Red Sky at Night 1, Jessica Watson Thorp, 2015, 36x48 cm, Ink on Paper

November witnessed the peak of annual artistic activity for the UAE capital, with Abu Dhabi Art almost coinciding with the first anniversary celebrations for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as a series of exhibitions opening all over town. Many of those presentations are remaining in place until the New Year, allowing visitors plenty of time to fully immerse themselves in the art.

Siniša Vlajković, Genius Loci, Trojan Dinosaurs, Dubai, UAE, 2012, Courtesy of Warehouse 421
Siniša Vlajković, Genius Loci, Trojan Dinosaurs, Dubai, UAE, 2012, Courtesy of Warehouse 421

For the first stop in a tour of the Emirate, a trip to Al Ain is mandatory to witness the three stunning commissioned pieces that were a key piece of the art fair’s programme. Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr’s 10-metre-wide circle of wooden paddles standing in Al Ain’s historic Al Jahili Fort brings to mind not only ancient rituals but also the 21st century migration crisis. Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi has covered the desert oasis with his red painted leaves and Emirati artist Ammar Al Attar has explored Qasr Al Muwaiji, the former home of the Al Nahyan royal family, with a photographic project.

Miriam Innes, I Have a Thing for New York Lamp Posts, 2018, charcoal on fabriano paper, courtesy of Novus Art Gallery
Miriam Innes, I Have a Thing for New York Lamp Posts, 2018, charcoal on fabriano paper, courtesy of Novus Art Gallery

Back in the capital and the artist collective Bait 15 are presenting a group exhibition showcasing works from the Juma family. Named Bait Juma, the team have allowed the family to take over the communal space to share their art as well as to explore the idea of domesticity. By reversing domestic roles into creative disciplines, they have altered the viewer’s perspective towards the typical home environment. Also at Bait 15, visiting artist Tarek Al Ghoussein will be showing a series of works in the residency space. In addition, Architecture of Loneliness, a new exhibition co-curated with Gulf Photo Plus, opens on December 15 at Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi.


A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, Sanctuaries #47

Anna Seaman

Through a piece of visual art you can learn about history, politics, religion, love, science, music and a whole host of other subjects including personal stories. For Anna Seaman, as a writer, it is a joy and a passion to set herself the challenge of writing about visual art and the messages that artists wish to convey through their work. Currently, Anna runs her own online portal featuring art-related news, reviews and features (annaseaman.com) and prior to that she was the visual arts writer at The National newspaper, whose headquarters are in Abu Dhabi. Anna is from the UK and has been living in the Middle East for 10 years.

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