Abu Dhabi Art partners with London's Cromwell Place to promote Emirati artists

A pop-up showcase in the English capital will take place in early June

Afra Al Dhaheri working on her installation 'Tasreeha, 2020', from Abu Dhabi Art's Beyond: Emerging Artists show at Manarat Al Saadiyat
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Abu Dhabi Art, one of the UAE's biggest art fairs, is collaborating with the UK's Cromwell Place to promote Emirati artists to an international audience.

A pop-up presentation will be held at the London venue from June 2 to 13, marking Abu Dhabi Art's first overseas show, as it takes work from some of the best UAE artists and galleries to collectors in England's capital.

It will also be the first art fair to present at Cromwell Place, which opened last October as a members-only, high-spec venue that offers gallery space and private viewing rooms for rent when galleries need them, and acts as a base for socialising and networking throughout the year.

"Cromwell Place was a natural partner for our first exhibition abroad, as several of our gallery exhibitors at the fair are also members at Cromwell Place," Dyala Nusseibeh, director of Abu Dhabi Art, said.

At the pop-up, Abu Dhabi Art will present commissioned works created as part of the annual programme Beyond: Emerging Artists and shown at Manarat Al Saadiyat under Abu Dhabi Art 2020, curated by Maya El Khalil.

Every year, the fair commissions Emirati artists to create new works for its mentorship programme. Last year, the three artists selected were, for the second year in a row, all women. These were Hind Mezaina, Afra Al Dhaheri and Afra Al Suwaidi.

Alongside these three artists, there will be presentations by UAE galleries Tabari Artspace, Lawrie Shabibi, The Third Line and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde.

Maitha Abdalla and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the UAE's first contemporary artists, who will represent the country at the Venice Biennale in 2022, will also show their work.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the UAE's most important artists, will represent the country at the Venice Biennale 2022. Courtesy Augustine Paredes; National Pavilion UAE Venice Biennale
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the UAE's most important artists, will represent the country at the Venice Biennale 2022. Courtesy Augustine Paredes; National Pavilion UAE Venice Biennale

Other artists from the Middle East will also present pieces, including Anuar Khalifi, Sara Naim, Sophia Al Maria and Manal AlDowayan.

This new show comes as part of a wider plan to showcase UAE artists at the South Kensington hub.

Abu Dhabi Art 2021

Abu Dhabi Art will be held in person this winter, with the fair scheduled to take place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Thursday to Sunday, November 18 to 21, it was announced last week.

Last year’s event was held online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exhibits will include installations across the emirate, from Liwa to Al Ain, and extended programmes to support the local creative scene throughout the year. Some digital elements introduced last year will be retained.

More details on the guest artists, curators and emirate-wide programme are expected over the next few months.

“Abu Dhabi Art is a platform for cultural connectivity, bringing together artists, galleries, institutions and arts professionals and fostering creativity by connecting them," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

"Whilst the last year has brought up many challenges and issues for the art world, it has also brought forth opportunities to innovate. This pandemic has shown us that our way forward is through collaboration, adaptation and innovation. For any society to blossom, culture must be part of its DNA, and must be integral to its aspirations for progression and development.

"Abu Dhabi Art has adapted swiftly to the challenges that have faced the art ecosystem during the pandemic and will contribute to cultural growth and to the art market in the UAE with renewed vigour this year."