Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Art expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair in placing emphasis on a diverse public engagement programme, including art installations and exhibitions, talks and events, that take place in different locations throughout the year.

The culmination of this year-long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides an important sales platform for participating galleries whilst also offering these galleries an opportunity to showcase ambitious installations and site-specific works by their artists to a wide audience.

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that this year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Art will return to Manarat Al Saadiyat in a physical format and run from 17 to 21 November. The 2021 edition will also capitalise on the success of last year’s virtual innovations by continuing to have a strong digital presence through a number of online initiatives.

This year Abu Dhabi Art will be also showcasing several new commissioned installations at locations across the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The art-driven experiences will stretch from Liwa and Al Ain to the city centre of Abu Dhabi and is in part a natural extension of the fair’s Beyond: Artist Commissions programme, which launched in 2017 and brings site-specific works to world heritage sites in Al Ain each year. Abu Dhabi Art has been working closely with commissioned artists on their new works, as well as with DCT Abu Dhabi, to create eco-driven experiences in these unique locations.

Each year, the fair collaborates with artists to create its visual campaign and this year it will feature works by Emirati artists Ayesha Hadhir, Rawdha Khalifa Al Ketbi and Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi, which were first created as part of Beyond: Emerging Artists in 2019. In these works they jointly explore the idea of transformation in different environments, from seascapes and the desert, to abandoned cityscapes.

Abu Dhabi Art, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is set to be the first art fair in the world to collaborate with London’s new exhibition space and membership organisation Cromwell Place, with an exhibition event in the UK capital as part of the fair’s official programme.

Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

In its first ever exhibition abroad, Abu Dhabi Art is presenting commissioned works created in 2020 as part of the annual programme Beyond: Emerging Artists at Cromwell Place London from 2 to 13 June. The three emerging artists included in the exhibition, who are all from the UAE, were supported in the development of their commissions in 2020 by curator Maya El-Khalil. Their works are being shown alongside presentations of UAE-based galleries Tabari Artspace, Lawrie Shabibi, The Third Line and Isabelle Van Den Eynde across five galleries in 2,3 and 4 Cromwell Place.

The guest curators for 2021 Beyond: Emerging Artists programme will be Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, co-founders of multidisciplinary curatorial platform Art Reoriented. The curators have chosen three UAE-based emerging artists – Hashel Al Lamki, Maitha Abdalla and Christopher Benton – to participate this year and create new commissions for the exhibition in November.

Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

The commissioned artists each bring 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.
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.

Hashel Al Lamki's work
Hashel Al Lamki’s work

Beyond: Emerging Artists 2021 will be on show at Manarat Al Saadiyat from 17 November until 22 January 2022.

Abu Dhabi Art today announces the formation of Friends of Abu Dhabi Art – an initiative created to facilitate new models of public cultural philanthropy and help support the dynamic art eco-system in the UAE through Abu Dhabi Art. Launching with an inaugural group of more than 40 dedicated art enthusiasts, Friends of Abu Dhabi Art will this year support Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond: Emerging Artists, curated by guest curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Founders of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform.

This year, the globally respected Simon Njami and Rose Lejeune will be the guest curators, while commissioned works by artists Aya Haidar, Hazem Harb, Dr Najat Makki, Rasheed Araeen and Richard Atugonza will be included in the Beyond: Artist Commissions programme.

Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Alongside these works, additional works by exhibiting artists including, Alfredo Jaar represented by Giorgio Persano Gallery (Turin), Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, represented by Green Art Gallery (Dubai), Siah Armajani represented by Rossi & Rossi (London, Hong Kong), and Zineb Sedira represented by The Third Line (Dubai), will also be featured as part of Abu Dhabi Art’s special installation sector, In & Around.

Hera Buyuktasciyan, Everflowing Pool of Nectar Volume I, 2017, Chalk and graphite on paper, 1000 x 50 cm (each).
Hera Buyuktasciyan, Everflowing Pool of Nectar Volume I, 2017, Chalk and graphite on paper, 1000 x 50 cm (each).

Each year, distinguished guest curators work closely with a number of galleries exhibiting at the fair to present curated gallery sectors and programmes. This year, Njami’s gallery sector will draw connections between artists through the language of music, while Lejeune will bring together a new performance art programme. Both guest curators had previously contributed to the virtual edition of the fair in 2020 and are back this year to contribute in-person.

This year, Beyond: Artist Commissions will feature new works by Aya Haidar, a British-Lebanese multimedia artist who focusses on the use of found and recycled objects exploring loss, migration and memory; Hazem Harb, a Palestinian artist living between Rome and Dubai who delves into the spatial relationship between different phenomena such as, place and time; Dr. Najat Makki, a pioneering Emirati contemporary artist who works with large-scale installations; Rasheed Araeen, an early pioneer of minimalism who is well-known for his formal geometric sculptures; and Richard Atugonza, a Uganda-born sculptor who draws inspiration from his immediate surroundings. The artists’ works will be revealed during the fair and will remain on view to the public until 22 January 2022.

Najat Makki, Fishing Net 2
Najat Makki, Fishing Net 2

The commissioned artists for Beyond: Artist Commissions will also be showing large-scale artworks at the fair as part of Abu Dhabi Art’s on-site programme, In & Around, to connect fair-goers to the off-site projects. Other artists who will be presenting their works as part of In & Around include Alfredo Jaar, artist, architect and filmmaker who is represented by Giorgio Persano Gallery (Turin); Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, who examines the relationship between labour and productivity and the power dynamics embedded in the shaping of social, urban and historical landscapes and who is represented by Green Art Gallery (Dubai); Siah Armajani, a leading artist with a decades-long career, best known for his work in public art and who is represented by Rossi & Rossi (London, Hong Kong); and Zineb Sedira, who works across photography, film, sculpture and installation and is represented by The Third Line (Dubai).

Abu Dhabi Art’s year-round talks programme, Collectors Forum, is curated by Middle Eastern art expert and former deputy chairman of Sotheby’s, Roxane Zand. The talks started earlier this year with How are NFTS taking over the art world? and will continue until the end of the year. The Collectors Forum is a series of cultural talks targeting art collectors, and features some of the art world’s leading figures, with the aim of engaging audiences in discussions related to the history of the UAE and contemporary art practice in the country and around the world.

There will be a lineup of 50 local, regional, and international galleries participating in the fair’s 13th edition. Artworks from 19 countries will be presented by 14 new galleries and 36 returning galleries.

Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Copyright © 2020 Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Simon Njami is curating Kind of Blue, an exploration of the many varied perspectives of artists working today through the language of jazz. Kind of Blue will be presenting 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.

Nicène Kossentini, Detail of Poem of Abû Nuwâs, 2020. Ink on paper. 41 x 31 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sabrina Amrani
Nicène Kossentini, Detail of Poem of Abû Nuwâs, 2020. Ink on paper. 41 x 31 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sabrina Amrani

The Modern & Contemporary section of the fair will feature 26 participating galleries presenting a wide range of works by different artists. The participating galleries include Agial Art Gallery (Beirut, Lebanon), Artside Gallery (Seoul, South Korea), Baró Galeria (Palma, Spain), Custot Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Galeria La Cometa (Bogotá, Colombia), Galerie Elmarsa Gallery (Dubai, UAE), GALLERIA CONTINUA (San Gimignano, Italy), Gallery Lee & Bae (Busan, South Korea), Gallery Tableau (Seoul, South Korea), Giorgio Persano (Turin, Italy), Green Art Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Hafez Gallery (Jeddah, KSA), Hunar Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Le Violon Bleu (Carthage, Tunisia), Leehwaik Gallery (Seoul, South Korea), Leila Heller Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Martch Art Project (Istanbul, Turkey), Mono Gallery (Riyadh, KSA), Perrotin (Paris, France), Rossi & Rossi (Hong Kong), Sapar Contemporary (New York, USA), Shirin Art Gallery (Tehran, Iran), Tabari Artspace (Dubai, UAE), Wadi Finan Art Gallery (Amman, Jordan), Yavuz Gallery (Singapore), and Zawyeh Gallery (Dubai, UAE).

Adam Henein, Sans titre, 1975. Sandstone, H. 55 cm. Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery, Tunis/Dubai
Adam Henein, Sans titre, 1975. Sandstone, H. 55 cm. Courtesy of Elmarsa Gallery, Tunis/Dubai

Alongside galleries from the Modern & Contemporary section, 22 galleries will be presenting curated booths by one, two or three artists each as part of the fair’s Special Projects sector. The list includes, 1×1 Art Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Aicon Contemporary (New York, USA), Aisha Alabbar Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Art Alive Gallery (New Delhi, India), ATHR (Jeddah, KSA), Carbon12 (Dubai, UAE), Colnaghi Gallery (New York, USA), Etihad Modern Art Gallery (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Exhibit320 (New Delhi, India), Galerie Isa (Mumbai, India), Gallery Espace (New Delhi, India), Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai, UAE), Grosvenor Gallery (London, UK), Khak Gallery (Tehran, Iran), Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai, UAE), Leila Heller Gallery (Dubai, UAE), Salwa Zeidan Gallery (Abu Dhabi, UAE), SARADIPOUR Art | SARAI Gallery (Los Angeles, USA), Tabari Artspace (Dubai, UAE), The Guild (Mumbai, India), The Third Line (Dubai, UAE), and Threshold Art Gallery (New Delhi, India).

Farhad Moshiri, First Snow 3D, 2018. Hand embroidered beads on canvas on board, 143 x 107 cm
Farhad Moshiri, First Snow 3D, 2018. Hand embroidered beads on canvas on board, 143 x 107 cm

The fair’s upcoming edition will be open to the public at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Wednesday 17 November to Sunday 21 November 2021.


Info is extracted from the press releases.

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