Today marks the beginning of the 11th edition of the historic Abu Dhabi Art Fair. The grand event focuses on creativity, inspiration, and inventiveness and this year, the fair has expanded onto the next level. The art fair is paying a major emphasis on a diverse public engagement program which includes art installations, talks, cultural exhibitions, and performing arts programs which will take place in Manarat Al Saadiyat and various locations throughout the year. What’s more, this event is the prime spot for artists and galleries to showcase and represent their work in front of a wide range of audiences.
Vogue Arabia sat down for a conversation with Abu Dhabi Art’s director Dyala Nusseibeh.
Tell us about the highlights of this year’s event.
We have guest curators, gallerists and artists from all around the world participating in the event, all of whom are a great addition to Abu Dhabi Art.
This year, we have exciting new additions to the fair such as New Horizons India, a gallery section dedicated to art from India, which was created by gallerist Ashwin Thadani alongside New Horizons: China Today which presents contemporary art from China curated by Jérôme Sans. We have also commissioned artists Leandro Erlich from Argentina and Oliver Beer from the UK to create installations at historic sites in Al Ain, which I believe visitors and art enthusiasts in the UAE will thoroughly enjoy.
On the exhibition side, Paolo Colombo has curated an exhibition with works on loan from the Al Ain Museum alongside contemporary art.
For this year, we have also commissioned UAE artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz to create the event’s visual campaign, Life in a Bag.
You have been appointed the director for Abu Dhabi Art since 2016, how did you see this event evolve over the past four years?
I was appointed in 2016 as Abu Dhabi Art Director, and in my role, I have worked on building on Abu Dhabi Art’s strengths to both broaden its appeal, shed light on the local art scene, and make the event more sustainable.
Tell us more about the year-round programming of Abu Dhabi art.
The Abu Dhabi Art program is extended throughout the year through commissioned installations, talks, exhibitions, performances and collaborative projects with universities.
As an example, we have an Art+Technology Programme now in its third year at Khalifa University, for which we invite an artist to lead a workshop with technology students which enable students to combine art with technology as a medium of expression. The art the students created is now in exhibit at the university.
Another project is our annual Pavilion prize in which students are invited to conceive a Pavilion for the fair – the winning proposal is then realized at the fair and viewed by thousands of visitors
These kinds of initiatives broaden the support we can offer to the next generation in enabling creativity to flourish.