ABU DHABI // Up and coming artists will be featured during the second annual artparis-Abu Dhabi exhibition, which opens to an invitation-only preview at Emirates Palace hotel tonight. A new section at this year's exhibition will show the work of eight emerging artists from eight countries, including Camille Zakharia, who was born in Lebanon but left in 1985 after the civil war. He now works from Bahrain.
Three of the artists are Emiratis. The exhibition will also show the work of the Iranian photographer Jamshid Bayrami, according to the state news agency, WAM. The fair is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The capital hopes the fair will cement Abu Dhabi's place as the leading cultural centre for the Middle East. "Artparis-Abu Dhabi is an important contribution to our growing national arts programming, with the goal of stimulating cultural exchange and expanding audiences in anticipation of the opening of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District," said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and the Tourism Development and Investment Company.
More than 15,000 people are expected to visit the exhibition, which will be open to the public tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. Last year, the show attracted 10,000 visitors and US$16 million (Dh58m) worth of art was sold. Pieces expected to draw a crowd include works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. According to its organisers, artparis will include 58 modern and contemporary art galleries from 22 countries.
The fair will also include an exhibition put together by the curator Amal Traboulsi, Movement and Communication: Travels Through Desert and Sea, which focuses on the influence of the region's landscape and geography through the work of 16 artists across the Arab world. "Artparis-Abu Dhabi 2008 plays an important role in the regional and international art marketplace," said Caroline Clough-Lacoste, the festival's director.
Artparis started in France in 1999. There, this year's festival grew by 15 per cent, attracting more than 41,000 visitors. Abu Dhabi is the only international export of the festival. The fair is free to the public and is open from 3pm to 8pm daily. email@example.com