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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Archive for the ‘UAE’ Category

Sheikh Sultan opens private collection to public putting Sharjah on the UAE art map

Posted by artradar on August 18, 2010


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS PUBLIC GALLERIES SHARJAH

In Arabic, the word “barjeel”, from which the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, takes its name, means “wind tower”. For collector and owner Sheikh Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, the euphemism does very little to hide his vision – that of an art space where ideas, like air, circulate freely and create a dynamic where art can breathe.

Sheikh Sultan, Barjeel Art Foundation

Sheikh Sultan, Barjeel Art Foundation

Housing close to four-hundred and eighty works of art from the Arab world or by Arab artists living elsewhere, the Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection is originally the collection of Sheikh Sultan. In an interview with The National Daily Newspaper in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, Sheikh Sultan said that,

Artists are the conscience of society. It is essential for their work to be seen and appreciated.

Another article on Real Estate Channel, recounts Professor Alma Kadragic’s VIP tour of the gallery space led by the Sheikh himself. Kadragic says,

Many people have visited the gallery over the first five months since it opened, and Sheikh Sultan has personally guided VIPs and others through the collection. The day I visited with a friend, we were joined by two other women, and Sheikh Sultan treated us to descriptions of the works on display and even opened locked doors to show some others kept out of sight in storerooms.

The first exhibition at the Barjeel Art Foundation is called “Peripheral Vision” and features contemporary work made later than 2007 by Arab artists. The show is on until the end of August this year, after which new selections from the Sheikh’s collection will be mounted for show. The foundation is currently not selling any of the works. The premise of the foundation is summed up by Sheikh Sultan:

Layan Shawabkeh, 'Ladies of Gaza', acrylic on canvas.

Layan Shawabkeh, 'Ladies of Gaza', acrylic on canvas.

We want to show how art of the Arab world is nuanced and in a constant state of transformation and renewal. Our mission is to expose different aspects of social, political and geographical landscapes that may be obstructed and out of focus.The works can however be borrowed for exhibition locally or internationally by institutions that will pay for transportation and insurance.

The objective behind the Barjeel Art Foundation is, in Sheikh Sultan’s words,

A foremost goal of Barjeel has been to give the artworks in the collection greater public exposure; making the space accessible for people to come and view a selection of art in rotating exhibitions seemed to be the ideal starting point.

The collection houses some masterpieces of Arab art. Considered a national treasure, artist Abdul Qader Al Rais’s works are so important that they are only handled by the Ministry of Culture of Sharjah, the Sheikh being an exception.

The gallery is not averse to showing political art, like that of Layan Shawabkeh, a Palestinian artist who died in 2009 at the age of 23. In a work called Ladies of Gaza, Shawabkeh takes inspiration from many of Picasso’s works that deal with women and post World War II trauma.

The Barjeel Art Foundation comes at a time when governments world over are cutting funds for art institutions and the market is relying on trusted modern, rather than contemporary artists for returns. Additionally, the art world of the UAE is fragmented, with only a few galleries in Abu Dhabi where the Louvre and the Guggenheim have yet to be built. Dubai seems to be at the forefront of cultural and financial investment in art although Arab art altogether has a long way to go.

AM/KN

Related Topics: Middle Eastern artists, collectorsgallery showsnon-profit

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Posted in Art spaces, Business of art, Collector nationality, Collectors, Gallery shows, Middle Eastern, Nonprofit, Oil, Painting, Palestinian, Promoting art, Sharjah, UAE | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gallerist Salwa Zeidan explains mission of inaugural Abu Dhabi Sculpture Symposium – interview

Posted by artradar on March 13, 2010


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM

Salwa Zeidan, gallerist and an organiser of the inaugural Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium (ADISS),  (25 February to 7 April 2010 at Zayed University) talks to Art Radar about the mission of ADISS, government sponsorship of the arts and her favourite Emirati sculptor.

Her gallery, the Salwa Zeidan Gallery. has collaborated with Zayed University to bring ADISS to Abu Dhabi. Its theme is “Bridging Societies Through the Language of Art,” and involves bringing specially commissioned sculpture to the city as well as opening a dialogue about public art in Abu Dhabi.

Billy Lee, EOS 2004

Billy Lee, EOS 2004

What is the mission of ADISS?

Our mission is mainly to make art available and accessible to everyone so that ordinary people from all walks of life can enjoy a piece of art and interact with it. We also want to create an artistic atmosphere in Abu Dhabi for residents and visitors to enjoy. As beautiful and peaceful as it is, Abu Dhabi is missing public art in its streets and roundabouts and so I believe we came at the right time to compliment the city with these monumental pieces of art.

Has its mission changed since its conception?

No. However, it became more interesting.. to see how many people are so excited about seeing the sculptures in the streets.

Gregor Kregar, Twisting the Void

Gregor Kregar, Twisting the Void

How is ADISS different from other art-related international symposiums?

Well it is taking place in Abu Dhabi, a city known for its high-quality events but the most significant difference is that it is under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and is being organized by major entities such as Zayed University and the Municipality – all of these factors have elevated the project to a national scale.

How will ADISS impact the local art scene?

It is very important to see art every day in our lives, and interact with it til it becomes a permanent part of our lives. Events such as ADISS have the power to enrich the art scene as a whole by making it more common and this is very important for a contemporary country such as Abu Dhabi.

What about its global impact?

If we look around the world, we see the economy is not at its best, and this situation is reflecting on the art scene in general, so it is in some areas getting from bad to worse for artists. Abu Dhabi is extending so much attention towards art through Art Abu Dhabi, ADISS and other cultural initiatives by ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage) and TDIC (Tourism Development and Investment Company), and through future projects that are being developed such as Saadiyat (the Art district) – this is very encouraging for artists from all over the world as it places art at the forefront of sociological evolution. Such progress is very promising for artists from all walks of life including myself.

Jo Kley, Helix Anröchter

Jo Kley, Helix Anröchter

Do you have a favorite piece being created for ADISS? If so, why?

I like most of the pieces being created, the most important thing is that they are being created in Abu Dhabi and for Abu Dhabi the city that I love, and these pieces are going to stay, the thought that we are creating a new reality for this city is great. When I see how these blocks are being transformed into wonderful sculptures everyday and how the artists are so happy to be here to create and leave their work on this land, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. We are about to change the face of Abu Dhabi with all these great artworks!

How does the general population in Abu Dhabi view art, and will their perceptions change after ADISS?

I’m sure it is going to help the change, and eventually their perception about art will change since living with art on a daily basis is bound to change their way of thinking about art in general no matter what the current state of mind may be.

Is public art the best way for people to include art in their everyday lives?

I guess so, it broadens their horizons to a new reality that will bring forth new questions and new answers which will eventually impact their evolution positively.

Masahiro, Lotus

Masahiro, Lotus

The Abu Dhabi art scene is thriving? Is there anything you would like to change? Why? Regarding the Abu Dhabi art scene, do you have any favorite local artists?

Hassan Sharif is my favorate Emirati artist… He is also one of the Symposium artists working on a great piece called “step” which is going to be 6 meters high. Hassan was the first Emirati national to pursue a career as an artist in the UAE; he has and continues to be one of the most significant influences on the local art scene. There are a few young local artists that I like as well, whom I believe have lots of potential to advance and grow. As a gallerist I have made it my mission to find such talents, nurture them, offer them a place to exhibit their works and give them the right advice to help them realize their full abilities.

I believe local artists will advance much more once the art projects in Abu Dhabi are fully realized and once they have the chance to see and live with works by some of the most influencial artists of our time. They will definitely develop their talents even more and are keen to do so… I see them working very hard at developing themselves and have all the tools they need at their finger tips so why not? I’m very optimistic about the local art scene and find that all the support they are receiving from their rulers and their governments is bound to strenghten their resolve even further and enable them to acquire their place on the international art arena.

Petre Petrov, Guatemala

Petre Petrov, Guatemala

Is there any particular news or information you’d like to share with our readers?

Yes I would like them to come and visit this wonderful City that is giving so much attention to art, culture and music, when the whole world is so busy with other matters and thus taking art for granted. Here art has been taken to another dimension and is becoming part of its identity. It is wonderful to see the government focusing on the cultural aspect of the country to make cultural events and artifacts more accessible to the entire community. I wish all the governments of the world paid as much attention to culture, perhaps there will be no more wars!

ADISS lecture: What is Public Art?

ADISS lecture: What is Public Art?

On 14 March 2010, there will be a public art discussion at Zayed University. Hassan Sharif from UAE, Caroline Ramersdorfer from Austria, Ehab El Laban from Egypt, Billy Lee from United Kingdom and Jon Barlow Hudson from USA will talk about the Public Art, its effect and its importance within the premises of Abu Dhabi at the scheduled lecture programme. Other ADISS events can be found here.

Zayed University - Location Map

AL

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Posted in Abu Dhabi, Events, Interviews, Sculpture, UAE, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Art industry elite meet at inaugural Abu Dhabi Art fair

Posted by artradar on December 21, 2009


ART FAIRS

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Art fair opened to much fanfare on November 19th. The government-run Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) organized the fair, along with the area’s new cultural district on Saadiyat Island.

The project features the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by architect Frank Gehry, the Louvre Abu Dhabi by architect Jean Nouvel, the Performing Arts Centre by architect Zaha Hadid, the Maritime Museum by architect Tadao Ando, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by architect Foster + Partners Ltd.

In attendance at the event were big time players from the Western art world, including London’s White Cube, New York’s Acquavella Galleries, and Dubai’s Third Line and B21. Megacollector François Pinault along with Jeff Koons were in attendance as special patrons.

Jeff Koons on left, François Pinault on right.

According to ArtForum who covered the event, Abu Dhabi Art was really two fairs under one roof. On the one hand, there was a slew of young galleries from places like Bangalore, Damascus, and Dubai, showing works that ranged from calligraphic kitsch to more promising endeavors. The other fair was a higher-stakes arena, featuring major New York and European dealers.

Dealer Iwan Wirth, from Hauser & Wirth, in front of a large Louise Bourgeois spider

Hauser & Wirth brought a large Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture and Subodh Gupta skull, while White Cube offered sparkling paintings by Hirst. Tony Shafrazi hung his ’80s-themed stand with Basquiats, Warhols, and Harings. A consortium of seven dealers, including L&M Arts, Malingue, and Louis Carre & Cie, combined forces with Picassos and Légers.

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Posted in Abu Dhabi, Art districts, Fairs, Francois Pinault, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Abu Dhabi Art – a major new art calendar event just announced

Posted by artradar on July 16, 2009


MIDDLE EAST CONTEMPORARY ART

What promises to be an important new art date to add to your art calendar has just been announced in Abu Dhabi: the first Abu Dhabi Art event, “a major new annual event featuring international contemporary art and design” is to be held from 19-22 November. Here is the press release:

Presented under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi Art will take place 19-22 November and will celebrate its inaugural edition with an art fair, exhibitions, multi-media performances, presentations, and exclusive tours and gala events at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Art will include galleries from the Middle East, Europe and the United States, many of which have never before exhibited in the UAE. Internationally renowned galleries will present works of contemporary art and design by international and Middle Eastern artists, with galleries presenting a selection of masterpieces of contemporary European, American and Asian art.

Adding to the vitality of Abu Dhabi Art will be special exhibitions, including a design programme and a monumental installation of large-scale works by Arab artists; an innovative series of performances, discussions and presentations; educational offerings and lectures; private tours of Abu Dhabi Art and of cultural landmarks; and a host of gala receptions and events.

Supported by the Abu Dhabi government, the new Abu Dhabi Art will be a fresh and strongly independent platform, initiated and organised by TDIC (Tourism Development & Investment Company) and ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage). Abu Dhabi Art will provide a new perspective on contemporary art and design from the standpoint of the Middle East, while offering visitors and art collectors from elsewhere in the Gulf region and from the world the gracious hospitality of the UAE’s capital city.

“Abu Dhabi Art adds a major new component to the schedule of world-class exhibitions, public programmes, performing arts events and more that are already happening in the Emirate, encouraging the growth of our burgeoning arts scene and building Abu Dhabi’s capacity to be a cultural capital for one of the world’s most dynamic regions,” stated His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of TDIC and ADACH. “Even as we prepare to welcome the world to the institutions now in development in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District — the Zayed National Museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, and more — we extend a warm invitation to the art world to join us in November, for the first presentation of the new and distinctive Abu Dhabi Art.”

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Posted in American, Art districts, Asian, European, Fairs, Globalisation, Middle Eastern, UAE | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »