Abu Dhabi, 13 March 2018: As part of its year-round public programming, Abu Dhabi Art has announced the launch of a series of commercial gallery exhibitions in Abu Dhabi showcasing artworks for sale. Set to be hosted at Warehouse421, the programme will start with an exhibition presented in collaboration with the leading Saudi contemporary art gallery, ATHR. The exhibition entitled Letters: Fragments of a Memory is inspired by Letters to a Young Muslim, the groundbreaking book by H.E. Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to France, which explores the experiences of Muslim youth and their struggles with identity across the Arab region.
Letters: Fragments of a Memory will open to the public on 15 March 2018, offering visitors the chance to purchase and collect artworks at Warehouse421, a thriving hub for creativity and an active participant in Abu Dhabi’s creative ecosystem that is dedicated to supporting learning, making, exhibition and commercial activity relevant to the local and regional creative industries.
Palestinian actor, Ahmed Tobasi, will perform And Here I Am at the official opening of the exhibition. Continuing on the concept of memory explored in the exhibition, the theatre performance is based on the personal recollections of Tobasi and follows the protagonist through his transformation from resistance fighter to artist, capturing key moments in his journey as a refugee from the West Bank to Norway and then back again.
Featuring 14 international artists selected by ATHR, the exhibition Letters: Fragments of a Memory is a response to the widely acclaimed novel by Ghobash. The novel follows the format of letters to Ghobash’s young son in each chapter, where he unlocks aspects of Islam with his personal experiences and careful factual thinking. Offering a multi-layered approach to the book, the exhibition explores specific moments in history that have influenced and shaped the Muslim youth experience and identity across the region.
Dyala Nusseibeh, Abu Dhabi Art Director said: “Abu Dhabi Art continually seeks to present art to the capital year-round and to offer residents a rich artistic programmme. To this end, we are extremely honoured and proud to collaborate with ATHR and on an exhibition that will resonate with youth across the region. As the first of a series of exhibitions we will be presenting with commercial galleries, Letters: Fragments of a Memory marks the beginning of an expanded platform for galleries in the emirate. We are also honoured to be presenting Tobasi’s powerful production And Here I Am for the opening. His performance is a poignant and insightful reflection on the potential for culture to be a force for good.”
Mohammed Hafiz, Founder of ATHR commented: “ATHR has enabled artistic dialogue among contemporary artists across the world since 2009. Following the positive impact of the Letters exhibition in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia we decided to extend the exhibition regionally. Given the importance of Abu Dhabi Art as a platform that shares ATHR’S vision and commitment to enriching the community through art, it was only natural to bring the Letters exhibition to Abu Dhabi and to share it amongst a wider audience here. The exhibition consists of 6 segments, out of which only Fragments of Memory will be presented in Warehouse 421 for one month. The rest of the segments which include Landscapes, Youth and other, Probable Question, Power of Language and The Grey Area will be all shown during Abu Dhabi Art in November 2018.”
Faisal Al Hassan, Manager at Warehouse421, said: “Following the culmination of this year’s edition of Galleries Week, Warehouse421 is delighted to be the home of ATHR Gallery for an extended duration. As part of the diversification of our space, the exhibition complements our mission to support the creative community by connecting commercial galleries with collectors and art enthusiasts in the UAE while also creating more awareness of Arab art and emerging regional artists. Together with the ongoing program of events at Warehouse421, the Letters: Fragments of a Memory exhibition and the accompanying And Here I Am theatrical performance are important additions to our calendar of activities that offer enriching insights into the art and cultural scene of the region.”
ATHR Gallery’s exhibition will open on 15 March as the first in a series of exhibitions organised by Abu Dhabi Art in collaboration with galleries that display at the annual fair. ATHR will then present a larger scaled displaying of Letters: Fragments of a Memory in November 2018 at Abu Dhabi Art’s tenth edition. This version of the exhibition will explore sub-themes from the book, including Landscapes, Youth and Other, Probable Questions, Power of Language and The Grey Area. This cross-fertilization within each sub-category generates waves of dialogue, further emphasising the conceptual depth and breadth of the continued interpretation of religion in today's world.
The Artists featured in the March edition of Letters: Fragments of a Memory are: • Ayman Yossri Daydban • Hazem Harb • Joseph Rodriguez • Rayyane Tabet • Hajra Waheed • Ahmed Mater • Muhannad Shono • Aya Haidar • Abdulkareem Qasem • Sara Rahbar • Moath Alofi • Seddek Wasil • Manal Al Dowayan • Rund Alarabi
About The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi The Department of Culture and Tourism conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The Department manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The Department of Culture and Tourism supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role played by the Department is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.
About Abu Dhabi Art – Abu Dhabi Art expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair, in placing strong emphasis on a diverse public engagement programme, including art installations and exhibitions, talks and events that take place in different locations throughout the year. The culmination of this year-long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides an important sales platform for participating galleries whilst also offering these galleries an opportunity to showcase ambitious installations and site specific works by their artists to an audience of over 20,000 visitors.
About Warehouse421 – Warehouse421 is a hub for creativity and an active participant in Abu Dhabi’s creative ecosystem, and is dedicated to supporting learning, making, exhibition and commercial activity relevant to the local and regional creative industries. Since November 2015, Warehouse421 has hosted 11 exhibitions and showcased the work of more than 200 local and regional artists and designers, providing a place for creatives to formally and informally convene. Warehouse421 offers public the opportunity to explore their creativity through interactive initiatives including talks, workshops, film screenings and performances. Located in the Mina Zayed of Abu Dhabi, Warehouse421 was converted from two former industrial warehouses and designed by the respected Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).