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.
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.
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