Abu Dhabi Art is currently under way. Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the three-day art fair merges 40 international galleries under one roof at Abu Dhabi’s artistic hub, Saadiyat Cultural District. Guests are invited to enjoy the work of the pioneering Arab women who made their mark in art. Artists include the godmothers of modernism, Huguette Caland, the Lebanese artist who broke boundaries with her erotic abstract paintings; and Laure Ghorayeb, an artist known for her intricate ink drawings. The art fair also features contemporary work by Arab artists. From a sculpture made out of concrete from the Apartheid wall, to 100 stuffed, black gloves, these are the must-see installations, paintings and sculptures from the eighth edition of Abu Dhabi Art.
Abu Dhabi Art Spotlights Pioneering Arab Artists
Laure Ghorayeb (Lebanese)
Invitation au voyage, 1994 Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut The Lebanese artist used Chinese ink to draw intricately detailed spirals and curlicues on paper to depict personal experiences and loss as a first-hand witness of the Lebanese civil war.
Huguette Caland (Lebanese)
Untitled, 2006 Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut The daughter of the first president of post-colonial Lebanon, Huguette Caland began her career drawing abstract paintings of the human body during a time when this was considered taboo before exploring patterned textiles like the tapestry on display.
Khaled Jarrar (Palestinian)
Ka’ak Al Quds, 2015 Gallery One, Ramallah Contemporary artist Khaled Jarrar used reconstituted concrete from the Apartheid wall in Jerusalem to sculpt a representation of ka’ak, traditional Palestinian bread, which is often smuggled through pits in the wall.
Houmam Sayed (Syrian)
Untitled, 2016 Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut A bronze sculpture of a cartoonish female crafted by contemporary Syrian artist Houmam Sayed. The compressed form of the figure symbolizes sadness and the loss of hope.
Etel Adnan (Lebanese)
Untitled, 2016 Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut Etel Adnan, born in Lebanon in 1925 is one of the most important Arab modern artists. Through her oil paintings, Adnan explores her relationship with nature as a breathing subject.
Mona Saudi (Jordanian)
Mother/Earth, 2006 Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai In 1965, Mona Saudi made her first ever stone (the hardest medium to control) sculpture titled Mother/Earth. The 70-year old Jordanian artist continues to produce stone sculptures today, including the monumental sculpture outside the Institute du Monde Arabe in Paris— the only work its architect, Jean Nouvel, allowed to be displayed outside.
Hanaa Malallah (Iraqi)
Three Red Roses, 2016 The Park Gallery, London Hanaa Malallah’s work is inspired by her experiences living through multiple wars in war torn Iraq. In this painting, the three red roses are an artistic representation of her and her two sisters.
Sara Abdu (Yemeni)
Temporal Distance, 2016 ATHR Gallery, Jeddah Sara Abdu’s Temporal Distance tells the story of two lost lovers who are finally reacquainted.
Farah Behbehani (Kuwaiti)
“In your light, I learnt how to love, in your beauty I found poetry. You danced inside my heart, Where no one else can see you”— (Rumi), 2016 ATHR Gallery, Jeddah In her handwritten love note, Farah Behbehani illustrated a poem by Jalaluddin Rumi using intricate Arabic calligraphy.
Maha Malluh (Saudi Arabian)
Sky Clouds, 2009-2015 Galerie Krinzinger, Austria In this instillation inspired by her home country, Maha Mullah stuffed 100 black gloves with polyester, desert sand, and praying rugs.
Halim al Karim (Iraqi)
Dust 15, 2015 Dust 14, 2015 Survivor Goddess 3, 2015 Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne Iraqi artist Halim al Karim uses a custom-built, larger-than-life sized camera to revive the 19th century wet-plate collodion technique to create his ghostly portraits, which became his artistic expression after years spent hiding in exile from Saddam Hussein in the desert.