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Washington DC Celebrates UAE’s Golden Jubilee With a Special Art Exhibition

Alaa Edris, ‘States’, 2016 will showcase in the ‘Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art’ section from the UAE exhibition. Photo: 

Conceptualizing the UAE’s contemporary art scene from almost 8,000 miles away, NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery has partnered with The Middle East Institute’s Arts and Culture Center to exhibit ‘Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE’ at the Middle East Institute art gallery in Washington. Set to inaugurate on December 3, the exhibition will bring forward 12 different artists from the UAE, the levant, South-East Asia, and the US, reflecting their backgrounds in the art scene based in the country they call home.

Curated by Munira Al Sayegh, an independent art curator, the exhibition aims to display an intercultural dialogue between UAE-based and international artists on the social, cultural, and artistic landscapes presented. “I have chosen works that combine playful irreverence alongside a rigorous investigation of a vibrant UAE from the perspective of different nationalities who make it their home,” said Al Sayegh.

The exhibition will feature artists like Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Afra Al Dhaheri, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Hashel Al Lamki, Shaikha Al Mazrou, Asma Belhamar, Alaa Edris, Lamya Gargash, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Mohammed Kazem, Solimar Miller, and Augustine Paredes. Each of the artists will tap into themes like permanence and fluidity, time and memory through topics like the environment, consumerism, and urbanization. “In the process, this exhibit challenges standard narratives of the Emirates and speaks to the intricacies present in the country’s art ecosystem,” Al Sayegh added.

The exhibition also marks an intercultural coalition between MEI Art Gallery and the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, reflecting the institutions’ beliefs in the value of collaboration and bridge-building across cultures. Kate Seelye, the Vice President for arts and culture at the Middle East Institute, also revealed that, “By co-presenting an exhibition in Washington, DC with a regional institution, we are able to gain from their expertise and insights to provide Washington audiences with a new lens on the transformations the UAE has experienced over the past 50 years.”

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