Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation will present three new exhibitions this month, including a solo exhibition of works by Emirati painter and sculptor Abdulrahim Salim.
Born in 1955, Salim is part of the UAE's early art scene. He grew up between Sharjah and Dubai before moving to Bahrain at a young age. At age 14, he participated in the Bahrain Annual Fine Arts Exhibition, showcasing his sandstone sculptures. He earned a fine arts degree from Cairo University before moving back to the UAE to become an educator.
The exhibition Abdulrahim Salim: Between Chaos and Serenity includes the artist’s major works, specifically both his abstract and figurative paintings that show stylistic breadth and depth. The survey show consists of six chapters, which consider the artist’s choice of subjects and narratives within his works.
Maheerah, the second exhibition, builds from the solo, featuring works by several artists who have gleaned inspiration from Salim’s practice. The 35 artists, who come from a range of backgrounds, include Reem Al Mazrouei, Rashid Al Mulla, Bernard Jouaret, Chandeep Seth and Reynaldo Tambong.
The word "maheerah" refers to Salim's muse, and the works created by the group of artists aim to reinterpret this concept and character. While 10 artists worked with multimedia and produced short films, the other 25 have depicted the muse through paintings.
In a statement, Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, which runs the Cultural Foundation, described Salim as a “key pioneer of the local art scene” who has “done so much to advance artistic movements and discourse in the UAE”.
A member of Sharjah's Emirates Fine Arts Society, Salim exhibited regularly in the region from 1981 to 2001. His work has been shown at the Asian Art Biennial (1995) and as part of the 56th Venice Biennial, UAE Pavilion through the exhibition 1980 –Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, which explored the history of exhibition-making in the country. He has also received awards at the Sharjah Biennial and Cairo Biennial.
Cultural Foundation's last exhibition in the series, Wonder Writers, comprises a collection of short stories by students from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. All enrolled in Aldar Academies, the pupils were chosen from a writing competition in the previous school year. They are Noura AlHammadi, Hamdan AlMazrouei, Qais Abu Hantash, Shamsa AlQubaisi, Shaikha AlShebli and AlReem AlQubaisi.
Their stories range from tales of action and adventure to more socio-cultural issues. These narratives and ideas have been translated into illustration through the commissioned works by three artists.
The three exhibitions will open on Sunday, November 22, and will run until February.