UAE galleries draw art lovers as rich new season opens

The Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled the season’s opening exhibition on September 18 titled “Rendezvous in Paris: Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani & Co. (1900-1939)."
Saturday 05/10/2019
The contemporary dance performance WRECK-List of Extinct Species staged at Concrete in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. (Alserkal Avenue)
Exciting shows. The contemporary dance performance WRECK-List of Extinct Species staged at Concrete in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. (Alserkal Avenue)

DUBAI - After the summer lull, a hectic schedule of diverse and exciting art shows across the United Arab Emirates is beckoning visitors.

The Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi reopened in September after extensive renovation with a solo show by pioneering Emirati artist Najat Makki, titled “Najat Makki: Luminescence.”

Displayed throughout the Cultural Foundation’s main hall and ground floor, the show is to be available through December 15 and highlights the artist’s experimental and open approach to various geographical and historical influences.

“These are abstract works I have created during the last one year based on the theme of ‘light’,” Makki said.

On the first floor, “Tribute: A dedication to Najat Makki” features works by 19 eminent Emirati artists expressing their admiration for Makki.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled the season’s opening exhibition on September 18 titled “Rendezvous in Paris: Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani & Co. (1900-1939),” which will be open through December 7.

Through a curation of celebrated paintings and sculptures, including Pablo Picasso’s “Portrait of Gustave Coquiot” (1901), Amedeo Modigliani’s “Portrait of Dedie” (1918), Marc Chagall’s “The Father” (1911) and Tamara de Lempicka’s “Girl in a Green Dress” (1927-30), visitors will discover and learn more about the lives and works of these foreign artists in Paris and gain insight into the social landscape of the period.

“We are thrilled to see ‘Rendezvous in Paris…’ kick off our 2019-20 season,” said Manuel Rabate, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi. “The exhibition illuminates the creative output during a time of enormous political and social upheaval, as well as how the power of intellectual exchange defined the artistic production of a generation.”

Another ground-breaking exhibition presented for the first time in the Middle East at Louvre Abu Dhabi will be “10,000 Years of Luxury,” which runs from October 30 through February 18, 2020, exploring the history of luxury from antiquity to the present day.

In Dubai, every year on September 30, the art-loving public throngs Alserkal Avenue for “Alserkal Lates” to celebrate a new season of art, culture and entertainment.

This year was especially spectacular with compelling new art exhibitions, some of them solo shows by Emirati artists Alaa Edris, Sarah Almehairi and Farah Al Qasimi, at 18 contemporary art galleries in the 46,500-sq.-metre cultural district.

“Body Building,” which includes more than 90 works by artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and France at the Ishara Art Foundation, explores South Asian identities and perspectives in the context of the architecture and the built environment.  The works were selected because they resonate with the South Asian experience in the Gulf.

Alserkal Avenue announced a landmark exhibition “Is This Tomorrow?” to take place in Concrete from November 6-29. “‘Is This Tomorrow?’ will be the cornerstone of our November programming, much of which will explore the confluence of art and architecture,” said Vilma Jurkute, Alserkal Avenue director.

Antonia Carver, director of Dubai’s Jameel Art Centre, unveiled this season’s set of exhibitions and programmes, led by “Phantom Limb,” which she described as “a powerful exhibition by 13 artists that explores urgent ideas around material heritage including acts of destruction, reconstruction and restitution.”

The season includes the debut of “The Library of Unread Books,” a community-led enterprise, and a solo show by Saudi artist Sarah Abu Abdullah.

The Sharjah Museums Authority is celebrating the heritage of the MENA region through “T-Serai,” a portable “palace” made of recycled fabric using the art of reverse applique, at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.

The exhibition by Azra Aksamija, an architectural historian and director of Future Heritage Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, runs until December 7 and showcases the installation in the form of a portable palace, inspired by the tent traditions of the region.

The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), in collaboration with the Sharjah Museums Authority, presents “Lasting Impressions: Adam Henein,” a survey of the artist’s paintings and sculptures from the 1950s until today. Curated by Sheikha Noora al-Mualla, the exhibition, which runs until November 16, showcases more than 70 works by Henein referencing universal themes, Egyptian heritage and ancient Egyptian symbols.

An exhibition reflecting on the evolution of the Arab Image Foundation and its collections through the work and contributions of its co-founder Akram Zaatari, titled “Against Photography,” is running at SAF until January 10.

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