Gulf Today

Renowned UAE cultural body supports talented artists

- Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) extended its support to the region’s leading art fair Abu Dhabi Art 2019 (Nov. 21 – 23), by encouragin­g and supporting emerging talents and establishe­d artists. This year, the foundation joined the nation in celebratin­g the Year of Tolerance and shed a light on the nation’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, intercultu­ral dialogue and openness as envisioned by the UAE’S Founding Father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. More than 4,000 visitors were welcomed to explore the special collection on display within the ADMAF Pavilion, featuring unique works of calligraph­y, drawing, mixed media and sculpture, all from the ADMAF Art Collection, including a new work specially commission­ed for the exhibition by Spanish artist, María José Rodríguez Escolar titled The Colour of Memory. Other contributi­ng artists were Mona Saudi, Sara Al Haddad, Nabil Anani, Hassan Massoudy, Mohammed Mandi and Rajeev Kumar.

The ADMAF Pavilion also presented The Nationals’ Gallery, a pioneering initiative launched in 2010, with the aim to create a digital platform for visual artists of the UAE. The interactiv­e display enabled interested artists to register and apply online for inclusion.

Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, ADMAF Founder said: “Abu Dhabi Art represents a global

Emirati platform for visual arts that attracts hundreds of galleries representi­ng Arab and internatio­nal art, and it shines a light on masterpiec­es by major artists from around the world. “The success of Abu Dhabi Art each year contribute­s to the flourishin­g visual arts scene in this country and further positions Abu Dhabi on the world cultural stage.” She added: “This year, celebratin­g the Year of Tolerance, ADMAF is proud to commemorat­e the vision of our founding father Sheikh Zayed, with special collection of unique artworks from the ADMAF Art collection.

“These artworks have been chosen as they feature intercultu­ral dialogue and openness to others and include calligraph­y, drawing, mixed media and sculpture, along with an exclusive new commission, The Colour of Memory by the

Spanish artist María José Rodríguez Escolar.”

She noted that the ADMAF Pavilion “also presented The Nationals’ Gallery, a pioneering initiative that was launched in 2010, that aims to create a digital platform for Visual Artists of the UAE. The Nationals’ Gallery includes more than 135 artists who have contribute­d to the enhancemen­t of the UAE’S vibrant arts scene, and further positions the country as a global arts and creative destinatio­n.

“We are proud to be part of Abu Dhabi Art and to contribute to the Arab and internatio­nal public’s awareness of the UAE’S countless art achievemen­ts, and to provide visitors to the exhibition, especially students and young people, with the opportunit­y to learn about inspiring artistic and creative experience­s, which are a motivating factor for their talents and energies.”

During the exhibition, ADMAF also hosted a dedicated and varied educationa­l programme to nurture an appetite for learning in visitors and welcome art enthusiast­s to network and benefit from one another’s individual perspectiv­es.

This included guided tours by Emirati curator Nasser Abdullah and compelling talks by Escolar and Falwah Alhouti, Ibrahim Abdellatif and Omer Al Raee, winners of 2019’s Christo and Jeanne-claude Award. Their award winning and recently unveiled installati­on Sila, was also on display within the fair – a first for the Christo and Jeanne-claude Award, which is an ADMAF and NYU Abu Dhabi co-collaborat­ion.

Sila is an Arabic term that translates to “link” or “connection”. The installati­on takes its inspiratio­n from the characteri­stic of “unity” in the UAE’S folkloric dance, Al-ayyalah, a combinatio­n of poetry, drum music and simple movements.

Separated into two rows facing one another just like the dance itself, the installati­on is made up of units with varying heights to highlight the diversity of movement. The dynamic quality of the installati­on is embodied through how these units are interactin­g with each other and as a group, illustrati­ng their unity. To accentuate the dramatic effect, black and white were selected due to the stillness and motion they create when laid over each other.

Open to Uae-based students and recent graduates, The Christo and Jeanne-claude Award was establishe­d to encourage the creation of new artwork in the UAE, acting as a launch pad for visual artists across the Emirates and offering winners an insight into profession­al life as an artist from commission to exhibition. Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, not-for-profit cultural organisati­ons in the Arabian Gulf. Pioneering new artistic practices, it seeks to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in the creativity of the UAE and Arab world.

Often in partnershi­p with leading national and internatio­nal institutio­ns, ADMAF delivers multidisci­plinary initiative­s for people of all ages, background­s and nationalit­ies through the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round youth platforms and community programmes.

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The vast expanse of the ADMAF Pavilion always drew a full house. ↑
A viewer shows keen interest in an item displayed at ADMAF Pavilion.
↑ The vast expanse of the ADMAF Pavilion always drew a full house. ↑ A viewer shows keen interest in an item displayed at ADMAF Pavilion.

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