Abu Dhabi Art Reveals Guest Curators and Commissioned Artists for 11th Edition

Abu Dhabi Art
Sep 30, 2019 8:33PM

Annual art fair to welcome internationally renowned artists and curators from across the world

Image courtesy Abu Dhabi Art

Abu Dhabi Art announced details of its 11th edition, which will run from 21 – 23 November 2019 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Presenting Modern and Contemporary art from more than 40 leading and emerging galleries, the Abu Dhabi Art fair will also feature a curatorially driven programme of exhibitions, commissions, performances and talks throughout the week.

The 2019 edition will include Dubai-based artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, who will be leading the Beyond: Emerging Artists programme; Paolo Colombo, the internationally renowned curator of Gateway programme; Dr Omar Kholeif, who will return to Abu Dhabi Art to curate the Focus sector for the third year; Jerome Sans who will curate a new section called New Horizons China as well as gallerist Ashwin Thadani who will introduce new galleries from India to Abu Dhabi for the first time, in New Horizons: India.

“Abu Dhabi Art continues to grow each year, as we strive to make each edition more innovative and dynamic than the last,” said HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). “The fair has expanded from an annual art fair to become a permanent platform, offering a year-round programme which includes solo gallery shows and public art commissions. This is testament to the growth of the thriving creative community in the UAE, and to the vibrant global forum that the fair has now become. I hope that everyone enjoys the engaging programme of exhibitions and events, along with all the artistic and cultural experiences Abu Dhabi Art has to offer.”

Abu Dhabi Art’s agenda goes beyond the annual four-day fair, with 2019 welcoming a number of exhibitions and commissions that will continue beyond the show. Featured programmes, including Gateway and Beyond in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, will remain open until 25 January 2020.

The annual programme Beyond will see large-scale sculptures and installations displayed across the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The commissioned 2019 artists for Beyond: Artist Commissions programme are Leandro Erlich and Oliver Beer, whose work will be unveiled during the art fair and exhibited for two months afterwards.

Commissioned artist Erlich, who lives and works in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, said of his work: “A few years ago, I created Nest: a cylindrical space designed for a specific landscape. Nestled within its interior was the glass sculpture of a cloud, positioned just below a skylight. This project combines the delicate and ephemeral beauty of a cloud with the more rugged. When asked to create a new project for Al Ain, it was a perfect opportunity to further develop this work; but this time, by situating the supporting building, or nest, within Al Ain Oasis. Water is, after all, the secret heart of any oasis, and clouds represent the heart of rain, and irrigation.”

Commissioned artist Beer’s background in both music and Fine Art led to an early interest in the relationship between sound and space and he expects his works this year to be a testament to this: "I'm looking forward to working in Abu Dhabi for the first time. My commission for Abu Dhabi Art will respond directly to the city and will work with children to consider the destination’s cultural past, present and future."

The three selected artists for the Beyond: Emerging Artists programme this year are Ayesha Hadhir, Rawdha Khalifa Al Ketbi and Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi. The artists are currently undertaking a year- long programme with the curators which will culminate in the realisation of a new art work or project which will be unveiled during the fair. The works will then remain on display until 25 January 2020.

On behalf of the three curators, Rahmanian said: “We are thrilled to be participating as curators for the 2019 edition of Abu Dhabi Art: Beyond: Emerging Artists. During the last decade, we have witnessed significant development in a wide range of practices in the diverse Contemporary art scene of the communities in the Emirates and the region. We are incredibly excited to be able to contribute to this burgeoning creative landscape by sharing the work of three young imaginative artists.”

One of the selected artists for this programme, Ayesha Hadhir said: "I am excited to undertake this journey with Ramin, Rokni, and Hesam as part of the Beyond Emerging Artist programme. They are an amazing source for artists in the region. They have helped me with brainstorming ideas for my art installations and their constructive criticism enables me to look at my work with a new perspective. It's fun working and discussing ideas with them as they are always open to creativity and have an intuitive understanding of what we are doing."

Gateway, Abu Dhabi Art’s annual visual art exhibition, invites a unique curatorial perspective from a guest curator each year, with the 2019 edition curated by internationally renowned curator Colombo. This year’s exhibition will explore the relevance that everyday objects from archaeological finds may have on stories that artists narrate in their practice today. In a first for Abu Dhabi Art, Al Ain Museum has generously loaned a number of objects that function as keystones for this exhibition. Al Ain Museum holdings constitute a history of the region made visible, and have been curated alongside contemporary works included in the show.

“Thanks to the wonderful opportunity to include artefacts from the Al Ain Museum, I was able to look at work by contemporary artists in relation to their holdings,” said Colombo. “The generosity of the museum made it possible to approach the history of the region in a most privileged way. In close contact with the artefacts, one can see the usage and formal connections that are still valid across time, and that I hope the visitor to the exhibition will recognise with ease and appreciate.”

Abu Dhabi Art includes the Focus sector, which will see the return on of Dr. Omar Kholeif, who will curate the show for the third year running. Dr Kholeif stated: “The UAE has played a pivotal role in the broader region of the Middle East and South Asia. It has become a meeting point, a central node that links and binds citizens of these cultures in unison through the lens of the visual arts.

“This is a place where artists can be re-examined and considered in the broader canon of art and its history - standing on their own merits. At the same time, their cultural specificity is made evermore clear through the rich context that the UAE and Abu Dhabi, specifically, creates. I am proud to have worked with Abu Dhabi Art over the last two years to showcase artists from this region in new ways using the platform that is the Focus sector, which I developed with Dyala Nusseibeh and the team at Abu Dhabi Art. It has been a defining moment - bearing witness to artists, collectors, curators and all around dreamers come together to congregate around art and ideas.”

Abu Dhabi Art 2019 will also feature New Horizons, curated gallery sectors, which explores Asian Contemporary art curated by Jerome Sans and also includes a focus on galleries from India invited by gallerist Ashwin Thadani.

Thadani said: “It has been my great pleasure to work with Abu Dhabi Art on this new curated section for the fair. The New Horizons’ India focus brings together some of India's most prominent galleries and leading artists, many of whom have not yet had their due exposure in Abu Dhabi. The collaborating galleries in this exciting curatorial project include Vadehra Art Gallery, Nature Morte, Gallery Espace, Grosvenor Gallery and Galerie Isa, each of whom have played pioneering roles in the South Asian art world, and beyond. Some of the artists that will be exhibited include Bharti Kher, Jitish Kallat, Reena Kallat, Imran Qureshi, Atul Dodiya, Arpita Singh and Manjunath Kamath amongst others.’’

Further information about the curated section by Jerome Sans will be announced soon.

Dyala Nusseibeh, Director, Abu Dhabi Art, said, “Abu Dhabi Art is increasingly enabling guest curated gallery sectors at the fair, as evidenced by the new gallery sectors which include a focus on contemporary Asian art curated by the hugely talented Jerome Sans, a spotlight on galleries from India brought together by gallerist Ashwin Thadani and a special focus section by returning curator Dr. Omar Kholeif. Through collaborations with these key voices from the art world, we aim to ensure that visitors discover important emerging and established global artists at the fair.”

Nusseibeh continued: “In terms of our wider programming, Rokni & Ramin Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian are an integral part of the art community here in the UAE and have been mentoring younger artists and collaborating with them for years. Their role as curators for Beyond: Emerging Artists is a natural extension of their existing practice. Paolo Colombo has curated several key shows including at the Venice Biennale that create conversations between historic objects and contemporary works, and we are excited to see what links he will draw together for Gateway this year with works on loan for the first time ever for Abu Dhabi Art, from the Al Ain Museum. Leandro Erlich and Oliver Beer are both incredible artists and I know the commissioned installations in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi will be wonderful. I hope our audiences will take the time to explore and discover these significant contributions to Abu Dhabi Art 2019.”

Early-bird tickets are now available for this year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Art Fair and are available to purchase for 35 AED until 30 September 2019. Visitors are also able to buy a ticket for the opening reception on 20 November, which includes access to all other regular days, for 100 AED. All tickets give complimentary access to the talks and performing arts programme. Complimentary tickets are also available for students (university and school students) and for children below 7 years of age.

About The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi 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 a wide audience.

Abu Dhabi Art