In close proximity to Saadiyat Island, the predestined site of the future Louvre and Guggenheim museums, and even closer to Abu Dhabi proper, sits Mussafah, the area’s industrial center and burgeoning artist community. Within it sits Abu Dhabi Art Hub, a center for artists to live, create and exhibit, founded by artist Ahmed Al Yafei. The nearly 27,000-square-foot space hosts an ongoing cycle of local and international artists, welcoming emerging talents from a different country each month, from South Korea to Colombia. Inspired by the art destination that Abu Dhabi will become, Yafei has said “Art Hub is a chance for us to prepare the community to be there, so that the community can interact with art on a different level and they can appreciate the new museums in a different way.”
With the aims to promote cross-cultural exchange and innovative art-making, Yafei leads an extensive exhibition program that begins at the Art Hub, with monthly, geographically-themed exhibitions featuring residents; recent exhibitions have focused on artists from France, Eastern Europe, and Mexico. Additionally the Art Hub extends across the UAE, to exhibition spaces and nontraditional venues like shopping centers and hotels. Recently a second location opened in the nearby town of Liwa, and this week the Art Hub will show at SIKKA, an international, artist-led fair in Dubai.
The Art Hub also currently presents the “Abstract Impressionist” paintings of Michel Bizet, in an exhibition at Dubai Deira City Centre. Born in France and based in the Dominican Republic, Bizet, who was in residence at the Art Hub last fall, creates abstract landscapes by applying quick passages of paint in a repeating pattern using a palette knife. Often depicting desert and ocean scenes, Bizet’s works are universally legible and effectively engage the landscapes and cultures of both the Dominican Republic and Abu Dhabi.