New exhibitions to open at Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation in Qasr Al Hosn next week

The launch of the new programme coincides with the opening of the Abu Dhabi Children's Library and a 900-seat theatre

'Untitled', 2011, acrylic, fluorescent paint on canvas by Najat Makki. Courtesy of the artist
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The Cultural Foundation of Abu Dhabi has announced a new programme of exhibitions, workshops and art events, which will launch on Wednesday, September 4 at the capital’s oldest historical site, the recently revamped Qasr Al Hosn.

The programme will coincide with the opening of new spaces within the foundation’s premises. This includes the launch of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library and a 900-seat theatre, completing the full renovation of the original spaces.

“Since its creation in 1981, the Foundation has served as a key place for artists to learn, collaborate and create,” says Reem Fadda, the Cultural Foundation’s Director.

“We are thrilled to continue this legacy with a rich offering of unique and immersive arts spaces and a year-round programme of exhibitions, artist residencies and workshops.”

A series of contemporary exhibitions will be presented each year, featuring works by local, regional and international artists. These showcases will fill the Cultural Foundation’s ground floor, main hall and new courtyards. Here is what you can expect this year.

Najat Makki: Luminescence

Kicking off the opening season is Najat Makki: Luminescence, the Emirati artist's debut solo exhibition, which highlights her experimental approach, as well as geographical and historical influences. It will be on show from Wednesday, September 3 until Sunday, December 15, and alongside it will run a public programme of events that include artist talks, workshops, master classes, guided tours and film screenings.

Dr Najat Makki is an Emirati visual artist and a pioneer in the country's contemporary arts scene. Courtesy the Cultural Foundation

The Red Palace by Sultan bin Fahad

Following that, from Monday, January 20, 2020, The Red Palace by Saudi Arabian artist and prince Sultan bin Fahad Bin Nasser Al-Saud will travel from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi. On view until Wednesday, April 1, the exhibition explores the historical 20th-century Red Palace and its role within historical and political events from the era in the artist's home country. Sculptures and installations have been crafted using memorabilia, relics and discarded objects from various sites, exploring how the ruin has factored in the country's social transformation.

Community exhibitions

On the first floor of the Cultural Foundation, two new spaces will be dedicated to community exhibitions. The first exhibit to be held here will be The Tribute: A Dedication to Najat Makki, featuring works by 19 Emirati artists spanning three generations. These creatives have watched Makki’s career evolve; some have studied with her, others have seen her early exhibitions and others have had works exhibited side by side hers internationally. All of them have a deep appreciation of the artist, and this exhibition aims to be an opportunity for them to express their admiration.

The Abu Dhabi Children's Library

The Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will open with an exhibition called Step Into A Story. It will focus on the role of pop-up and moveable books in literacy. The library building itself has been designed as a life-sized pop-up book with immersive spaces and interactive exhibits. It will also house the Children’s Arts Centre, where workshops will be held throughout each month for children aged five to 14. These will teach a variety of skills, including painting, drawing, jewellery design and music.

Abu Dhabi Children’s Library. Courtesy Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

Art Residency Programme finale

As part of the foundation’s Art Residency Programme, the four artists in residence – Ayesha Hadhir, Ahmad Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Saoud Al Dhaheri and Zayed Temash – will exhibit their final art works in the three studio spaces from Wednesday, September 4 until Saturday, November 30. An open call for the 2020 art residency cycle will be issued at the opening season, too.

House of Calligraphy

Meanwhile, Bait al Khatt (House of Calligraphy), a new space within the Cultural Foundation, will be continuing its ongoing programme of beginner, intermediate and master classes that are open to the public. These are led by artist and calligrapher Mohammed Mandi and take both a practical and theoretical approach to the artform.

Workshops and moving images

An educational programme aimed at teens and adults called Al Marsam Al Hor will also launch in September. This features various classes and workshops focusing on artistic disciplines such as sketching, oil painting, mix media, sculpture, ceramics, pottery and fashion design, to name a few.

Finally, other initiatives that will be launched next month include a moving image programme that aims to nurture the growth of broadcast art in the UAE, with up to five films debuting monthly across various digital mediums.

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