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United Arab Emirates

National pavilion of the UAE
Arsenale - Sale d'Armi

9 May - 22 November 2015

1980 - Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates

Curator: Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi
President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Commissioner: The Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development
- more information

Drawing upon extensive historical research, Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi presents a diverse assemblage of work by key figures in the country’s art history. The exhibition 1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates features 15 artists (see the biographies), including:

Ahmed Al Ansari
Moosa Al Halyan
Mohammed Al Qassab
Abdul Qader Al Rais
Abdullah Al Saadi
Mohammed Abdullah Bulhiah
Salem Jawhar
Mohammed Kazem
Dr. Najat Meky
Abdulraheem Salim
Ahmed Sharif
Hassan Sharif
Obaid Suroor
Dr. Mohamed Yousif
Abdulrahman Zainal

Biographies of the artists

This exhibition presents a selection of works from different decades highlighting the emergence of art practices in the UAE. The Emirates Fine Arts Society, a non-profit association that was formed in 1980 in Sharjah, has served as a main point of focus and inspiration for research.

"The opportunity to curate the National Pavilion of the UAE has allowed me to reflect on and honor a significant period of the UAE’s art history," said Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. "Looking back at exhibitions from the 1980s, I have come across a number of interesting art works, mainly sculptures and paintings by now-established artists, as well as works by lesser known ones. It is important to state here that the focus is on the art works not the artist. My aim is to show the diversity of art practices, and the history of the art scene in the UAE at this period in time."

1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates is built upon extensive research involving archives of newspaper articles, artists’ writings, and catalogues, as well as interviews with artists and cultural practitioners. Reflecting personal and geopolitical trajectories, the research focused on the underexposed historical record and evolving practices of some of the UAE’s most important modernist and contemporary artists.

"Over the last decade the UAE art scene has experienced a surge in international recognition and appreciation, however many are still not aware of the depth and diversity of our artists, who have been working decades longer than the current art boom," noted Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. "This exhibition represents an opportunity to document, share, and expand upon a key period for the country’s art history."

A publication including previous writings and articles on the art scene in the UAE since the 1980s, as well as some personal memoirs from a number of artists is presented alongside the exhibition.

(From press information)

National Pavilion United Arab Emirates
la Biennale di Venezia
PO Box 62086
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)2 499 1953
Website / Email

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