Abu Dhabi Art announces public line-up for its 10th anniversary event

We look at the four-day art event which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year

The four-day fair features displays and talks. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Art
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The public and curatorial programming has been announced for the art fair Abu Dhabi Art, which turns ten this year. Set up by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the fair has expanded to include more public programming for non-art buyers.

Among the artists and curators who will contribute to the four-day event in November are acclaimed Jordanian-British artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, Lantian Xie, who lives in Dubai, and Ajmani photographer Ammar Al Attar. The artists’ works will be launched during the four days of the art fair in November and remain up at Manarat Al Saadiyat until January.

Abu Dhabi Art was launched by DCT Abu Dhabi to help introduce modern and contemporary art to the capital. Set up around the same time as the Saadiyat museums project was announced, the fair also provided a site for many of the purchases for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Ten years on, the fair has increased its curatorial programming, and turned its remit of enhancing the UAE capital’s collecting scene into a year-long affair, with short-term exhibitions by Abu Dhabi Art galleries throughout the year at Warehouse421. Under the direction of Dyala Nusseibeh, who joined as director last year, the fair has focused on regional artists, offering opportunities to Arab artists based abroad.  

“Abu Dhabi Art adds impetus to our efforts to position Abu Dhabi as a cultural hub that is uniquely positioned between East and West,’ said Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, in a statement. “Once again, we present an event that breaks the traditional boundaries of a fair and continues to be a key platform, contributing to the global cultural scene at the same time as presenting our national identity and artistic contribution.”

Hammad Nasar, the curator of the fair’s annual Gateway exhibition, and the curator of the last UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for art, has organised an exhibition looking at artists’ responses to the built environment, including Abdullah al Saadi, Marysia Lewandowska, Rachel Whiteread and Lantian Xie.

The artists Moataz Nasr, Ammar Al Attar, and Imran Qureshi have been commissioned to make work in historic locations in Al Ain. Other programmes focus on the UAE’s younger generation of artists, such as an exhibition and education programme put together by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, and Tarek Abou El Fetouh’s series of seminars throughout the fair. El Fetouh’s performance platform, Durub Al Tawaya, which leaves Saadiyat to wend its way through the Abu Dhabi City environs, also returns.

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The artworks by Abu Hamdan and Al Qadiri are especially exciting – these are two of the most accomplished young Arab artists working today.

In the talks programme, art historians Nada Shabout and Salwa Mikdadi explore a facet of Arab art that the Gulf’s own art fairs have been instrumental in bringing about – the burgeoning market for Arab modernism.

A series of talks will discuss new art market economies, with panellists including Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel; Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil, curators of the current show at the NYUAD Art Gallery; and Roxane Zand, a Sotheby’s specialist in the Middle East.

The fair will also celebrate its 10th anniversary with a bash: Vernissage: Abu Dhabi Art Celebrates 10 Years! on 14th November 2018. Tickets are available now for Dh100, as well as early-bird tickets for the four-day fair.

Abu Dhabi Art runs from November 14 to 17