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  • Writer's pictureCarol Anne Jones

Visit to Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2017

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Next month I hope to visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened to the Public on 11th November. The opening of this great institutional franchise coincided with my visit to the Art Abu Dhabi 2017 event running from 8th to 11th November 2017. Both sites are located at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island.

Abu Dhabi Art fair expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair and places a strong emphasis on a diverse public engagement programme, including art installations and exhibitions, talks and events that take place in different locations throughout the year. The culmination of this year long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides an important sales platform for participating galleries as well as offering galleries an opportunity to showcase ambitious installations and site specific works by their artists to an audience of over 20,000 visitors.

This year the Curators were:

Dr Omar Kholeif (PhD, MA) a writer, curator, and editor based in Chicago and London;

Mohammed Kazem whose artistic practice encompasses video, photography and performance;

Cristiana de Marchi, artist, curator and writer;

Maya Allison founding director of the art galleries and chief curator at New York University Abu Dhabi;

Munira Al-Sayegh;

Tarek Abou El-Fetouh an independent curator and architect who lives and works in Brussels;

Fabrice Bousteau a contemporary art writer, curator of many international exhibitions, and art director for several cultural events. Bousteau is the Editorial Director and Editor in Chief of Beaux Arts Magazine, the leading French art and culture monthly magazine.

It was good to browse the galleries which featured a diverse range of artistic practices and chat to people involved in the regional art scene. I particularly liked The Zayed Khair Collection by artists Amalie Beljafla and Hatty Pedder showcased by the Hunar Gallery.

Afterward we visited Warehouse 421 to see the exhibition of SEAF (the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship) Cohort 4 2016-17. This is an intensive 10 month arts education and development programme for promising UAE based artists supported by the Sallama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation in partnership with the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), one of the leading fine arts schools.

The SEAF program aims to identify and nurture emerging artists in the UAE by providing them with artistic, technical knowledge and professional skills. The outcome is to establish a community of emerging artists in the UAE while encouraging graduate studies in the arts.. Selected artists are able to gain admission to the Rhode Island School of Design via a full scholarship in pursuit of a Masters in Fine Arts.

​Alongside this show was an exhibition curated by the designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby showcasing a study into the lesser known moments in the production of everyday objects. Interestingly Barber and Osgerby work across design disciplines on a range of scales and types of projects. Intrinsic to their design practice is a close working relationship with the client and manufacturer interrogating and finding inspiration in materials, craftsmanship and technological processes. Examples of everyday items included the MacBook Pro Second cut of the aluminum unibody and the Thonet Chair.

Great day out!

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