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Friends of Abu Dhabi Art: A New Initiative To Benefit The Local Art Ecosystem

The group of cultural philanthropists supporting art in the Emirates will play an important role in boosting Abu Dhabi Art’s line up and will help the sector via funding. knowledge interchange and networking schemes.

Abu Dhabi Art has formed a new initiative created to smooth the progress of new models of public cultural philanthropy and help support the dynamic art eco-system in the UAE through the fair. Called The Friends of Abu Dhabi Art, it will kickstart with an inaugural group of over 40 dedicated art enthusiasts. And during the first year of its creation, it will support Abu Dhabi Art’s annual ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ programme, signposting future engagement with emerging and established artists in the UAE .

Nadia Sehweil

Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, which expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair, said they are really appreciative of the members, who will play a central role in supporting emerging artists from the UAE this year and enchanting more of the public with their work. She added they will strengthen and enhance the existing ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ course this year “in exciting new ways.”

Also commenting on the exciting project, Nadine Maalouf, Co-Head of Friends of Abu Dhabi Art, said: “Friends of Abu Dhabi Art members are ready to support the UAE art ecosystem through this new platform and to play a part in enabling emerging artists from the UAE to develop their work and reach new audiences. We have all joined because of a commitment to supporting art in the UAE and we look forward to ensuring the wider community is engaged and connected to the thriving local art scene."

Anyone who would like to actively support artists and the art network in the UAE can apply to join the initiative via the webpage. All members are required to pay an annual fee for membership, with funds raised enabling the commissioning of new art works through Abu Dhabi Art. Keystone members will act as an advisory group for Friends of Abu Dhabi Art, overseen by Maalouf, also a Co-Founder of 81 Designs, and Nadia Sehweil, a Friends of Abu Dhabi Art Co-Founder and CEO of Bodytree Wellness.

Nadine Maalouf

Benefits for membership include opportunities to attend private talks by appointed curators and artists, as well as artist studio visits and events, private tours at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in November and the commissioning of new work in Abu Dhabi.

Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the founders of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform, will be serving as guest curators of ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ this year. They will commission three new works by emerging UAE-based artists Hashel Al Lamki, Maitha Abdalla and Christopher Benton, for the programme. Their works will be showcased at year's fair, set to take place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from November 17-21.

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