Emirati artists on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority presents the third edition of the Emirati Expressions series.

Striking images in acrylic, pastel and ink by Mohamed Al Mazrouei at the Emirati Expression: Realised exhibition in Manarat Al Saadiyat. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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ABU DHABI // Six distinguished Emirati artists proudly displayed their newly commissioned works at Manarat Al Saadiyat yesterday.

Emirati Expressions: Realised presents projects by Abdullah Al Saadi, Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Layla Juma, Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Mohammed Ibrahim and Mohammed Kazem that have not been exhibited.

It is the third Emirati Expressions exhibition.

The exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow, aims to nurture and support the artists’ talents by showing their work, commissioning art and offering interaction with world art experts.

Sharjah artist Juma’s work mainly consists of computer-generated drawings, which she uses to analyse recurring geometric forms.

Conceptually, her new work, Twins, alludes to both the fragmentation and interaction of human experience.

“There are lots of similarities among people but each person is different, even with twins,” Juma said.

Her work has been displayed at group shows and biennials throughout the Middle East, parts of Europe and Singapore.

Al Saadi, from Khor Fakkan, presented Naked Sweet Potato, a unique piece of 18-carat gold jewellery.

“I was drawn to the different shapes of the sweet potato,” he said. “After about two years of reading and meditating, I discovered many projects from it.”

Al Saadi studied Japanese art at Kyoto Seika University between 1994 and 1996.

He continued his education with workshops at the College of Arts in Edinburgh in 1998 and the Wadi Project Workshop at the Arctic Foundation in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 2002.

Al Mazrouei, from Abu Dhabi, describes his art as “primitive and naive under the umbrella of exhibitionism”.

“People need to see what’s behind it,” he said. “I do not only think of one subject. I like to add some elements for people to enjoy the drama of the painting.”

Al Mazrouei joined the Emirates Fine Arts Society and the UAE Writer’s Union, which he leads, in 1988.

"Being inside the bubble will allow me to colour the world," said Abdulaziz, of her exhibit Bubble Freedom.

“It’s about the freedom to change the atmosphere, the landscape around me.”

Abdulaziz works primarily with video, photography and performance art, which are then turned into the finished pieces.

“The most important element is the concept, which will drive the medium,” she said.

“Here I am performing, changing the bubble, changing the colour of the surroundings, using the blue ink.”

Rita Aoun-Abdo, the executive director of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority’s culture section, said: “This exhibition is important because it will familiarise the public with Emirati art and it will create a platform for an exchange between the artists and the public.

“The public can be more involved and feel a greater sense of belonging to Emirati heritage.”

The exhibition, which runs until January 18, is curated by Reem Fadda, the associate curator of Middle Eastern Art at Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R Guggenheim, and by assistant curator Maisa Al Qassimi, the programmes manager at the authority’s museums department.

Other highlights include the Full Artist Circle talk, which will reunite celebrated artists from the previous editions of Emirati Expressions, and Artscape: the Harmony of Art and Poetry, an evening of poetry inspired by the exhibition’s themes.