Nujoom Alghanem’s critically-acclaimed video installation Passage will premiere at this year's Abu Dhabi Art. The event runs from November 17 to 21 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Installed as part of the art fair’s Gateway section, which focuses on local artists, it will remain at Manarat Al Saadiyat and also be shown for Portrait of a Nation II, an exhibition organised by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (Admaf) that opens in the Saadiyat space in January.
The exhibition of Passage makes for a double-header by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. The pair curated Passage for the National Pavilion UAE for the Venice Biennale, and are also organising Abu Dhabi Art's Beyond section, which is commissioned to emerging artists this year.
Alghanem’s moody, poetic work was inspired by the idea of journeys and evolution. The Dubai cultural figure is usually accustomed to filmmaking and poetry, but embraced the opportunity to work in an art context and make the installation.
The large screen showing Passage bifurcates the exhibition space, with the film screened on both sides. Audiences have to move around the installation to see both screens, meaning one can never grasp the entire idea of Passage at once.
The work’s inclusion in Portrait of a Nation marks the first time that the National Pavilion UAE has collaborated with Admaf, which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Lebanese curator Maya El Khalil is putting together an expansive second version of Admaf's Portrait of a Nation, which was first launched in 2016. The intent for the show is to provide a window into art-making in the UAE.
“We are pleased to partner with Abu Dhabi Art and the National Pavilion UAE to present Passage, Nujoom Alghanem’s unique use of fiction and reality to explore the universal experience of displacement,” said Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, the founder of Admaf.
“Bringing the Emirati artist’s seminal work to be shown for the first time in the UAE reflects Admaf’s 25 years of dedication to cultivating and supporting artists in the UAE.”
The National Pavilion UAE brings its exhibitions back to the emirates after its initial showing in Venice, in a rotating series of venues.