After the first virtual edition of Abu Dhabi Art in 2020, the fair returns on a grander scale, celebrating live events post-pandemic. With last year’s guest curators making an appearance, the fair houses up to 49 galleries and more than 600 artworks, representing more than 190 artists from countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, and UAE. Building on where last year’s event left off, the fair will also host an open dance floor event—2nd Sun—by the Beirut-based music community, Factory People.
“Abu Dhabi Art has officially opened with a near-record number of 49 galleries presenting exceptional booths, which speaks to the thriving art community in the UAE and the support shown here in Abu Dhabi for artists and galleries during the pandemic, through our online edition last year and throughout the year,” says Dyala Nusseibeh, director of Abu Dhabi Art. “Returning galleries can’t wait to reconnect with members of the public and collectors in person once again, and first-time exhibitors look forward to meeting all the supporters, visitors, and patrons that shape the fair each year.”
This time, Abu Dhabi Art brings in three gallery sectors: The Modern & Contemporary, The Special Projects, and Kind of Blue by Simon Njami.
The Modern & Contemporary
This edition brings in a wide range of artworks from 15 countries and showcases them in 26 galleries.
The Special Projects
Sheds light on curated booths by one, two, or three artists, and 21 galleries from six countries.
Kind of Blue
Curated by Simon Njami, this sector portrays the metaphors hidden behind jazz music notes, presenting work from four participating galleries; Afriart Gallery from Uganda, Galerie MAM from Cameroon, Primo Marella Gallery from Italy, and Sabrina Amrani from Spain.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi commented on this year’s fair: “Gathering safely in-person for this 13th edition of Abu Dhabi Art in Manarat Al Saadiyat is a testament to the collective efforts of those across the arts and culture sector of Abu Dhabi and beyond.”
Performing Arts Programme
Curated by Rose Lejeune, the Performing Arts Programme introduces new commissions by the French duo Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet, the Palestinian artist Mays Albaik, the Iraqi Rand Abdul Jabbar and Super Taus, bringing forward poetic abstracts this year.
In partnership with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and the National Pavilion UAE, La Biennale di Venezia presents Passage by Nujoom Alghanem, an immersive video and sound installation for the National Pavilion UAE’s 2019 exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The installation is part of Abu Dhabi Art’s annual Gateway sector and emphasizes local and international artists in a globally relevant framework.
Public Engagement Programme
Placing importance on fostering rising talents in the setting of the UAE’s art scene, the Public Engagement Programme introduces Beyond: Emerging Artists 2021, Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Beyond: Artist Commissions which features works by Aya Haidar’s Dwelling On The Past, Hazem Harb’s Between Earth and Heaven: Borders are Only in our Minds, Dr. Najat Makki’s Ya Marhaba Al Saa’, Rasheed Araeen’s communal café which consists of co-joined gazebos, and Richard Atugonza’s At Heart but Far. All of which will showcase their artwork in In and Around, which connects fairgoers to the off-site projects, with other artists presented like Alfredo Jaar, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Seher Naveed, Zarina and Zineb Sedira.
2nd Sun by Factory People
Bringing the first open-dance floor event to the emirate, 2nd Sun by Factory People has collaborated with Abu Dhabi Art to bring a regional and global lineup of artists and music producers. The event will take place on November 18 and 19, 9pm to 3am at Manarat Al Saadiyat. “Our thanks to the many distinguished guests, partners, exhibitors, curators, and artists who are joining us in Abu Dhabi, a nexus of multinational talent where the next generation of emerging artistic voices are given a crucial platform to contribute to a sustainable arts and culture ecosystem.” Al Mubarak said.
Abu Dhabi Art Fair tickets will offer complimentary access to the 2nd Sun after-party.
Mouawad and Salama Khalfan
For jewelry enthusiasts, Abu Dhabi Art also has something that needs to be bookmarked. This one-of-a-kind headpiece set, embellished with diamonds and emeralds, is the result of the collaboration between Dubai-based fine jewelry designer Salama Khalfan and Mouawad, who is also the Educator Sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair. The headpiece, which will be shown at Abu Dhabi Art, comes in the shape of a palm tree, regarded as a mainstay of Emirati traditions and heritage, by long providing dates, shelter, and numerous household items. Fourth-generation Mouawad co-guardians Fred, Alain, and Pascal Mouawad reveaed, “This collaboration is particularly meaningful, with the design paying tribute to the nature and culture of the Middle East.”