Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dail The Bride's Rug, 2017 Installation Basalt stone with brass shives

Abu Dhabi Art Fair returned for its 10th iteration in the UAE capital in November and Selections was there to capture some highlights

Meem Gallery presented a series of large-scale works by Berlin-based artist Zhivago Duncan who used batik, the ancient technique of wax resistant dyeing to create his otherworldly compositions. In this body of work, the artist layered ancient Near and Middle Eastern creation stories with modern science, and existential ideas about modern life. The abstract works were explosive and made up of floating circular forms. The spheres referenced planetary rotations and moon phases, while also touching on the science and spirituality behind our own genesis, evolution and DNA.

Meem Gallery Zhivago Duncan Great Heavenly Body, 2018 Batik on canvas, 100 x 80 cm
Meem Gallery Zhivago Duncan Great Heavenly Body, 2018 Batik on canvas, 100 x 80 cm

A highlight at Sfeir-Semler Gallery were two sculptures by Wael Shawky. The figures were placed in an arresting vitrine and give the feeling of protected grandeur. From a distance, they are reminiscent of ancient sculptures which often represent Egypt’s visual identity. However, upon closer inspection, they transform into surreal creations with reflective metallic colors and exaggerated forms and expressions. This futuristic interpretation to an old sculptural oeuvre questions the content of the sculptures and the role they play in Egypt’s contemporary landscape.

Sfeir-Semler Gallery Wael Shawky Untitled, 2018 Plaster, paint 34 x 19, 5 x 35 cm
Sfeir-Semler Gallery Wael Shawky Untitled, 2018 Plaster, paint 34 x 19, 5 x 35 cm

Naqsh collective showcased the works of Jordanian artist sisters Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dail. Their designs reframed ancestral patterns from Middle Eastern embroidery in a contemporary context. ‘The Bride’s Rug’, was a piece brought to life with a fictitious narrative created by Naqsh Collective where the piece became a handwoven rug crafted in the embroidery of a Palestinian bride’s heritage. The rug was hidden for safekeeping during times of turmoil and later uncovered and re-proposed by Naqsh Collective.

Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dail The Bride's Rug, 2017 Installation Basalt stone with brass shives
Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dail The Bride’s Rug, 2017 Installation Basalt stone with brass shives

The works of Sadik Kwaish Alfraji’s stood out at Ayyam Gallery with their unique way of blending art and philosophy. Alfraji explored recurring issues of existence and identity, feelings of loss and an eternal state of longing through his standing figures. Moreover, he tackled anxious emotions and thoughts, which are prevalent in his life as an exile artist. A substantial amount of depth in his work stems from his memories of social and political events, especially the Iran-Iraq war, and personal experiences such as the loss of his father.

Ayyam Gallery Sadik Kwaish Alfraji Cocoon 2, 2013, Indian ink, charcoal on rice, Chinese printed paper and oil on canvas 180 x 180 cm
Ayyam Gallery Sadik Kwaish Alfraji Cocoon 2, 2013, Indian ink, charcoal on rice, Chinese printed paper and oil on canvas 180 x 180 cm

Galerie Isa featured a stainless-steel work by Aldo Chapparo who lives and works in Mexico City and is a trained sculptor who is best known for his distorted stainless steel sculptures. His work centers around a process of capturing a moment of the present. He created his sculpture through a performance-like transformation process in which he unleashed the energy and force from his body onto the stainless steel. Chaparro captured the movement and the energy of a moment to create his abstract relief on a two-dimensional surface.

Galerie Isa Aldo Chaparro Mx Gold & Silver, 2018 Stainless Steel 270 x 115 x 40 cm
Galerie Isa Aldo Chaparro Mx Gold & Silver, 2018 Stainless Steel 270 x 115 x 40 cm

Abu Dhabi Art was held from the 14th of November untill 17th of November, 2018 at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi.

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SELECTIONS is a platform for the arts, focusing on the Arab World.

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