected artists and galleries under a new curatorial framework, Kind of Blue. The title of the exhibition references an album by Miles Davis, with Njami positioning jazz music as a metaphor for the open-ended parameters of the exhibition. Kind of Blue likens galleries to orchestras, each presenting musicians who together create a collective project that is wider than their singular expression. The exhibition references the improvisation harnessed by the creation of jazz music as a means to create an exploratory space and dialogue for these artworks to be understood together.
The fair is open to the public at Manarat Al Saadiyat until Sunday 21 November 2021.