Emirati Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale
“1980—Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates”
Artists: Abdullah Al Saadi, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Abdulraheem Salim, Abdulrahman Zainal, Ahmed Al Ansari, Ahmed Sharif, Hassan Sharif, Mohamed Yousif, Mohammed Abdullah Bulhiah, Mohammed Al Qassab, Mohammed Kazem, Moosa Al Halyan, Najat Meky, Obaid Suroor, Salem Jawhar
Curator: Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi
Commissioner: Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
Venue: Pavilion at Arsenale—Sale d’Armi
In 250 square meters, the Emirati Pavilion’s curator Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi takes up the daunting challenge of arranging over 100 works from 15 artists. The pavilion itself has been carefully restructured with a vertical grid to allow for hanging elements and a heightened floor—of course, all adjustments are made with great care to protect the pavilion’s walls.
But the historic framework houses more than the structure’s Italian past: the original, fundamental art from the incipient stages of both now, well-established artists and the UAE art world. The various works, many of which are borrowed, invite dialogue on the connections between differing media, forms, and time periods. Wandering through the pavilion becomes the purest way to reconcile the multiple influences.