Abu Dhabi Art 2019: Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz to lead visual campaign

The annual art fair takes place at Manarat Al Saadiyat in November

'Life in a Bag' by Ebtisam Abdulaziz.
Powered by automated translation

Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz will lead the visual campaign at Abu Dhabi Art 2019, which takes place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from November 21 to 23.

Abdulaziz will present pieces from her ongoing project, Life in a Bag, in which she exhibits X-ray images of women's bags, including those belonging to visitors at last year's Abu Dhabi Art.

“Working with Abu Dhabi Art is a unique opportunity and the event itself has inspired my new series,” says Abdulaziz. “It documents visitors’ bags from Abu Dhabi Art 2018, reflecting the diverse cultures and personalities [the event] brings together. I think of them as portraits. Through these items, culture, personality, social life, and different tastes are captured.”

Abu Dhabi art director Dyala Nusseibeh added: “Ebtisam is a key voice in the regional artistic community and we are honoured that she has agreed to provide works for the new visual campaign. I love her ‘Life in a Bag’ series and it is really special that she chose to extend this project by creating new portraits of fair-goers at Abu Dhabi Art. She is a wonderful artist to collaborate with.”

Abdulaziz began to attract attention as an artist in 2007 for Autobiography, a controversial piece of performance art, in which she stood in the middle of a roundabout in Sharjah, wearing a black bodysuit covered in bright green numbers taken from her bank statements.

Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz
Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz

“This was me saying we are not human any more, we are just numbers and those numbers are money,” explained Abdulaziz in 2012. “It is a representation of me in this culture and the kind of material life that we are living.”

The 11th year of Abu Dhabi Art, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, will also feature a series of talks, workshops and performances, as well as a full programme of exhibitions, which will be open through to January 25, 2020.

One of the most exciting projects at the fair is 'Beyond: Artist Commissions'. Established contemporary artists have again been commissioned to produce site-specific work in Al Ain, which will be unveiled during Abu Dhabi Art 2019.

Added to this, 'Beyond: Emerging Artists' is an annual initiative designed to promote young artists in the UAE. Three artists will be chosen to undertake a year-long programme, during which they will work on their practice under the guidance of a guest curator. The work created by last year’s ‘Emerging Artists’ – Ahmed Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Taqwa Al Naqbi and Dhabiya Al Rumaithi – will also be exhibited.

Abu Dhabi Art 2019 takes place from November 21 to 23 at Manarat Al Saadiyat. For more information, visit www.abudhabiart.ae