The capital comes alive with culture as Abu Dhabi Art returns

The Art of the matter…

The annual art fair in Abu Dhabi is more than a traditional trade fair, it presents many events and initiatives to engage the general public. This year, during its 14th iteration, Abu Dhabi Art is displaying work from over 80 leading and emerging galleries as well as featuring a curatorially driven programme, including art installations, talks and performances taking place in different locations, making this its most comprehensive and diverse to date. Here are our highlights…

Exhibiting galleries

Each year, participating exhibitors are selected by an internal committee at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. The international modern and contemporary galleries present a wide range of artworks for sale by different artists. Art enthusiasts, collectors and visitors have the opportunity to experience exhibitors representing galleries from across the globe, including Leehwaik Gallery from the Republic of South Korea, London’s October Gallery, Rossi & Rossi in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia’s ATHR Gallery.

Artist commissions in historic sites

Abu Dhabi Art invites established artists to create site-specific works in historic sites in Al Ain and the wider Abu Dhabi emirate to draw new audiences. The works created by the commissioned artists are revealed during Abu Dhabi Art fair and remain on show to the public for several months. This year sees special projects from Italian multi-disciplinary artist Marinella Senatore at Manarat Al Saadiyat and Al Hosn, alongside commissioned works by Abdullah Al Saadi plus special pieces from Shilpa Gupta in Al Jahili Fort, and mechanical sculpturist Conrad Shawcross in Al Ain Oasis. 

Emerging artists

This annual Beyond: Emerging Artists initiative gives three emerging UAE artists a platform to realise ambitious art projects, where their works will be shown at Manarat Al Saadiyat as part of Abu Dhabi Art. Over the past year, multidisciplinary artist and co-founder and director of Lebanon-based publisher Dongola Limited Editions Abed Al Kadiri has mentored three UAE-based emerging artists, Majd Alloush, Sarah Al Mehairi and Mohamed Khalid, as they create new commissioned works exploring the theme of borders, home and man-made territories. The Beyond programme runs alongside Al Kadiri’s acclaimed pandemic undertaking Cities Under Quarantine: The Mailbox Project, which will be travelling to Al Ain and be on view at Qasr Al Muwaiji until January 22, 2023.

Music and talks

During the festival, Abu Dhabi Art also hosts a series of cultural talks and book launches with leading figures in the world, plus site-specific performances commissioned in different locations throughout the city. Highlights include Shabaka, an interactive music experience commissioned by Berkley Abu Dhabi and Noon, an experimental music project comprising traditional Middle Eastern music with jazz.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, November 16 to 20, Wed 5pm to 9pm, Thur to Sun 2pm to 9pm. abudhabiart.com

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